Avril Lavigne Head Above WaterHaving cycled through several reinventions since 2002’s ubiquitous Complicated, Head Above Water might be Avril Lavigne’s most confident statement yet.

Heavily influenced by her struggles with Lyme Disease, Head Above Water reflects a far more mature Lavigne than the anachronistic pop-punk of her last record. This album is crushing: mostly shaped by ballads, every moment feels considered. While Lavigne made an artform out of contrived rock swagger, these songs are far more vulnerable. Even where she returns to the well, like with the braggadocious Dumb Blonde (unsurprisingly co-written with Bonnie McKee), she sounds freshly self-assured.

It was a long road to get here, but Head Above Water is Lavigne’s best album to date.

Head Above Water is out February 15 via BMG.

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