Let Go is the debut studio album by Canadian singer-songwriter Avril Lavigne. It was released on June 4, 2002, by Arista Records. For a year after signing a record deal with Arista, Lavigne struggled due to conflicts in musical direction. She relocated to Los Angeles, where she recorded her earlier materials for the album; the kind of sound to which the label was not amenable. She was paired to the production team The Matrix, who understood her vision for the album.
The album was credited as the biggest pop debut of 2002, and was certified six-times Platinum in the United States. It was released to generally positive reviews, although Lavigne’s songwriting received some criticism. It also did extremely well in Canada, receiving a diamond certification from the Canadian Recording Industry Association, as well as reaching multi-platinum in many countries around the world, including the UK in which she became the youngest female solo artist to have a number-one album in the region.
As of 2011, Let Go had sold over 20 million copies worldwide becoming Lavigne’s highest-selling album to date. According to Billboard, the album was the 21st best-selling album of the decade. A Rolling Stone readers poll named Let Go the fourth best album of the 2000s. The album is considered as one of the albums that changed the pop punk music scene, because it helped to bring pop punk music into the mainstream, contributing to the rise of female fronted pop punk bands and female-driven punk-influenced pop music. On 18 March 2013, Let Go was re-released as a double disc-set paired with her second studio album, Under My Skin, which is released under RCA Records. The album was further promoted by the Try To Shut Me Up Tour between December 2002 and June 2003.
Lavigne relocated to Los Angeles, where she collaborated with songwriter and producer Clif Magness, who gave her ample creative control in the writing process. Lavigne and Magness wrote “Losing Grip” and “Unwanted”, songs that she deemed reflective of her vision for the entire album. However, Arista was not thrilled with the heavy-guitar laden songs that Lavigne was writing, prompting the label to look for other producers to match their demands.
Now two years since she signed the deal, Lavigne, who was then unknown, came to the attention of the three-piece production team The Matrix. Arista could not find the right direction for Lavigne, so the team’s manager, Sandy Roberton, suggested that they work together: “Why don’t you put her together with The Matrix for a couple of days?” According to member Lauren Christy, they had been listening to Lavigne’s early songs and felt they contained “a Faith Hill kind of vibe”. As soon as they saw Lavigne coming into their studio, The Matrix felt that her musical direction was incongruous to her image and attitude. After talking to Lavigne for an hour, “we cottoned on that she wasn’t happy but couldn’t quite figure out where to go”.
The Matrix played her songs with Faith Hill influences, because it was those kind of songs the label wanted Lavigne to sing. But Lavigne dismissed it, saying she wanted songs with punk rock inclinations. Lavigne played The Matrix a song that she had recorded and really loved, a track with sounds in the likes of the rock band System of a Down. Fortunately, prior to forming The Matrix, its members’ early projects were in the pop-rock type, so they readily figured out what Lavigne wanted to record and knew exactly what to do with her. They told her to come back the following day, and in the afternoon during that day, they wrote a song that evolved into “Complicated” and another song called “Falling Down” (Falling Down appears on the Sweet Home Alabama Soundtrack). They played it to Lavigne when she came back the following day, inspiring her what path she should take.
When Josh Sarubin, the A&R executive who signed Lavigne to the imprint, heard the song, he knew it was right for her. Lavigne presented the song to Reid, who agreed the musical direction Lavigne and The Matrix were taking, and set “Complicated” as the album’s lead single. Reid sent Lavigne back to The Matrix to work with them, initially for a month. Arista gave the team carte blanche to write and produce 10 songs, which took them two months. The album was originally entitled Anything But Ordinary, after the track of the same name that The Matrix produced, but Lavigne asked Reid for the album to be called Let Go instead, which is the title of an unreleased demo featured on Lavigne’s 2001 B-Sides.
Critics described Let Go as an alternative rock album with post-grunge-oriented sound. (by wikipedia)
Talk about pressure — being under 21 and having a record deal no longer qualifies as extraordinary. And as mass-produced teen pop makes its exit and a glut of young singer/songwriters enter, child prodigies no longer have built-in marketing appeal. So if newcomer, 17-year-old Avril Lavigne truly wants to be “Anything But Ordinary,” as she sings on her debut album, Let Go, she’ll have to dig deeper. Luckily for Lavigne, aside from youth, she does have talent. Her debut runs the gamut from driving rock numbers like “Losing Grip” — where Lavigne shows off her vocal range, powering into the anger-fueled, explosive rock chorus — to singer/songwriter pop tunes like “My World,” where Lavigne fills listeners in on the past 17 years of her life. Lavigne handles a variety of styles deftly, but she still has some growing up to do lyrically. “Sk8er Boi” has a terrific power pop bounce, but shows her lyrical shortcomings: “He was a punk/She did ballet/What more can I say” — a lot. The phrasing is awkward and sometimes silly: “It’s funny when you think it’s gonna work out/Till you chose weed over me you’re so lame,” she sings on “Too Much to Ask.”
Not surprisingly, the standout track is the first single, “Complicated,” a gem of a pop/rock tune with a killer chorus. But listen carefully and you’ll realize that “Complicated”‘s sing-song melody borrows just enough from Pink’s “Don’t Let Me Get Me” to make it familiar and likeable. Nonetheless, the song is a knockout radio hit. Lavigne, a self-professed skater punk and labelmate of Pink, shares her “Take Me As I Am” credo as well. And that said, it’s hard not to look at this record, executive produced by Arista label head Antonio “L.A.” Reid, who is thanked by Lavigne for allowing “me to be myself,” and feel cynical about the music industry’s willingness to reproduce a hit over and over. Lavigne, however, is a capable songwriter with vocal chops, and at her age, one imagines, she is still finding her feet, borrowing from the music she’s grown up listening to. The problem is Lavigne is still so young she’s listening to the radio hits of the ’90s and early 2000s: she’s Pink when she’s bucking authority, Alanis Morissette when she’s angry, and Jewel when she’s sensitive. Let Go shows promise, but the question is whether Lavigne and only Lavigne will shine through on her next effort. (by by Christina Saraceno)
In other words: A perfect Power Rock album !
Jeff Allen (bass)
Joe Bonadio (drums)
Alex Elena (drums)
Curt Frasca (guitar)
Josh Freese (drums)
Corky James (guitar)
Avril Lavigne (vocals, guitar)
Gerry Leonard (guitar)
Clif Magness (bass, guitar, keyboards, drum loop)
Dennis Johnson (beats and scratching)
Suzie Katayama (cello)
Peter Zizzo (guitar)
The Matrix – Sabelle Breer
01. Losing Grip (Lavigne/Magness) 3.54
02. Complicated (Lavigne/Christy/Edwards/Spock) 4.04
03. Sk8er Boi (Lavigne/Christy/Edwards/Spock) 3.24
04. I’m with Yu (Lavigne/Christy/Edwards/Spock) 3.44
05. Mobile (Lavigne/Magness) 3.31
06. Unwanted (Lavigne/Magness) 3.41
07. Tomorrow (Lavigne/Frasca/Breer) 3.49
08. Anything But Ordinary (Lavigne/Christy/Edwards/Spock) 4.12
09. Things I’ll Never Say (Lavigne/Christy/Edwards/Spock) 3.44
10. My World (Lavigne/Magness) 3.27
11. Nobody’s Fool (Lavigne/Zizzo) 3.57
12. Too Much To Ask (Lavigne/Magness) 3.46
13. Naked (Lavigne/Frasca/Breer) 3.26