SOUND SYSTEM : Under My Skin

Associated Press

Avril Lavigne is trying to strike gold — well, multi-platinum — again. And she just may pull it off, if her fans buy the older, darker Lavigne on her latest release ‘Under My Skin’. Lavigne appears to be maturing lyrically and musically with more complicated tracks than her previous effort, ‘Let Go’. But that may be the problem. Part of Lavigne’s huge success had to do with her in-your-face attitude as much as her music. While the unapologetic Lavigne makes several appearances on the album, it is the more measured young woman who dominates it. The album’s first single “Don’t Tell Me” — a song about not giving in to sex with a guy — is an adult version of “Complicated”, which also features a head-nodding beat and a radio-friendly chorus. The infectious “My Happy Ending” and punked-out “He Wasn’t” are the more mature versions of “Sk8er Boi”.

The remainder of the songs are much more melodic and often melancholy, such as “Slipped Away”. It was written about the loss of Lavigne’s grandfather, who died while she was on the road promoting her first album. “Nobody’s Home”, a song about overcoming rejection, is perhaps the best song on the album to showcase Lavigne’s growth as a songwriter. The music was co-written with former Evanescence guitarist Ben Moody and his influence is evident in the song’s dark sound. But let’s face it. Teenage girls don’t care about complicated, mature lyrics and melody. They will buy it because, well, it’s Avril Lavigne. But others may just pick it up because it’s a decent effort with a handful of payoffs.