Talk about pressure -- being under 21 and having a record deal no longer qualifies as extraordinary. And as mass-produced teen pop makes its exit and a glut of young singer/songwriters enter, child prodigies no longer have built-in marketing appeal. So if 17-year-old newcomer Avril Lavigne truly wants to be "Anything But Ordinary," as she sings on her debut album, Let Go, she'll have to dig deeper. Luckily for Lavigne, aside from youth, she does have talent. Her debut runs the gamut from driving rock numbers like "Losing Grip" -- where she shows off her vocal range, powering into the anger-fueled, explosive rock chorus -- to singer/songwriter pop tunes like "My World," where Lavigne fills listeners in on the past 17 years of her life. She handles a variety of styles deftly: "Sk8er Boi" has a terrific power pop bounce; "Complicated" is a gem of a pop/rock tune with a killer chorus, making the song a knockout radio hit. Lavigne, a self-professed skater punk and labelmate of Pink, shares her "Take Me as I Am" credo as well. Lavigne is a capable songwriter with vocal chops, and at her age, one imagines, she is still finding her feet, borrowing from the music she's grown up listening to. Lavigne is still so young she's listening to the radio hits of the '90s and early 2000s: she's Pink when she's bucking authority, Alanis Morissette when she's angry, and Jewel when she's sensitive. Let Go shows promise, but the question is whether Lavigne and only Lavigne will shine through on her next effort.
Let Go Review
by Christina Saraceno