Avril Lavigne has her third album out this week, Best Damn Thing. Judging by the songs she played on SNL, this might be a decent disposable pop album. In the current marketplace, she'd have to rate above average quality for teen pop stuff.
Where Avril Lavigne doesn't come off well is if you (or she) offers her music up as being somehow "punk rock" of any fashion. Avril Lavigne is not a self-loathing, suicidal, drug addicted whore. Therefore, while having a bit of aggressive musical energy, she still could never qualify as "punk rock." That aggression is not punk, but spunk - and that's nice too, unless you hate spunk like Lou Grant does. I'm just saying that young Avril more resembles Mary Richards than Courtney Love. That's a good thing.
Trent Reznor has him a new Nine Inch Nails album, Year Zero. Historically, he's pretty much got a couple of things that might be considered legitimate song compositions, padded out with bunches of studio noise effects passed off as music. Reznor himself describes this album as even more "sound collage" than previous efforts.
However, this project has a really interesting marketing campaign based on an elaborate set of seemingly disparate and cross-linked conspiracy websites. They spin out the dystopian storyline for this sci-fi record. If Mr. Reznor spent as much energy on the composition of melody as on marketing shtick, he'd likely have been making much better music. On the other hand, the marketing seems to be working - it's the #1 album currently at Amazon. Plus, I would like to try a fat dose of Parepin. Sounds trippy.
Speaking of dystopian futures, the American Idol domination of pop culture continues with a "country" album by Bucky Covington - whom I so far blissfully have never been exposed to. Plus, he doesn't look quite gay enough to be a modern country singer. However, I'm becoming painfully aware of the American Idol idea of country music via Carrie Underwood. There's some ugly stuff in the water to be producing stuff like the American Idols, whether it's Parepin or old fashion fluoridation. I'm just saying that something seems to be corrupting the purity of our precious bodily fluids.