It’s the 15th anniversary of Avril Lavigne’s debut single Complicated and we’ve never felt older.
When the Canadian rebel rose to fame, she was considered the anti-Britney, the girl to look up to if you didn’t quite fit in at school. Her message resonated with fans around the world, and her debut album Let Go went on to become one of the best selling albums of all time.
Her popularity continued with the release of her second album, which lost the adolescent innocence of her first record and took a darker turn as the star began delving deeper into her fears and emotions as she transitioned into becoming an adult.
Then just 21, Avril’s song writing explored more adult themes including abuse, homelessness and depression.
While other pop stars sung about getting ‘crunk’ in the club, Under My Skin represented a side of pop that had been lost with the meteoric rise of teen pop in the late nineties.
With her albums selling by the bucket load and the critics still adoring her, you’d be forgiven for thinking the star would stick to the formula that was working so well for her. But not Avril.
Less than three years after Under My Skin, Avril returned with the chart-conquering smash, Girlfriend, which marked a major change in sound for the star. Out was the anti-Britney of the past, and in was a changed woman who embraced her sexuality, loved using men and also *shock* started wearing high-heels instead of Converse.
It was here that, despite The Best Damn Thing being one of the best selling albums of 2007, that her descend into being considered a joke began. But we’d argue that despite the change, she’s always remained quintessentially Avril.
While countless male pop stars have reinvented themselves over the years, it turns out when a woman enters adulthood and begins embracing their sexuality that people just can’t deal. Claims that she was fake, trying too hard and “embarrassing” have followed her ever since, and ten years down the line people still seem to consider her a “sell out” for, you know, growing up.
Her subsequent albums, the long-delayed Goodbye Lullaby and her critically acclaimed self-titled record, have shown a major decline in sales for the star as fans ditched her in droves. But notably, her critical acclaim has continued.
Sure, her brand of pop-punk has all but disappeared from the charts now thanks to the emergence of tropical pop, but there’s no reason why with the right single that the public shouldn’t embrace her with open arms.
This is a woman who has written or co-written every song in her discography. Without her, we wouldn’t have songs like the heart-wrenching I’m With You, the unapologetic Girlfriend, or the euphoric What The Hell.
While suggestions that her image needs to be revamped after completely valid, comments that her music hasn’t matured are simply invalid. This is a woman who could easily put out something like Adele’s 25, and she’s proven that time and time again thanks to her song-writing talent that’s easily strong enough for an adult contemporary record.
But why should she? Why can’t she keep her quintessential Avril-isms, and create mature, contemporary pop at the same time?
Her self titled record, released back in 2013, stands head an shoulders above her contemporaries, and critics agreed. It contained one of her best ever singles, the anthemic Rock N Roll, where she defiantly proclaimed that whatever the f**k you think, she’s not changing her sound for anyone: “I don’t care if I’m a misfit/ I like it better than the hipster bullshit/ I am the motherfuckin’ princess/you still love it”
Whatever your reason for giving up on the legendary naughties icon, Avril’s making a comeback in 2017 on a new record label, and we think it’s time people gave her a chance again.