It feels like an eternity since we last heard from Avril Lavigne. She hasn’t released an album since the self-titled Avril Lavigne in 2013. And in all honesty, none of her music after about 2010 compares to the timeless jams of “Sk8er Boi,” “Complicated” and “Girlfriend.”

Though Lavigne used to have a perfect pop-punk image, her newer music is a failed attempt to pull away from it. She’s gone through a sort of identity crisis, and her newest album Head Above Water is the closest she’s gotten to sorting it out. It definitely seems fitting that a body double replacement conspiracy centers on her.

Lavigne’s sixth album is a complete roller coaster just like any other breakup album. Listeners follow her through her saddest moments and through times of complete empowerment and thrilling energy. Head Above Water was clearly influenced by her severe battle with Lyme disease and her split from Nickelback’s Chad Kroeger. In this album, she brings her fans to the darkest places where she feared death and despair.

Despite these distressing moments, she manages to maintain uplifting messages throughout. We have heard the “keep your head up” mantra in pop music for decades, but Lavigne succeeds in making these clichés much more genuine. She shares how she discovered happiness within herself, how she recovered from painful circumstances and broke free from toxicity.

Head Above Water flows from grungy to lighter pop sounds. “Birdie,” one of the album’s first songs, could have easily been a cringe-inducing cliché of a bird being trapped in a cage. However, Lavigne’s genuine connection with the simile starts the album off with striking authenticity.

Her vocal abilities and range are incredibly impressive. She proves it on “I Fell in Love With the Devil.” As one of the album’s standout tracks, it combines Lavigne’s vocal talents with haunting experiences. It honestly induces chills.

The first half of Head Above Water delves much deeper than surface-level emotions, making it the stronger of the two.

The queen of rap, Nicki Minaj, joins Lavigne on “Dumb Blonde,” one of the liveliest tracks on the album — so bubbly that it sounds out of place in comparison to the emotional tales and powerful vocals in many of the other songs. The album is a musical transition from heartbreak to empowerment, and “Dumb Blonde” feels too “bubblegum pop” to fit in the narrative.

Lavigne ends the album with “Warrior,” another of her stronger moments. She concludes her emboldening journey of scaling obstacles with her twelfth track, which leaves listeners smiling. Though she began by praying for recovery, the album concludes with Lavigne fighting through her struggles.

While the lively moments of Head Above Water are enjoyable, Lavigne’s angst is the most striking. It’s unclear how much she wishes to break away from her early-2000s pop-punk identity — she embodies that persona often, while channeling a 2017-Kesha sound at other times. Lavigne is obviously a talented vocalist, but her quest to find a strong identity, and stick with it, continues.