BEST DAMN THING is the third full-length from pop chart upstart Avril Lavigne and shows the artist has lost none of the cheeky, bratty rock edge that put the singer on the map. The album's lead-off single, "Girlfriend," a bouncy pop-punk romp driven by pell-mell energy and a naggingly catchy chorus, is a case in point. "Girlfriend" kicks off the 12-song set with a bang, telling the listener in no uncertain terms that the album is going to be a fast, fun, high-octane ride.
Whereas Lavigne's sophomore release, UNDER MY SKIN, showed a more reflective side of the singer, BEST DAMN THING doesn't waste time navel-gazing or brooding about relationships gone wrong. Instead the album revels in punchy, uncomplicated pop delivered with a teenaged sneer (and a few well-placed curse words to keep the parents on their toes). Lavigne still seems a ways off from fully exploring her "mature" side, but this batch of energetic tunes is all the better for it. The best teen pop thrives on good hooks and youthful, devil-may-care attitude, and that's exactly what Lavigne delivers.
Spin (p.89) - 3.5 stars out of 5 -- "Lavigne returns to the infectious hooks and mall-punk guitars that made her famous....Throughout, Lavigne spruces up her sound with pep-squad chants and funky hip-hop rhythms."
Entertainment Weekly (p.60) - "[S]he's provided the best darn rock & roll album teen girls are likely to hear all year..." -- Grade: B