Head Above Water – The Journey of Death and Resurgence

Today is finally the day! Avril Lavigne’s highly anticipated 6th album Head Above Water has dropped! The best words that can be used to express the impact of these combinations, from tone to vocals, are dramatic, intensity and tenacity. There was no holding back during and in the aftermath of a dreadful experience and what came of it was an ardent album knocking all sorts of emotions out of the park. Without further ado, let’s jump right in!

Head Above Water (Single)

Not much more can be said after already covering the lead single in my post Laudable Lyrics: Avril Lavigne – Head Above Water (Single) (which can be read here), but every journey has its beginning and this sure was it in Avril’s case. It’s like the scratch record meme of the album, this is the intro, this is Avril Lavigne and we’re wondering how she got here.

Birdie

I truly feel that this is the album’s most powerful track. The blend of the ear-pounding drum beats and this particular use of vocals creates aggressive passion to stay alive in a rather helpless, fearful way that manages to blend exceptionally well with the opening track. The fight for survival has been intensified as the sensation of being trapped and constrained in a cage adds on to the previous sense of drowning.

I Fell In Love With The Devil

A presentiment of death fully taking over is strongly implied by the heartbeats of the verses in this sorrowful narrative that becomes more of a desperate cry for help than before. It’s an orchestral conveyance of essential lifelessness that makes sure you hear each instrument to really understand the current struggle. Undoubtedly, I’ll constantly be using the words ‘powerful’ and ‘intense’, this stuff is just that and more.

Tell Me It’s Over

As the case with Head Above Water, there isn’t much more I can add on to what I covered in my previous blog post Laudable Lyrics: Avril Lavigne – Tell Me It’s Over (which you can take a look at here). What I can add is in the context of a part of the album instead of a single, this track brings the quadrilogy of death and defeat to an end, not being able to take much more from the situation as if to say “No more!”.

Dumb Blonde

What we get from Avril here is her first piece of sassy sanguinity as the most mainstream-sounding song on the album, with the assistance of Nicki Minaj in a well-delivered verse of her own. After 4 powerfully heart-wrenching tunes, the first sounds of this single act as a glimmer of hope, a shining light to bring in some positivity in the form of a dance bop to counteract the despair.

It Was In Me

I see this as a capitalisation on what Dumb Blonde brought to the table. It’s got a similar sound to the downhearted entries, but leads to a realisation of strength rather than taking steps backwards and that strength is prevalent in Avril’s vocals intensifying as the song goes on. Halfway through and there’s no skimping on meaning. The resurgence is now in effect. Avril’s gone all in!

Souvenir

At this stage of my 1st listen, I began to enjoy the formation of the tracklist the more the story of one song got followed up by another. Souvenir is no exception – a country-esque, catchy, upbeat melody of gratefulness. It shouldn’t be looked down on in comparison to the others because it’s simpler. Sometimes, catchy simplicity is needed in a field of deep complexities.

Crush

The way the rhythm of Avril’s vocals just melt into this song’s melody is nothing short of beautiful sincerity. It’s the gentlest track here and really gives off a sense of innocence. It’s just after the halfway mark, but it’s in between all the meaning of before and of what comes next. That’s no easy sound to pinpoint and produce!

Goddess

Initially, trying to find where this song fit in with others proved to be a bit of a task. Another listen or two and I found this to be a reminder of the meaning life in the chorus with an admittance of precursory weakness, of which Avril ultimately turned into a strength and belted out with some nice optimism in the form of this.

Bigger Wow

This is one of the shorter songs I wish lasted longer but in a way, it’s perfect the way it is. It’s a bubbly, contagious, feel-good, happiness-inducing song where a new chapter in the theme can clearly be seen. The glimmer of hope that first appeared with Dumb Blonde has become several rays of sunshine with this short-and-sweet uplifting encouragement.

Love Me Insane

It’s got a simple sound. It’s catchy. It shows signs of intensifying like some of the others, but is efficacious in the fact that it doesn’t. It’s the song that tones down all that tenacity as we approach the final track. Fans are always going to want more music, but imagine what they’d be like if certain albums didn’t have a song to bring them down. That’s exactly what makes Love Me Insane necessary and come on, it’s a cute song.

Warrior

This was 100% the perfect song to end Avril’s 6th album with. From the depressing, fatal experiences in the beginning to becoming increasingly more positive and happy, the end is about never being put down like that again, surviving the seemingly impossible. I don’t know how music that sounds quite like this is produced, but music and lyrics, this is the ideal outro. It really feels like an ending to this particular journey. Head Above Water couldn’t have ended on a better note.

Honestly, there isn’t a single song on this album I don’t like. It’s lyrically beautiful in many ways and the constant uses of the acoustic guitar & piano are exquisite. If you got Let Go to reproduce with Goodbye Lullaby, boom! You get Head Above Water. This was certainly worth the wait!

Rating: 4.5/5 

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