Avril Lavigne - Freak Out


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"Walk around with your hands up in the air, like you don't care."

Two things you should probably know before I get into this: I really like the big singles from Busted and I really, really like the big singles from Evanescence. This Avril track, from her sadly-overlooked last album, isn't a big single, but hot damn, it shoulda been, because it sounds like a perfect combination of the two bands previously mentioned.

The first Avril album was always something of a disappointment to me, because the particular sound the Matrix were working there wasn't fully embracing the hard-pop-rock glory they clearly wanted to, and while I understand why--ease the listening public into it etc.--I love that those who followed in their footsteps, including the Matrix themselves, just kept making things sound harder and louder.

So "Freak Out" starts with something gloomy and black and melodic, like Evanescence (harmonics, whee!), and even does the stutter thing they love so much. But then, whoosh, we're into this glorious, bang-your-head-gleefully major-key hook that's so obvious it's like a nice warm hug of distorted guitars, and the verse vocals, while maybe a bit too sullen, can't hide their power-pop glory. (If there's a downside to "Freak Out," it's that there's no guitar solo that just repeats the verse melody, because that would be awesomely fantastic.)

But what the hell is she talking about in the chorus? "Just freak out, let it go"? I'm confused. If you freak out that doesn't seem like a good thing. But aha, she is saying, do not worry about the people who will call you a spaz, just go ahead and go nuts, and "live your life" "put up a fight" etc. etc. empowerment etc. Kind of dubious, but cool! Us spazzes can always use the support.

Oh, oh, plus: acoustic guitar break! Man.

By Mike Barthel, who has a blog and writes for Flagpole and Stylus, and also likes narcoleptic puppies.


4 Responses to “Avril Lavigne - Freak Out”

  1. Blogger Sean 

    Yay Avril Lavigne! The weird thing about this song is that it recalls something mid-90s for me, really strongly, but I've never been able to put my finger on it. It could even be Aerosmith. I dunno. My favourite part is the synth that goes "doo-doo-doo" just after "CLOSE MY EY-ES", this peaceful little undercurrent that's swimmin' on by, and hasn't noticed the ANGST and ROCK that's taken over the rest of the sea. and stuff.

  2. Blogger Eppy 

    That's a good point. I went back and relistened with that in mind, and it does share a lot with the power-pop stuff that broke through to the mainstream in the mid-90s, mainly production, but that metal-but-happy thing is a similarity too. It's less jangly than most of that stuff (Better Than Ezra, say, or the Gin Blossoms) but still delicious.

  3. Blogger hillary 

    It's still no "Together," which is my favorite non-single track on the album, and maybe my favorite track on it period. But, yes, this is cute.

  4. Anonymous Anonymous 

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