There are a lot of good songs on this album but there aren't any amazing songs; "I Love You" and "Smile" are both very solid pop songs, while "Stop Standing There" approaches Lavigne's usual pop-rock style from a different angle, with "Everybody Hurts" and "Not Enough" taking on the role of the resident emo ballads, but none of these songs match "Complicated" or "My Happy Ending" or "Girlfriend" from Lavigne's previous albums. There are some just plain forgettable songs like "4 Real" and the intro "Black Star", the latter being a tired concept that Lavigne seems to want to squeeze into every project she attempts. It didn't help either that Lavigne's record company (who she has now parted from) were breathing down her neck trying to force her to give us clones of some of her previous hits - we get this in the forms of "What The Hell" and "Wish You Were Here", both very generic, repetitive pop songs that have been released as singles, giving an unfair, innaccurate insight into the album.
There is however clear musical growth from Lavigne. She produced two tracks herself and wrote half of the album entirely on her own, the rest being co-written with and produced by close friends and previous musical associates. The album isn't trying to be 'upbeat' or 'sad' - it's just trying to convey a bittersweet concept of Lavigne's divorce as well as her new love. This is best shown by the delicate, albeit repetitive, "Goodbye" and the Alanis-like, demanding "Push". Lavigne's solo efforts are musically quite dull but are saved by her raw emotion, her expert knowledge of pop-hooks and her confident vocals, with highlights being the acoustic "Darlin" and the retro "Stop Standing There". Lavigne is still struggling, however, to produce interesting lyrics, although her predictable, juvenile rhymes are a steady improvement compared to her last introspective album, 'Under My Skin'. Still, I can't help thinking that she could stand to be a little more honest with herself and be a little more brutal and analytical regarding the break-down of her marriage, which we only get teasing hints of on "Not Enough".
It's the pop-factory, Max Martin, material that really livens up 'Goodbye Lullaby', yet at the same time it's what overshadows and belittles the rest of the album and prevents Lavigne progressing and trying anything new. This album seems to be focussed more around the physical songwriting of each song rather than making an enjoyable collection of songs.… Full Review »
Pop punk princess Lavigne has enchanting vocal chords and breathtaking talent, but throughout Goodbye Lullaby, there's a notorious struggle. The most simple critique is that all of her tracks sound the same. None of them "spark". But the greater problem is how real the tracks are. Lavigne constantly bragged about how "acoustic" Goodbye Lullaby was going to be. However, her lead single, "What The Hell", is nearly a complete clone of her lead single from her predecessor, The Best Damn Thing. The lyrics are merely shuffled and have no connection with the rest of Goodbye Lullaby. The finale track, "Goodbye", is the the only highlight, featuring Lavigne's angelic vocals accompanied by Evanescence-style piano and strings. But it's a mere sparkle, and cannot shine any light on this rainy parade.
I'll always respect Lavigne as an artist, and I hope that she'll eventually find her "true self". But Goodbye Lullaby is conflicted between sounding mainstream and alternative. I'd prefer Lavigne to find her old roots, and possibly express them in a newer way. But Goodbye Lullaby is the "same ol', same ol'".… Full Review »