Avril Lavigne - Influences

Various Artists

Sony, 2007

REVIEW BY: Paul Hanson

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 09/06/2007

In the height of my musical renaissance, I traded mix tapes with my friends. I'd painstakingly assemble the songs I liked and put them on a 90-minute cassette, like most of us did. Then, I'd listen to that tape over and over as background noise while I studied or read or wrote. Those mix tapes have survived for many years and, for me, serve as an audio journal of that time in my life. When I went through my "Sepultura walks on water" phase, for example, my mix tape was the entire Roots release. bim_ad_daily_vault_print_250

This release is Avril Lavigne's mix tape, burned on CD for the digital era and heavily promoted by Target. Its purpose, the literature on the back cover tells the listener, is to "give [Avril Lavigne] the chance to tell [her] story."

What a short story and what a ripoff. We, as music fans, definitely deserve better than this. This is a release of 10 songs, none of them over five minutes and, in total, barely over 35 minutes. That's not even half of one side of a 90-minute mix tape.

It's not that the songs are not interesting or good, but there's no added value unless you don't listen to any of this music. You may hear some bands that have fallen off your current playlist, such as Blink 182 with their song "Anthem Part Two." Alanis Morissette's Jagged Little Pill is another release I hadn't listened to for many years, so hearing "All I Really Want" was refreshing, while "Iris" from the Goo Goo Dolls and "Dreams" from the Cranberries are equally excellent choices -- ones I would include on a mix tape, and ones that make sense for Avril to include, since alternative is the music she grew up on.

Some of the tracks, like "Sugar Sugar" by the Archies, the Beach Boys' "I Get Around" and Janis Joplin's "Me and Bobby McGee" are meant to make us believe Lavigne has a wide array of influences, but it doesn't quite ring true.

And what's worse is the short length. Surely a musician has more than 35 minutes of influences. If you're going to put together a compilation of songs that shaped your ambitions and musical direction, you should have more than 35 minutes! Couldn't she have recorded a demo of one of these songs, played by her band and her? Couldn't she have taken a step towards giving us something more than a half-baked angel food cake that truly is hollow on the inside?

The music is not bad song by song, but the context of the proejct renders it a disappointing release. Make your own mixtape (or CD) on iTunes and don't bother with Avril's.

Rating: D

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© 2007 Paul Hanson and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Sony, and is used for informational purposes only.