Avril, Celine albums go toe-to-toe: Who wins?

Avril Lavigne and Celine Dion. (Reuters/QMI file photos)

Avril Lavigne and Celine Dion. (Reuters/QMI file photos)

Darryl Sterdan, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:48 PM ET

Let’s get ready to waaaaarrrrrrbllllllllle!

That’s right, pop fans: It’s time for the biggest Canadian music melee of the season. The Brawl of the Belters. The Diva Dustup. The Prima Donnybrook.

In this corner: Celine Dion, triumphantly returning to action Nov. 5 with Loved Me Back to Life, her first English album in six years.

In that corner: Avril Lavigne, regrouping after divorce and a disastrous disc with a new self-titled fifth full-length coming out the same day.

Who will emerge victorious when these heavyweights go coiffed-head to head and Manolo-shod toe to toe in the marketplace? Let’s review their track records — and their records’ tracks:

Avril Lavigne

‘The Party-Girl Princess’

Age: 29

Height/Weight: 5’1”, 110 lb.

Out Of: Los Angeles, Calif., by way of Belleville, Ont.

Record: 5 albums, 30 million sales, 0 Grammys, 8 Junos, two disrespected rock-star husbands, countless empty Stoli bottles.

Last Seen: Crying through her makeup on 2011’s reviled Goodbye Lullaby.

Style: Arena-pop anthems for arrested adolescents.

Current Battle Plan: Tactical retreat. Lavigne spends her latest disc doggedly refusing to act her age, insisting she’s still “rock ’n’ roll.” Sadly, she doesn’t realize saying you’re rock ’n’ roll means you aren’t. Worse, to her being rock ’n’ roll = getting wasted, drunk driving, giving people the finger, swearing incessantly and generally acting like a rich, self-entitled dirtbag. Go figure.

Telling Title: Here’s to Never Growing Up.

In Her Corner: Future ex-husband Chad Kroeger, who co-wrote most of the songs and duets on Let Me Go; shock-rocker Marilyn Manson, who croaks and howls the title refrain of the industrial grinder Bad Girl.

Overall: Can’t go the distance. Just as all the mascara in the world can’t hide her dead-soul eyes, these calculatedly unflagging, expletive-filled odes to sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll just reveal her artistic bankruptcy, lack of direction and increasing desperation.

2 stars (out of 5)

Celine Dion

‘The Sin City Scarecrow’

Age: 45.

Height/Weight: 5’7”, 118 lb.

Out Of: Las Vegas, Nev., by way of Charlemagne, Que.

Record: 25 studio albums, 200 million sales, 5 Grammys, 21 Junos, 1 creepy svengali manager/husband, 3 sons, more money than God.

Last Seen: Working the big room at Caesars Palace.

Style: Adult contemporary power ballads for your great-aunt.

Current Battle Plan: The Change-Up. Dion shrewdly moves to update her style slightly on Loved Me Back to Life by expanding her lavish orchestral pop with the grooves and production of contemporary R&B and soul. Her rafter-rattling vocals still dominate the proceedings, though Water and a Flame finds her experimenting with a more restrained and grainier delivery.

Telling Title: Breakaway.

In Her Corner: An assortment of superstar sparring partners — Stevie Wonder & Ne-Yo make cameos, Sia & Diane Warren contribute songs, Babyface & Tricky Stewart produce.

Overall: Not enough punch. While some cuts are almost as weirdly intriguing as her hand gestures and fashion choices, the R&B makeover never truly connects. Ultimately, this feels less like a true musical makeover and more like a 1%er putting on an extravagant theme party.

2 stars (out of 5)

Judge’s Verdict: Split decision. Lavigne has youth and vitality on her side, but Dion has muscle and stamina. The fans will have to settle this one with their wallets.

darryl.sterdan@sunmedia.ca

Twitter: @darryl_sterdan

 


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