In the early 2000s, we all bowed down to the pop-punk princess, Avril Lavigne. With her powerful vocals, her edgy wardrobe and heavy eyeliner makeup, this female vocalist stood out from the crowd. In her career, she has sold millions of albums across the globe and her single, “Complicated” was number 1 on a number of charts around the world. She’s a pop-punk legend that was never afraid to speak her mind.
In April 2007, Lavigne released her third album titled The Best Damn Thing that included a variety of ballads as well as powerhouse pop-punk anthems that fans (such as myself) continue to sing along even 10 years later. This album gave us a glimpse of Lavigne’s softer side where tracks like “When You’re Gone” described the challenges when dealing with a major loss and “Keep Holding On” was a powerful ballad filled with hope and promise.
The album has twelve tracks and opens up with the album’s single, “Girlfriend”. To this day, it’s still a good song to sing to. The opening number is flirty with its chant-like chorus and very edgy lyrics. “Girlfriend” is truly unapologetic and speaks volumes on Lavigne’s songs. Though the track strays towards a more pop vibe, the punk rock “don’t mess with me” attitude is still there.
The next track “I Can Do Better” is the post-breakup anthem that is perfect to scream along to. The balance between the guitar and the drums are what carry the tune and really help give the song some momentum. It isn’t my favorite from the album but it does help set the tone for the remainder of the album.
The title track “The Best Damn Thing” has the same chant-like verses that we heard in “Girlfriend” but it’s more mellowed out and not as peppy as “Girlfriend”. The bridge in the song where Lavigne sings “Where are the hopes, where are the dreams / My Cinderella story scene” is one of my favorite parts of the song. Lavigne isn’t belting out high notes or anything; her vocals blend together nicely with the drum kit, electric guitar and piano and the bridge effortlessly leads you to the chorus.
I am a huge fan of music videos (flashback to when MTV actually had music and played music videos); I remember the music video to “When You’re Gone” so vividly, even to this day, and remember how much emotion it evoked. “When You’re Gone” is probably one of the most emotional Lavigne songs. The lyrics are so moving and vulnerable that it just easily leaves an impact on you. Also, I’ve watched a number of videos where she sang this track live and she starts off solely with the piano is enough to already prep you for the emotional roller coaster you’re about to endure.
Another one of my all-time favorite Lavigne songs is “Keep Holding On” as it really allowed the singer-songwriter to show off her vocal range. This song appeared on the movie soundtrack for Eragon and fit the tone of the movie quite nicely. This track ended the album on a note of hope, promise and togetherness. Though this track leaned towards more of the pop side of her music, it’s still a powerful ballad nonetheless.
The Best Damn Thing shows off Lavigne’s vocal range as she strayed away from her post-grunge music and ventured into more mainstream (or “commercial”) music. But her music transition was received well by critics and fans alike where tracks such as “Girlfriend” and “When You’re Gone” reached the charts and “Keep Holding On” got on the big screen. The Best Damn Thing displayed Lavigne’s maturity and growth as a singer-songwriter as her music dove into deeper topics of loss and hope.