#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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*UPDATE* #Playlist: Save A Life – How Music Helped Save Me…


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22nd December 2017

The idea for this post came about whilst I was contemplating creating the annual Christmas playlist I’ve done since I started Muzik Speaks back in 2015, but I quickly realised that I was purely doing it because of the time of year and with the thoughts that as a music blog, I should probably pump out something Christmassy.

Inside though, I’m just not feeling like celebrating Christmas this year and truth be told, I’ve been through a very dark patch for a few months now.I began this blog as a lover of music (ever since I can remember) but also with the old saying in mind that “music speaks louder than words” and I truly believe that in many ways, it does…hence the blog name!

However, since September this year, I was propelled into an incredibly difficult place and since then my head has gone through a very dark, deeply depressive and isolated state and it’s only now, that I’m starting to see some distant, very small rays of light at the end of the long, outstretched tunnel ahead, but with those rays, they have brought just a scrap of positivity into my life.

During the period I mentioned, one of the first things to take a hit was my passion for music – something which has always been an obsession of mine, and looking back, that was a key indicator that I was suffering from depression, although I couldn’t recognise it at the time. I’ll be honest and say that at my lowest point, for a couple of weeks or so, I contemplated suicide almost every day, for what I was being put through and how I was being treated and self-harm was something that alleviated just a tiny bit of the desire/waves of compulsion I felt, to end my life. I wish I hadn’t I let myself get to that stage now, and would never advocate someone do that, but I share this as a plea for people to seek support from whoever and wherever they can, to help give them some much needed strength during their darkest times.

As clich√© as it sounds, the song ‘1-800-273-8255’ by Logic featuring Alessia Cara and Khalid came into my life by happy accident and instantly made an impact on me – it truly kept me going for a couple of weeks straight.

And then slowly but surely over the last few weeks, my passion for music has been really reignited – by mainly angry/empowering rock songs at first; Thirty Seconds To Mars‘This Is War’ was on repeat for a few days and then more recently, Linkin Park‘s ‘Faint’. The tone to those two songs really helped me to channel the anger I was feeling about the place I was in and charged me up with a little renewed strength.

However once I’d started to get over the anger, I began to truly take time to reflect where I was at with my mental state and objectively begin to deal with my dark thoughts and the things that were eating me up inside. It was at that point that a whole host of songs began to play their part in reshaping me and helping me to truly confront with what I was going through.

That is why I decided to create a playlist that is very personal to me and filled it with the songs that had a hand in keeping me alive, helped me to regain a fraction of my normal self and begin to deal with things, each in their own unique way.

Save A Life - Colour

I guess in some way, I’m hoping that this playlist will reach even just one person who is going through a similar rough patch and that it helps them to fight back against their depression and regain their confidence and love of life, or that someone who has already come out the other side can relate to this and appreciate the songs for their unique qualities, thought-provoking lyrics and/or empowering styles.

I should add that I have been very lucky to have my partner, family, some good friends and even my dog (not that she’ll ever know it) to support me through this bleak time and they too have played a vital role in helping me get through this.

Additionally, I sought some counselling – at first it was over the phone but I quickly found that I was craving some human interaction and so went to meet a counsellor and that too has been invaluable to helping me, so I recognise that whilst it’s not entirely the music that has helped me, it was during the times, when I was alone, that this music kept me company, provided me with time to think and played a vital role in aiding me to recover some of my former mental well-being.

I just think that at this time of year, people can feel so alone and having been through what I have, I understand that not everything is joyous for everyone at Christmas time and so I am hoping this playlist will provide something different for people who are feeling down, depressed or suicidal and that it might provide some sort of pick-me-up that you might need or that my story or the music strike a chord with someone and give them something to stop and think about.

My message to anyone who is struggling is just know that things can get better if you hang in there. Believe in yourself and most importantly, take each day as it comes. Fill your time with things you enjoy doing, however small or simple – embrace them. Talk to whoever you feel comfortable talking to, whether it be friends, family or someone anonymous via a helpline – don’t bottle things up. Find joy in music you love, films you enjoy or any other things you like to do and try to take your mind off what you’re worrying about and try to envisage what a happier future would look like.

Finally, I really would like to take the time to ask you to donate to a good cause – if you are going through something similar to me, you have already been through it and managed to come out the other side or even just that you have enjoyed this playlist or felt something for my story, then please visit our JustGiving page www.justgiving.com/muzik-speaks or www.papyrus-uk.org/donate¬†(please quote Muzik Speaks somewhere in your donation) and make a donation – ¬£5 is enough to pay for one phone call, text or e-mail with a young person – you truly can help ‘Save a Life’.
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*UPDATE* – 8th July 2018

Life continues to get better, but I still find I have to take it day by day. My journey through fighting what I’ve been put through continues, but music is certainly helping to empower me. Sure, I still find I have ups and downs and there are certainly days where dark thoughts pass through my mind and there are definitely times where I’m consumed by rage but I suppose that’s all part of the healing process.

I also have to reflect on the good things in life; my loving partner, my beautiful dog and companion, my wonderful family, my ever-supportive friends, music, this blog…there’s lots to be positive about! That’s so important when you’re finding life tough – no matter how hard it is and how hopeless you might feel, take just a minute to try and find something positive, no matter how small it may be and reflect on that. Try to push the dark thoughts out of your mind (or at least to the back of it) and know that life can get better, you just have to hang in there.

And talking. I still maintain that finding someone, anyone, you can trust and talk to, is paramount to fighting your inner demons. The old saying, “A problem shared, is a problem halved,” is very true and should not be underestimated.

I feel this journey may continue for many months to come, until I feel fully back to my normal self, and so undoubtedly this playlist will continue to grow but in the months since I first posted this, I have found 10 new tracks that have continued to help me.From the beautiful¬†William Ryan Key‘s¬†‘Vultures’ to the angry anthem that is¬†‘F.W.T.B.’ by¬†Yonaka;¬†Panic! At The Disco‘s¬†‘(Fuck A) Silver Lining’¬†is a satirical and uplifting track whilst¬†A R I Z O N A‘s¬†‘Freaking Out’¬†helps with those times you just want to let loose and go a bit mental;¬†music is really helping to heal some of the pain.

So, to all of those on this playlist, thank you for making your music. You don’t know how much you’ve helped, and continue to help!

Playlist

  1. Greyson Chance – Seasons
  2. Logic Р1-800-273-8255 featuring Alessia Cara & Khalid
  3. You+Me – Open Door
  4. Kesha – Praying
  5. Years & Years – Eyes Shut
  6. Demi Lovato – Skyscraper
  7. Justin Bieber – I’ll Show You
  8. Kyan Palmer РBurn Mona Lisa
  9. The Fray – How To Save A Life
  10. Angels & Airwaves¬†– A Little’s Enough
  11. SafetySuit – These Times
  12. Jessie J – Who You Are
  13. Nicki Minaj РFly featuring Rihanna
  14. Thirty Seconds To Mars – This Is War
  15. Linkin Park – Faint
  16. Yellowcard – Fighting
  17. Story Of The Year – Can Anybody Hear Me
  18. Jimmy Eat World – Electable (Give It Up)
  19. Angels & Airwaves – Lifeline
  20. Good Charlotte – We Believe
  21. SafetySuit – Looking Up
  22. Remedy Drive – Daylight
  23. Bars & Melody – Scream
  24. MUNA – I Know A Place
  25. Kesha – Learn To Let Go
  26. Superfruit – Future Friends (Brian Robert Jones Choir Remix)
  27. You+Me – Unbeliever
  28. You Me At Six – Carpe Diem
  29. Simple Plan – I Don’t Wanna Be Sad
  30. OneRepublic – I Lived

Update –¬†July 2018

31. William Ryan Key РVultures
32. A R I Z O N A РFreaking Out
33. Shawn Mendes РIn My Blood
34. The 1975 РGive Yourself A Try
35. YONAKA РF.W.T.B.
36. Good Charlotte РActual Pain
37. Ariana Grande РNo Tears Left To Cry
38.¬†Jess Glynne – I’ll Be There
39. Panic! At The Disco Р(Fuck A) Silver Lining
40. SafetySuit РVictory


If you have a story you are willing to share or you want to discuss anything in this post, then please leave a comment; I would just ask that you remain sensitive with what you write on this post please. I also urge you that if you yourself are feeling suicidal or you are concerned about someone, to please call¬†PAPYRUS¬†on¬†0800 068 4141, text¬†07786 209697 or e-mail pat@papyrus-uk.org – whilst I am always happy to talk, I’m not a trained professional but people at PAPYRUS are, and will do their best to help.


#FeelGoodFriday: DNCE – ‘Kissing Strangers’ featuring Nicki Minaj


   

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This is the first new music from DNCE since their debut album in 2016 and it features guest vocals from serial collaborator, Nicki Minaj.

The song has sun-kissed guitar riffs and bass licks throughout; it’s a summery track oozing with gang vocals and beautiful harmonies. The¬†lyrics are saucy and the artwork is 60s in style; reinforcing that¬†it’s a track all about free love. Surely this is the signs of a new album on the horizon?!

No official video has been released yet but undoubtedly one will emerge soon and I’m sure it’ll be fun-filled if the band’s previous releases are anything to go by.

*UPDATE* The official video has now been released and it’s just as tongue-in-cheek, fun-filled and raunchy as I expected. I’m pleased to see Nicki Minaj featured in the video too – not just stylised in the background, like sometimes happens to featured artists and rappers.

What are your thoughts of the band’s new direction? Got any #FeelGoodFriday¬†tunes for us to check out? Please leave your thoughts or song suggestions in a comment or hit us up via our social media.

Matt – Muzik Speaks
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‘Kissing Strangers’¬†can be downloaded off¬†iTunes now –¬†https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/kissing-strangers-feat-nicki-minaj-single/id1223544918


#MellowMonday: Nicki Minaj – ‘Regret In Your Tears’


   

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Nicki Minaj is back with new music and not just one, but three brand new singles,¬†‘No Frauds’,¬†‘Changed It’ and¬†‘Regret In Your Tears’.

Each track is great in its own respect, but¬†‘Regret In Your Tears’¬†seems the perfect way to kick off this week, for #MellowMonday.

Her vocals are whispery and quiet in places, yet the beat still seems to be quite Caribbean at heart – it’s a sultry song and shows a new edge to her sound. I’m a big fan of this song and these new tracks surely signify a new album on the horizon?!

No official video has been released yet but naturally we’ll keep you updated if one arises.

Keep up the great work Ms. Minaj – we salute your return!

Matt – Muzik Speaks
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‘Regret In Your Tears’¬†can be downloaded off¬†iTunes now –¬†https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/regret-in-your-tears-single/id1213817564


#FeelGoodFriday: Fergie – ‘Life Goes On’


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Fergie‘s ¬†back with a brand new track,¬†‘Life Goes On’ and it’s awesome!

Her vocals are strong and I like the bouncy melody to the verses – it’s definitely a Top 40 tune and I can see this charting high! The song was pushed ahead of her planned single,¬†‘You Already Know’, featuring¬†Nicki Minaj and rumours are that the title was significant due to¬†Donald Trump¬†being elected as the US President, this week.

The song is said to be taken from her upcoming album and judging from her recent songs, it looks set to be mammoth!

No official video has been released as yet, but we’ll keep you updated on this, as always.

What are your thoughts of Fergie’s new sound? Are you as excited as we are about her new album? Please let us know your thoughts or leave your own #FeelGoodFriday song choices in a comment below or via our social medias, using the hashtag.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Matt – Muzik Speaks
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‘Life Goes On’¬†can be downloaded off¬†iTunes now –¬†https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/life-goes-on/id1172120526?i=1172120732


#Two4Tunesday – Ariana Grande – ‘Side To Side’ feat. Nicki Minaj & Mura Masa – ‘Love$ick’ feat. A$AP Rocky


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Ariana Grande – ‘Side To Side’ featuring Nicki Minaj

Ariana Grande is no stranger to working with the legendary¬†Nicki Minaj, but the pair have teamed up again to release this infectious, reggae-inspired track,¬†‘Side To Side’.

The song has a different feel to some of Ariana’s previous tracks, but it’s catchy and fun. The video is a little basic in some senses, with the singer and¬†Nicki Minaj¬†surrounded by male models in a sauna, but the song itself is great!


‘Side To Side’¬†is¬†on¬†iTunes for downloading now! –¬†https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/side-to-side-feat.-nicki-minaj/id1091329059?i=1091330310



Mura Masa – ‘Love$ick’ featuring A$AP Rocky

Mura Masa has a wicked sound to his songs and¬†‘Love$ick’ is no exception. This track is actually a re-release of one of his songs released last year, however this time,¬†A$AP Rocky¬†has hopped on the track and added a new depth to it.

The steel-drum sounds make it interesting and add a sort of Caribbean flavour to the song, with its roots firmly planted in trap; it’s a brilliant track, so please share the love for this.


‘Love$ick’¬†can also be downloaded from iTunes now! –¬†https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/love$ick-feat.-a$ap-rocky/id1156181506


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