Avril Lavigne: "The Best Damn Thing"
Producers: Butch Walker, Rob Cavallo, Dr. Luke, Deryck Whibley
Arista
Release Date: April 17

There was apparently no need to worry that marriage (to Sum 41's Deryck Whibley) would mellow Avril Lavigne. The Canadian rocker's third album is a mostly sassy'n'snotty affair on which she sounds even younger than when her debut album, 2002's "Let Go," went multiplatinum. After a darker and more contemplative follow-up, Lavigne lets lose this time with such double-speed, punk-inflected tracks as "Everything Back but You," man-smashing slap-downs like "I Can Do Better" and the title track. There's also hater shots at wannabes ("One of Those Girls"), along with proclamations of her own empowerment, like when she declares, "I'm the one who wears the pants!" in "I Don't Have to Try." The gleeful adolescence is even more pronounced when she tries her hand, lightly, at rapping on a couple of songs. It's all done with a grin, of course, which makes the three ballads sound particularly out of context alongside the heavy 'tude of their companions. --Gary Graff