Assisted on nearly every track by new husband Chad Kroeger of Nickelback, Avril Lavigne starts her fifth LP shouting out her own rocker credentials: On "Rock N Roll," all the Auto-Tune in Sweden can't keep her bad reputation from battling "hipster bullshit," and "Here's to Never Growing Up" advocates "singing Radiohead at the top of our lungs" even if Radiohead's fans never would. In "Bad Girl," she and Marilyn Manson get their industrial-glam cartoon kink on. More often, she opts for soggy ballads, sometimes vaguely goth or R&B, and tries in vain to keep up with Taylor Swift. Only the J-pop-via-Ke$ha "Hello Kitty" feels truly playful.
From The Archives Issue 1197: December 5, 2013