#Review: Avril Lavigne – Head Above Water ūüĆä

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It’s hard to believe that Avril Lavigne dropped her first single, ‘Complicated’, back in 2002 but since then, the songstress has had 5 studio albums, 23 singles, 27 music videos (including ‘Girlfriend’, which became the ‚Äúfirst music video to reach 100 million views on YouTube‚ÄĚ) and has even appeared on several television shows and films. Now, six years since her last, self-titled album, 2019 sees the singer-songwriter putting out her sixth studio album, Head Above Water; a personal account of the trials and tribulations she been through over the past few years. Here’s what we have to say about it…

Avril Lavigne - Head Above Water.jpg

Head Above Water is probably Avril Lavigne‘s most mature album to date, seeing a real evolution in her songwriting. Throughout the record, she paints a candid, honest and deeply introspective portrait of a truly tumultuous period in her life.

It all begins with the album’s title track, ‘Head Above Water’, which is in fact the song that kick-started the writing of the whole album. She stated, ‚ÄúOne night, I thought I was dying, and I had accepted that I was going to die. My mom laid with me in bed and held me. I felt like I was drowning. Under my breath, I prayed, ‚ÄėGod, please help to keep my head above the water.‚Äô In that moment, the song writing of this album began. It was like I tapped into something. It was a very spiritual experience. Lyrics flooded through me from that point on.‚ÄĚ In this truly stunning track alone, Avril Lavigne documents her fight with Lyme Disease (as a result of which, she set up The Avril Lavigne Foundation, to raise awareness of the condition – visit http://www.TheAvrilLavigneFoundation.org for more information), showing her strength of character to fight and overcome it.

As if that song wasn’t different enough, ‘Birdie’ demonstrates a diverse instrumental with intricate production where stripped-back moments show off her voice beautifully and a distorted vocal break adds another dimension to the track in which compares herself to a caged bird.

Equally, ‘I Fell In Love With The Devil’ and ‘Tell Me It’s Over’ are both tinted with Lana Del Rey-esque vibes. The first blends both high and low-pitched vocal harmonies to create an ominous tone to the track, perfectly mirroring the theme of a toxic relationship, whilst the latter’s sultry vocals and brass elements in the verses lead into a massive, soulful chorus, making it possibly the most unique song Avril has ever released.

There is a bit of a lull in the uptempo vibes towards the middle-end of the record (but still great tracks!) ‘Souvenir’ is a cute little love song that although a touch juvenile, is actually very endearing, whilst ‘Crush’ is a sparkly-sounding, soulful number.

It might not be her most obviously banging release, but it certainly packs a punch on the emotive side, with such wonderfully poetic lyricism.

‘Bigger Wow’ isn’t the most memorable song though it’s incredibly catchy and unequivocally pop, however I can’t help but feel it’s virtually a carbon copy of Hailee Steinfeld‘s single, ‘Starving’ with Zedd.

That said, although on the whole Head Above Water is quite the far cry from any of her previous releases, there are definite nods to her former sounds. ‘Dumb Blonde’ (featuring none other than Nicki Minaj – which was clearly a last-minute addition to the track, as the review version of the album did not feature her at all) takes a massive leaf out of her 2007 smash hit, ‘Girlfriend’. Additionally, ‘It Was In Me’ has a massive throwback vibes to her 2002 hit, ‘I’m With You’, but nevertheless, it’s amazing and the build up at the end is truly goosebump-inducing!

The album draws to a close with ‘Warrior’, thematically bringing us back full circle to where we began. The lyrics possibly aren’t the most imaginative on the record but they certainly show the strength she has found within herself, to get through some of the toughest years of her life and with that comes an audible gratitude and renewed lease of life.

Whatever you think of Avril Lavigne‘s previous incarnations, you can’t hear this album and deny that it’s a passionate and very personal offering from the star and although there isn’t a completely cohesive style throughout, it’s refreshing to hear her trying something new. The break has done her voice good too – there‚Äôs a renewed power and technique behind it and she‚Äôs using it in ways she hasn‚Äôt much before.

Of course, there are bound to be people that will slate her for moving away from her old sound and those who will criticise her for trying something new, but personally I love and commend this record for being evolutionary and so clearly therapeutic. It might not be her most obviously banging release, but it certainly packs a punch on the emotive side, with such wonderfully poetic lyricism. Now it’s time to return to the top Avril Lavigne – welcome back!

Rating
4-5


‘Head Above Water’ is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/head-above-water/1442724476


Head Above Water on Spotify

Head Above Water (Official Video)

Tell Me It’s Over (Official Video)

Dumb Blonde featuring Nicki Minaj (Lyric Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review! What do you think of Avril’s sixth studio album, Head Above Water? Are you as much of a fan as us? What would you rate it out of 5? Please leave your thoughts in a comment or via our social media.


Enjoyed this? Check out some of our other reviews here:

Muzik Speaks Album Reviews


Matt – Muzik Speaks
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#Playlist: Brighton Pride Weekender 2018


   

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Brighton Pride is fast approaching and to celebrate, we have created our first ever, Brighton Pride Weekender¬†playlist dedicated to one of the city’s biggest annual events to promote equality and diversity with the aim to eliminate discrimination against the¬†lesbian,¬†gay,¬†bisexual¬†and¬†transgender¬†(LGBT) community.

This playlist has been lovingly crafted to include a variety of tracks, by the artists performing at Brighton Pride 2018, as well as some other great anthems!

If you already own the songs and want the custom artwork, please feel free to copy/download it below:

Brighton Pride Weekender 2018.jpg


We hope you enjoy this playlist as much as we’ve enjoyed creating it! Please share the link to this post, or the playlist itself and give it a cheeky follow on Spotify too – https://open.spotify.com/user/muzik5peaks/playlist/5nXqTcFL05VwLPppVaNIE6?si=fV9Vk8vDQgCVQUgAUzI9ng. If you’ve got any songs to suggest for us to add, please let us know ūüôā

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#Two4Tunesday: James Arthur – ‘You Deserve Better’ & MNEK – ‘Colour’ featuring Hailee Steinfeld


   

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James Arthur – ‘You Deserve Better’

James Arthur has just returned with not one, but two, new songs in the form of a double A-side single, You Deserve Better/At My Weakest.

‘You Deserve Better’ is an acoustic-driven track at the start but then goes on to see the introduction of funky bass guitars, pounding drums and rhythmic claps. The almost understated repetition of the track’s title in the pre-chorus is catchy and seems to take a hold on the listener, before James Arthur bursts into his full, powerful vocals in the chorus. It’s a brilliantly written track!

Does this signify the coming of a third album for the artist?!

No official video has been released as yet, but the paper-themed lyric video (below) should keep you going for now.


‘You Deserve Better’¬†is¬†on¬†iTunes for downloading now! –¬†https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/you-deserve-better-at-my-weakest-single/1389804905



MNEK – ‘Colour’ featuring Hailee Steinfeld

To much delight from fans, MNEK recently announced that his debut album is finished and in the process of being mixed.

Earlier this year, he released the tantalising ‘Tongue’ and now he’s back with ‘Colour’ (presumably the second single from the upcoming album), which is a collaboration with singer and actress, Hailee Steinfeld.

The track comes just in time for Pride season and with the mention of rainbows ūüĆą and MNEK himself being gay, we’re sure this is going to receive a lot of spins around the world, this summer.

The track is tropical house-flavoured with and almost reggae beat to it. The playful, loved-up lyrics are fun and catchy and the way the pair bounce off each other and harmonise is just perfect!

Again, no music video has been released for this track yet but the wonderfully colourful lyric video (below) should hopefully brighten up your day.


‘Colour’¬†can also be downloaded from iTunes now! –¬†https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/colour-feat-hailee-steinfeld/1386508884?i=1386509174


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#Two4Tunesday: Ed Sheeran – ‘Castle On The Hill’ & Julia Michaels – ‘Issues’


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Ed Sheeran – ‘Castle On The Hill’

Now I’ve never been a huge fan of¬†Ed Sheeran, but even I can’t deny his triumphant return and¬†‘Castle On The Hill’ is the first song of his that’s made me take note of him.

The sheer passion in his voice in the chorus of this song is gripping and really captivated my attention. Although this song is currently Number 2 in the UK and his other single (‘Shape Of You’) is at Number 1, I think this one is quietly addictive and could well make it to the Number 1 spot in time.

No official video has been released but for now, check out the lyric video below.


‘Castle On The Hill’¬†is¬†on¬†iTunes for downloading now! –¬†https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/castle-on-the-hill/id1191555115?i=1191557930



Julia Michaels – ‘Issues’

Julia Michaels has so far been known for writing huge hits such as Hailee Steinfeld‘s¬†Love Myself,¬†Justin Bieber‘s¬†Sorry,¬†Britney Spears‘¬†Slumber Party, and even the track ‘Dive’ from¬†Ed Sheeran‘s upcoming album.

However,¬†Julia Michaels has now taken the first steps into the world as an artist in her own right and she’s making huge waves already. Her debut single,¬†‘Issues’ is a real hard-hitter with some fantastic vocal melodies and lyrical acrobatics, just the way the lyrics play around the instrumentation is brilliant; it really is a work of songwriting art. She stated, “It was the first time I’d written a song that sounded so much like myself that I couldn’t picture anyone else singing it.”

Similarly to¬†‘Castle On The Hill’, no video has emerged yet but in the meantime, check out the audio video below.


‘Issues’¬†can also be downloaded from iTunes now! –¬†https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/issues/id1192330387?i=1192330824


Matt – Muzik Speaks
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#Two4Tunesday: Muzik Speaks’ 1st Birthday Playlist

Here’s a playlist of all the #Two4Tunesday songs we’ve featured during our first year…enjoy!


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Muzik Speaks¬†is 1 year old this week and to celebrate this milestone, we’re giving you a themed playlist, for each day this¬†week. The playlist will contain all of the songs we’ve featured on our blog during the past year, all themed around the corresponding day.

Today, it’s¬†#Two4Tunesday and our playlist includes:

  1. Dappy  РBeautiful Me
  2. Frankmusik – Stabilizher
  3. Ellie Goulding – Love Me Like You Do
  4. Taylor Swift – Blank Space
  5. Conor Maynard – Talking About
  6. Marlon Roudette – When The Beat Drops Out
  7. Years & Years  РKing
  8. Angels & Airwaves – Bullets In The Wind
  9. Jason Derulo – Want To Want Me
  10. Lucy Spraggan – Unsinkable
  11. Nick Jonas – Jealous
  12. Luke Friend – Hole In The Heart
  13. TEAM* – I Like It
  14. New City Kings – Change
  15. Omi – Cheerleader
  16. Deorro РFive More Hours featuring Chris Brown
  17. Taio Cruz – Do What You Like
  18. Life Of Dillon – Overload
  19. Britney Spears – Pretty Girls featuring Iggy Azalea
  20. Prides – Higher Love
  21. Maroon 5 РThis Summer
  22. Walk The Moon – Shut Up And Dance
  23. Ryn Weaver – The Fool
  24. Ella Eyre – Together
  25. Aston Merrygold – Get Stupid
  26. Little Mix – Black Magic
  27. Passion Pit – Lifted Up (1985)
  28. Owl City – Verge featuring Aloe Blacc
  29. LunchMoney Lewis – Bills
  30. Dappy – 100 (Built For This)
  31. Frankmusik – This
  32. Years & Years – Shine
  33. Blonde – All Cried Out featuring Alex Newell
  34. Sigma – Glitterball featuring Ella Henderson
  35. Conrad Sewell – Hold Me Up
  36. Tinie Tempah – Not Letting Go featuring Jess Glynne
  37. Trevor Guthrie – Summertime
  38. Jerry Orbach & Angela Lansbury – Be Our Guest (Beauty & The Beast)
  39. Robin Williams РFriend Like Me (Aladdin)
  40. Adriana Castelotti – With A Smile And A Song (Snow White)
  41. Tommy Luske & Bobby Driscoll РYou Can Fly! You Can Fly! You Can Fly! (Peter Pan)
  42. John Newman – Come And Get It
  43. Stefano Pain & Maury Lobina – Take Me Back
  44. Flo Rida – I Don’t Like It, I Love It featuring Robin Thicke & Verdine White
  45. Cash Cash – Take Me Home featuring Bebe Rexha
  46. Prince Royce – Back It Up featuring Jennifer Lopez & Pitbull
  47. The Score – Oh My Love
  48. Prides – Little Danger
  49. Digital Farm Animals РTrue
  50. Robin Thicke – Back Together featuring Nicki Minaj
  51. Pia Mia – Do It Again featuring Chris Brown
  52. MOKS – Otherwise featuring James Arthur
  53. Dappy – Money Can’t Buy
  54. Ellie Goulding – On My Mind
  55. Pentatonix – Can’t Sleep Love
  56. Major Lazer – Lean On featuring M√ė & DJ Snake
  57. Philip George – Alone No More
  58. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis – Downtown featuring Melle Mel, Grandmaster Caz, Kool Moe Dee & Eric Nally
  59. KStewart – Ain’t Nobody
  60. Melissa Steel – You Love Me? featuring Wretch 32
  61. Aquilo – Good Girl
  62. Olly Murs – Kiss Me
  63. Sia – Alive
  64. Justin Bieber – Sorry
  65. Ben Haenow – Second Hand Heart featuring Kelly Clarkson
  66. David Guetta – Bang My Head featuring Sia & Fetty Wap
  67. L√ČON – Treasure
  68. Good Charlotte – Makeshift Love
  69. Tinashe – Player featuring Chris Brown
  70. Fleur East – Sax
  71. St Lucia – Dancing On Glass
  72. Hailee Steinfield – Love Myself
  73. Craig David x Big Narstie РWhen The Bassline Drops
  74. Coldplay – Adventure Of A Lifetime
  75. The Vamps – Wake Up
  76. The 1975 – UGH!
  77. Coasts – You
  78. Matoma¬†–¬†Running Out featuring Astrid S
  79. Zara Larsson – Lush Life
  80. MKTO¬†–¬†Classic
  81. Walking On Cars РTwo Stones
  82. Elle King¬†– Ex’s & Oh’s
  83. Izzy Bizu – White Tiger
  84. ZAYN РPILLOWTALK
  85. NAO РBad Blood
  86. Greyson Chance РAfterlife
  87. Fleur East РMore And More
  88. KStewart РBe Without You
  89. Sigala РSay You Do featuring Imani & DJ Fresh
  90. Beyoncé РFormation
  91. Rihanna – Work featuring Drake
  92. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis РKevin featuring Leon Bridges
  93. Halsey РColors

If you want to download the songs and use a custom cover for them, here’s one we’ve made for you ūüôā

Two4Tunesday Cover

Matt – Muzik Speaks
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Follow the playlist –¬†https://open.spotify.com/user/muzik5peaks/playlist/7GZYBJioQqcKdZD9fIZfLZ

#Two4Tunesday: Hailee Steinfield – ‘Love Myself’ & Craig David – ‘When The Bassline Drops’


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Hailee Steinfield – ‘Love Myself’

Hailee Steinfield is know for being an actress, model and now singer; she has her fingers in many pies…so to speak!

Most notably, she appeared in¬†Pitch Perfect 2 during which she covered ‘Flashlight’ and has since been signed by¬†Republic Records.

Her debut EP,¬†‘HAIZ’, was released in November 2015 and this song,¬†‘Love Myself’, preceded it, back in August this year, however it failed to reach the Top 40 here in the UK.

I have posted this track today as I think it’s a bit different, and she came to my attention as her EP was recently released. I checked it out, and this song stood out for me, so enjoy!


‘Love Myself’¬†is¬†on¬†iTunes for downloading now! –¬†https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/love-myself-single/id1022992339



Craig David x Big Narstie – ‘When The Bassline Drops’

Craig David (aka Craaaaaig David) is back!

Teaming up with Big Narstie after a collaboration on a Radio 1Xtra, during which Craig David remixed ‘Fill Me In‘ over the ‘Where Are √ú Now‘ beat, the pair have now entered the studio to record this latest track,¬†‘When The Bassline Drops’.

It’s the first new music release from Craig David in years and sees the guy return to his garage origins; his ‘Rewind‘ days!

It’s an epic new song and should definitely be appreciated for a triumphant return to the garage scene!


‘When The Bassline Drops’¬†is out now on¬†iTunes; show your support and buy a copy! –¬†https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/when-the-bassline-drops/id1058841050?i=1058841055


Matt – Muzik Speaks
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