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The Best Damn Thing
Avril Lavigne
Third album from the Canadian faux punkstress, still topping the charts with the eminently hummable mix of bratty-teen attitude and SoCal-style rock that propelled her to fame in 2002. If it ain’t broke …

TINA: I’ve always liked Avril Lavigne’s bright, melodic voice, and I’m a sucker for her ballads. If she’d been less packaged and channeled her anger in a less adolescent way, maybe she could have had Sinéad O’Connor’s career. Here, I like “Innocence,” as well as the Joan Jett–ish tracks “I Can Do Better” and “Hot,” though the rest of the songs are pretty weak.
Rating: 6
Best Track: “Innocence”

FRED: I’d suggest that this is perfect for the teen-girl scene, but my teen girls want nothing to do with it. I don’t really, either, although on the second trip through the record, I was taken with the song “I Don’t Have to Try”—great guitar riffs with Ramones-style rapid-fire lyrics and a driving beat. Other than that, though, there really isn’t much reason to recommend the album.
Rating: 3
Best Track: “I Don’t Have to Try”

MELISSA: A wide range of emotions—from bitter to really, really bitter—are covered here. Every songwriter (every sentient human, really) ought to have a little restraint and subtlety; this album is so blunt and obvious as to be laughable. The most interesting thing about the 40 minutes was wondering if her tweaked-out cheerleader persona is intended ironically, à la “(Hey) Mickey” or “Love Shack.”
Rating: 3
Best Track: “Runaway”


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