Avril Lavigne: Goodbye Lullaby (RCA)
Avril Lavigne’s fourth album failed to do what her other three albums did. That is hit No.1 on the domestic album charts.
OK, so this disc did hit No.2, but her new single What The Hell (another bratty semi-chant song) is just barely in the top 20, meaning Goodbye Lullaby, although doing well enough by most pop standards, is her least performing album to date.
I make this quibble because Goodbye Lullaby is also Lavigne’s least impressive album as a listening experience. These are extremely wordy songs where Lavigne’s voice fills every nook and cranny of every tune with her less than expressive voice. After a while, especially on the Deluxe CD/DVD edition, where there are 18 songs, the constant verbiage gets annoying.
This is also a mid-tempo, ballad-heavy album with crocodile tears about Lavigne’s split from her husband Deryck Whibley, who often acts awkwardly as producer of songs about their relationship. Talk about a high maintenance ex!
But more importantly I just don’t hear a lot of exceptional songs on Goodbye Lullaby where the gassy Lavigne needs more of a strong editor than a good producer.
Note that the Deluxe CD/DVD has four acoustic versions of songs you probably didn’t want to hear in their electric versions and a perfunctory cover of Joan Jett’s Bad Reputation (is Avril still a punkette?) while the DVD is engrossed with the making of the album. Fans only.
These Kids Wear Crowns: Jumpstart (Capitol)
I kind of liked Vancouver’s These Kids Wear Crowns’ debut mini album that came out last year. But one’s interest soon wanes over a full length CD where this six-some comes off as more of a boy band who are heavy on chant songs.
Often these kids sound like they are tuning up for a Whitecaps game with their omnipresent soccer-like chants and the Kids game soon wears thin (not crowns).
The group has enjoyed a minor top 40 hit with the youthful and energetic Jumpstart that has a bit of dance rock in its chant where the kids cleverly yell “turn up the radio” to endear themselves to station programmers.
Their CD liner shows These Kids Wear Crowns hoisting their flag over a Vancouver skyline like the historic WWII raising of the flag at Iwo Jima, but I don’t hear this boy group with much staying power.
Sick Puppies: Tri-Polar (Virgin/EMI)
This is the second release from ex-patriot Australians who now call California home.
Sick Puppies are best known for their song All The Same that was used by performance artist Juan Mann who used to prowl shopping malls with a “Free Hugs” sign where the responses of the shoppers would be taped.
He used Sick Puppies song All The Same (the lead off song on Tri-Polar and sometimes referred to as The Free Hugs Song) for his YouTube contribution that has now had over 15 million hits, meaning a lot of people have heard Sick Puppies blend of screamo, pop metal and angst rock.
The trio is unique with a wonderful female bass player but too many songs on this new album just don’t seem to go anywhere nor excite much interest. There are too many run-of-the-mill relationship songs that lie flat while the lone topical song You’re Going Down is, I think, about anti-bullying.
Tonnes of energy but too often wasted on mediocre material. Maybe next album.
Simon And Garfunkel: Bridge Over Troubled Water (Legacy Sony)
It was 40 years ago that Simon and Garfunkel released their last and best album, Bridge Over Troubled Water, hence this Legacy Edition re-issue as a two-CD set.
The original studio album stayed at the top of the charts for weeks on end in several countries and spawned four big hits and it proved to be SandG’s fourth and final album before the duo went in different directions.
This Deluxe digipak set includes the remastered original album with its 13 tunes that included the hits Cecilia, The Boxer, El Condor Pasa (If I Could) and of course, the epic title song.
The real treasure here for old fans is the 17-track concert CD that includes almost all of their other hits such as Homeward Bound, Mrs. Robinson, I Am A Rock, The Sound Of Silence, At The Zoo, Scarborough Fair and more.
It is amazing how just two singers and an acoustic guitar could hold such massive audiences in rapture and the galvanizing concert CD here is culled from many different gigs all held in 1969. The liner has an extensive essay and lots of vintage photos.
Note: My copy came stickered as CD+DVD set but it was really a two-CD set, so you might want to check with your retailer so you can be sure just what it is you are buying.
Jeff Healey: Get Me Some (Eagle Rock)
Here is another Legacy re-issue of one of Jeff Healey’s last blues rock albums before he ventured into New Orleans jazz.
Healey lost his eyesight to cancer as a toddler and a few years ago, at age 41, Healey lost his life to the same illness, but he will always remain one of Canada’s best ever blues guitarists with his unique and incendiary style.
Get Me Some was released in 2000 several years after his massive international success with the See The Light album and the big hits Angel Eyes and the title track, but Healey’s later albums deserved a better fate where the hits more or less dried up.
Get Me Some has some terrific blues playing especially with the moody Led Zep-styled Feel Better and the accessible, hooky rock of My Life Story and the pub-styled I Should Have Told You.
This disc has been out of print for a while so it is nice to see this fine album back in the light of day.