Music Pick: “Alice”

5 Feb

Jeff shares his music pick of the week: “Alice,” by Avril Lavigne.

It seems a punk-rocker’s dream to score the lead title track in Tim Burton’s highly anticipated “Alice In Wonderland” film. Avril Lavigne saw that dream come true in the epic piano-and-drum-driven rock ballad “Alice.” The song starts as you would expect anything “Alice In Wonderland”-themed to begin, with odd, creepy sounds transitioning into hard piano notes. We are introduced to Lavigne’s vocals through her middle register before a quick change into her higher, belting voice that automatically draws the listener. The words “I’m freaking out, so where am I now? Upside down and I can’t stop it no,” fit perfectly with her belting, connecting right to how Alice herself would be thinking.

The chorus builds into the powerful words over huge drumming, “You can’t stop me now, I’ll get by, I’ll survive” with almost-screaming vocals from Lavigne. The song then goes into a bridge section with toned vocals before again going into another hard-hitting chorus. The words of the song detail the adventures Alice goes through turning sweet, innocent Alice into a warrior who refuses to let her path get the best of her.

This song is great not only for its atypical subject matter but also for its musical arrangement, one I hope to see more in the future. In a time where our radio waves are being flooded with auto-tune, synthesizers, and “Red One,” it is so refreshing to come across a song like “Alice.” Actual pianos and drums you can hear reverb and echoes from, instead of the computer generated ones we are all too used to hearing. This song not only puts a few more musicians back in the job, but also creates so much more of a real feeling. The raw vocals–although not perfect, which I did admit when describing them as “almost-screaming”–are real too! No quick fix by the computer or inserting a robotic voice to sing the difficult parts here. Lavigne, in one of the best vocal performances she’s released since 2004’s “Nobody’s Home,” shows herself as so simulatenously vulnerable and powerful that one can’t help but at least be drawn in. Hopefully the almost-shouting doesn’t turn listeners off: if they truly listen, this could prove to be one of Lavigne’s most important singles.

I really hope for big success for “Alice.” While I doubt this song itself can make a change, if it proves to do well enough (which being the lead single for such a big movie is a huge step in the right direction) maybe it can inspire a little more real in pop music. And, as music tends to be a catalyst for other forms of change, perhaps it can inspire all of us to be a little more real, abandon trends, and just do what we think sounds awesome. It’s clear Avril thought screaming “I’ll survive!” at the top of her lungs was cool: now it’s your turn to ask yourself what you think is cool. What you end up finding may surprise you.

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