A while back, Gus wrote about his ultimate devotion to Avril.

Well, that's not exactly how he put it, but I'm sure that's what he's meant.

I put off writing about it for a while, since I thought it would be good to milk his embarassment for a while. I, of course, have the excuse of having a 10 year old daughter, and therefore any listening that I might do to any songs by Avril is merely a way for me to relate to her world. Thankfully, Samantha is no longer interested in Britney, which I am thankful for, both for Britney's image and her her vocal abilities. Or the lack thereof.

So, Avril recently released a new album titled, “Under My Skin“. I got big daddy points by doing a pre-order on Amazon. Having thought her original album was pretty good, I was wondering what this one would be. The sophomore album tends to be one of the worst that an artist  puts out. All the good stuff has been used up on the debut album but the artist hasn’t yet hit her songwriting stride, plus the record companies want that second album now. “Van Halen II“ is a primary example. Any band that wrote “I live my life like there's no tommorrow. All I've got, I've had to steal. Least I don't need to beg or borrow. Yes, I'm living at the pace that kills“ should be pretty embarassed to them write “Barely a beginner, but just watch that lady go. She's on fire, 'cause dancing gets her higher than anything else she knows.“, especially to a poorly-disguised disco beat. On the other hand, a quick look at Amazon shows that Van Halen II gets 4.5 stars, the exact same rating as their first album, which shows that the public has no taste.

I will admit to being somewhat of a non-purist for music. I like stuff that sounds good and is hard to sing, and while I don't like over-processed vocals, I do prefer a note that has been pitch corrected to one that is out of tune. There's no doubt that some of the songs on this album have some vocal processing, but it's been applied fairly lightly, and I appreciate that Avril is both overdubbing her vocals and singing with different timbre.

The reviews of Under My Skin have mostly focused on the somewhat simplistic lyrics, but the number of groups who can write both great music and great lyrics is pretty small, so I think that that’s not a big issue.

The album is pretty good overall, and you can listen to it more than once. There are two songs of note:

“Don’t tell me” starts out as a very typical teenage love song, but then makes a transition into a nice rocking song.

“He Wasn’t” seemed very familiar to me, and when I listened carefully, I realized that there is a fair amount of Green Day influence there. Which is a “good thing”.

So, to answer Gus' question, since his Avril devotion is based upon musical qualities, I think he's on safe ground.

He should, however, be embarassed about his obsession on Mary Kate and Ashley. I mean, dude, we're tired of having to look at the autographed magazine cover over and over.