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Lavigne possesses message and music

Fleet Centre, Boston, Nov. 1, 2004

By Jeffrey B. Remz

BOSTON - Avril Lavigne started off her musical career in the same clump as other teen singers, but the Canadian had just about nothing else in common with most of her musical peers.

And two solid albums into a career, Lavigne still doesn't, and that's all to the good.

Lavigne may short in stature, but she more than made up for her it with lots of well-penned songs and a powerful voice during her too short 80-minute show.

Fortunately, for Lavigne, is able to deliver in part because she avoided the sophomore slump with "Under My Skin," her album that came out in May. While the musical business produces many artists who are here today, gone about a month later, Lavigne has enjoyed saying power thus far with hits "Don't Tell Me" and "My Happy Ending" from "Under My Skin."

And that is on top of her hugely successful debut, "Let Go," with superhit "Complicated" along with "Sk8er Boi" and others.

Lavigne writes a slew of catchy songs, some a bit punky, some rocking and most on the fast side with musical edge to them. They tend to have an anthemic quality, soaring as the song goes along.

And Lavigne's vocals do the songs a whole lot of justice. She doesn't always possess the greatest voice, but what she may lack in technical perfection is more than made up for in delivery. After all, what is the point of absolute perfection when one is seemingly putting her heart and soul into her music? Whether hit like "Complicated" or lesser known songs, Lavigne delivers vocally.

Lavigne has a lot to sing about as well exploring teen angst and relationships. No, she didn't come from a lousy childhood - in fact, she has praised her parents in interviews, but everyone has issues to deal with, and Lavigne gives expression to the pangs of growing up.

Lavigne certainly is a proponent of female empowerment (the punky rocking opener "He Wasn't' is a prime example as is "Don't Tell Me") and gave gentle comments towards that end as well, becoming more and more talkative as the evening wore on.

She introduced "Nobody's Home" with the hope that "There's always a way to turn it around."

One gets the sense that Lavigne is not totally comfortable with the star treatment and being in front of thousands of people - she cracks a few smiles here and there, but otherwise seems very serious - but at least she has a positive message to send out to her fans.

Her songs are not only about the angst of growing up, but loss as well. She closed the evening with a beautiful reading of "Slipped Away," an ode to her late grandfather, playing solo on piano.

Lavigne is about out of her teen years and hopefully her fans will come with her (many are very young, although her music has nothing to do with being a teenybopper) because her message and music are on target.

Butch Walker, who produced three songs on "Under My Skin," opened with an underwhelming set. He had energy, but was otherwise on the mediocre side when it came to the music. He sang Blur's "Song 2" ("Whoo hoo") during Lavigne's encore with Lavigne on drums.

©Country Standard Time • Jeffrey B. Remz, editor & publisher •
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