After being diagnosed with Lyme disease, the singer took a break from music. But she has made a successful comeback with this new album.
Early 2000s pop-punk sensation Avril Lavigne dropped her comeback album “Head Above Water” on, Feb. 15. The last album Lavigne released was titled “Avril Lavigne” and debuted on Nov. 1, 2013.
However, Lavigne was diagnosed with Lyme disease in 2014, and since then has not been focused on her musical career; although, music was still her go-to during her health battle.During that time she came up with the lyrics for the album’s first single“Head Above Water,” released in Sept. 2018.
This new album is best listened to from start to finish. It tells a captivating, raw and emotional story, giving listeners a front row seat to Lavigne’s struggles over the last four years.
The song “Head Above Water” is driven by a piano and is essentially a worship song. The chorus says:
“God keep my head above water/Don’t let me drown, it gets harder/I’ll meet you there, at the altar/As I fall down to my knees/Don’t let me drown, drown, drown/Don’t let me, don’t let me, don’t let me drown.”
Throughout this song, Lavigne references the fight for her life where she is essentially begging God to keep her alive. It’s emotional and chilling because what she is experiencing is palpable and tangible through her lyrics.
Tracks two through four are dark, brooding and haunting. They seem to tell the story of an abusive relationship that Lavigne is unable to break free of. All three songs are thematically similar and follow the pattern of a toxic, abusive and seemingly dangerous cycle. They point to the idea of being stuck in a relationship or situation that seems impossible to be freed from.
Track five is titled “Dumb Blonde,” and features Nicki Minaj. This song was my least favorite on the album. While the beat is catchy, the lyrics are ridiculous and the song really has no place in the album thematically, lyrically or musically. I feel like doing a song with Nicki Minaj was a career move more than an artistic choice; this is not Lavigne’s sound.
The rest of the album thus far is true to her sound but this one severely breaks away from it. It almost felt like it was a Nicki Minaj song featuring Avril Lavigne, not the other way around. However, while stylistically it wasn’t my favorite, I think this is when the album starts to take a turn and tell the more positive side of Lavigne’s story.
Track six, “It Was in Me,” is full of confidence, self-empowerment and self-love. This is a clever and positive contradiction to the previous songs about abuse and toxicity. It feels like she’s recognizing the power she’s had to control her circumstances all along. Lavigne just needed to trust herself and move on. The latter half of the chorus says: “I finally realized, all of this time/It was in me/All along, it was in me.”
Tracks seven through nine talk about love and being loved in the right way, a stark contrast to tracks two through four. These songs are littered with infatuation and awe with her significant other, but in a healthy way. These tracks are chill and refreshing to listen to. They remind me of songs you would send to your crush in middle school, but in a more adult context.
Tracks 10 through 11 are upbeat and fun with carefree themes; however, there is nothing specifically notable about them.
The final song on the album is titled “Warrior.” The chorus says:
“Cause I’m a warrior, I fight for my life/Like a soldier, all through the night/and I won’t give up, I will survive, I’m a warrior/And I’m stronger, that’s why I’m alive/I will conquer, time after time/I’ll never falter, I will survive, I’m a warrior.”
This song is a triumphant battle cry to contradict “Head Above Water.” At the opening of this album Lavigne is weak and broken, in despair. At the end of the album, it’s an anthem to show her strength through the course of the experiences presented in the album as well as her diagnosis of Lyme disease.
Overall, I would give this album a 9.5 out of 10. I have to take off half a point for the song with Nicki Minaj, but I would recommend this album as a whole. However, it is imperative to listen to it from start to finish; without doing that, the main storyline gets lost in the shuffle. All in all, I would absolutely argue that this is a successful comeback album for Avril Lavigne.