AVRIL LAVIGNE – Under My Skin (2004 Arista)
Let’s get on with it. The version of Under My Skin that I have comprises 13 songs, so let’s put the headphones on. “Take Me Away” opens strongly with sparse, polished guitars and keyboards. It sounds like Evanescence, actually. It was written by Avril and her guitarist Evan Taubenfeld. At this point, Avril wasn’t singing with any annoying contrivances in her voice. She was just blasting away (most likely in autotune). Given that this song is very produced and plasticized, it’s still a good song. So far we’re 1/1.
One of several hit singles was the ballady “Don’t Tell Me”. This one makes me want to vomit in my mouth a little bit. I’m uncomfortable with this kind of teenybop rock now. But that fucking chorus hits and…ahh fuck! Still, the chorus can’t save the song, it’s shite. 2/3.
Avril returns to her so-called punk roots with “He Wasn’t”. Phil X on guitar here, but he doesn’t get to solo (a damn shame). As much as I want to hate the song, I can’t. It seems pretty sincere, and it ain’t bad. It’s snarky but not annoyingly so. 3/4 now. “How Does It Feel” is a ballad, not a bad one either. The instrumental production on this one (by Raine Maida) is excellent, although the vocals still sound autotuned. Phil X again on guitar. The score is now 4/5.
I’m a total sucker for the single “My Happy Ending”. Butch Walker wrote a pretty cool song, and the chorus is one of those Avril bellows that she is known for. The lyrics, like most of ’em, are about some dude. I can’t really sing along to “He was everything, everything that I wanted,” sincerely, you know? Still, the score is now 5/6. And it’s going to go up to 6/7, because I remember liking the song “Nobody’s Home” a lot. I’m not sure what the lyrics are exactly about, but Avril sounds like she’s trying to get serious, so that’s better than words about some dude. Ben Moody from Evanescence itself co-wrote this one, so you can guess who it naturally reminds me of. Still, I’ll maintain that 6/7 because the chorus is still great.
“Forgotten” starts out crap. You sure can tell this one was written by Chantal Kreviazuk as that is who it sounds like. The track doesn’t improve on the chorus. Pass. The board reads 6/8. A good song called “Who Knows” is up next, and even though it wasn’t one of the single, I think it’s one of the best songs. This one kind of sounds like a pop metal anthem, you could imagine a band like Warrant having a song like this. It has mellow acoustic verses with a shout-y fun singalong chorus. 7/9 now! “Fall To Pieces”, written with Raine Maida sounds like an Our Lady Peace outtake. A pretty good outtake, with a great bridge. Good enough for 8/10.
I have always liked “Freak Out”. It’s just fun. This one too sounds like a Raine Maida construction, but it is not. It’s written by Butch Walker and Avril’s drummer Matt Brann. It’s easier to listen to than most Our Lady Pea(ee-yai-ee-aye-ee)ce, so the score is now 9/11. As my buddy Craig might say, it’s looking like it’s time to hand in my Man Card.
Maybe not! “Slipped Away” is utter shite that I cannot listen to. It sounds like Chantal…guess who wrote it? The chorus is not too bad, but this song is crap. Can’t take it. If I could deduct 2 points, I would. 9/12. It’s down to the “bonus track” now. “I Always Get What I Want” originally came from a UK edition, but I bought this CD from my nearest Walmart. There’s something on the fine print about Sony BMG Music Entertainment (UK) Ltd, so maybe that’s something to do with it. “I Always Get What I Want” is another “punky” Avril, but like “Slipped Away”, it too is crap. Sounds like Avril’s trying to be her heroes, Green Day. No thank you.
The final score for Avril Lavigne’s Under My Skin is 9/13. Did I like it as much now as I did in 2004? Not quite. It might have been that I liked a couple more of those sappy songs. However, I’ve already said far too much here. I’m going to cut my losses and get out now.