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Promising Debut from Canadian Teen
on 11 August 2002
When you are listening to this album it's hard to fathom that Miss Lavigne is only 17 years old. Like Michelle Branch and Vanessa Carlton, Lavigne's songwriting and musical talent are far beyond her teenage years and although largely unknown in the UK, the release of her debut single 'Complicated' should go someway in helping her emulate her success in America.
So how would I define Avril Lavigne? Not unlike Michelle Branch, but slightly more angsty and with a little more to say. In some songs there is definitely an Alanis influence, both lyrically and vocally. That's not to say Lavigne is a copycat or mimic, far from it....the songs on 'Let Go' showcase a diverse talent with a varied range of songs.
The single 'Complicated' is an obvious choice, lyrically sound, with a chorus that will invade everyones head! But it is far from being the best track here. The opener 'Losing Grip' kicks things off in aggresive style, with the tale of a girl who's been pushed to the edge and is finally saying 'enough is enough'. Throughout the album, Lavigne's vocals adapt fantastically, from rock, to pop, to punk, a tinge of country and even a flirt with rap. Despite the different styles, no song ever feels out of place. Even 'Sk8ter Boi', which on first hearing may have you reaching for the skip button, slowly but surely wins you over.
Lyrically the album is strong, but as an artist Lavigne has a lot of time to mature and sometimes certain lyrics remind you that she is only 17. For me, the standout tracks on the album are 'I'm With You', a romantic, heartfelt and powerful balad, 'Tomorrow', a fantastic song about how our feelings can change from day to day, and 'The Thing's I'll Never Say', an outrageously catchy pop/rock song about the nervousness of telling someone how you feel. No, this isn't rocket science, it's simple emotion to which we can all relate in someway. Lavigne certainly doesn't possess the lyrical depth of someone like Alanis Morissette yet, but she has time on her side, and besides, I often feel Morissette is a little too clever for her own good.
So, should you buy it? Well, quite simply, if you are a fan of emotionally charged, well written songs, sung by a vocalist who can really 'own' the song, the answer is a resounding, 'yes!' It is one of those albums that is best suited to driving...just be prepared for all your friends to be saying 'this is good...who is it?'