May 10, 2007

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Avril Lavigne, The Best Damn Thing
RCA Records, 2007

I vaguely recall seeing Sum 41 at the Verizon last year and must confess that their microwaved emo quickly sent my brain into idle mode, my inner screensaver flashing loops of Bob’s Furniture commercials as the band guys tiptoed around the sliver of stage Motley Crue was kind enough to provide them. Since I paid absolutely no attention to the music, much less the lyrics, I can’t blame Deryck Whibley for his wife’s positively horrendous “coming of age” album, but I can assume that her repeated exposure to emo sk8er boiz made her decide to play on the worst fears of those sad creatures by proudly proclaiming herself an impossible little cuckolding bitchbot who doesn’t like to pay for her own McDonalds. This isn’t a coming-of-age album, it’s emotionally stunted escapist fiction for 11-year-old suburban girls, which wouldn’t be completely worthless if it didn’t telegraph every ’80s-punk punch it tried to deliver while framing the whole sordid mess in a Mean Girls motif. Lavigne-Whibley’s grating Alanis Morissette vocal cords are appropriately detached from these tedious songs, which call for the cheerleader, then the slut, then the cheerleader again, then the hormonally stricken pre-teenybopper drawing hearts on a notebook, and all you can think about is crash-coursing the nearest kid about the birds and the bees and the sociopathic marketers. D-Eric W. Saeger