Avril Lavigne's Let Go at 20: Reclaiming the Complicated Legacy of a Pop Punk Princess

Avril Lavigne’s Let Go at 20: Reclaiming the Complicated Legacy of a Pop Punk Princess

Olivia Rodrigo – the 19-year-old who recently won Best New Artist at the Grammys – has been covering Avril Lavigne’s biggest success, Complex, Throughout her spring tour. So it was no surprise when Rodrygo asked the out-of-sale masses at Massey Hall “Please give it up for Avril Lavigne!” Napanee pride came out, Ont. , to lead a single from her debut single from 2002, with a room full of teenage fans — including Rodrigo herself — who weren’t even born when video first dominated MuchMusic and MTV.

For a new generation of female artists, from chart-toppers to independent acts, Lavigne is Canada’s sister North Star. Her appearance at this year’s Juno Awards was one of the most vociferous performances of the ceremony. And just wrapped up her first cross-Canada tour since 2011, in celebration of her Endurance (7th album, Love SuxAnd Her Lasting Legacy: The 20th Anniversary of Her First Album leave it.

But to hear it from the many critics who are neither women nor teens, Lavigne’s decades-long influence in pop music comes with an asterisk. Take this scathing 2014 Globe and Mail review of her EDM-tinged song Hello Kitty: “Take a genre past its peak cuteness… strip it of character, pen vaguely suggestive lyrics about little love, and release the first song.” It was written by me… I. I was wrong, and it’s time to correct the record. Lavigne has to be considered one of the hottest Canadians of the last 20 years.

An audio recording of the childhood of an entire generation is to earn a level of cultural significance that is, for most artists, the stuff of dreams. “Thank you for making me who I am” was Billie Eilish’s caption on Instagram when she met today’s biggest pop star Lavigne, who attended one of her shows. On YouTube, dedicated fans put together a video titled “Billie Eilish Obsessed With Avril Lavigne For 10 Minutes Straight”, as if, without egregious visual evidence, non-believers would never think of a straight line from the people they hate so much. leave it To the 2020 Grammy winning album.

The stars came out at the Juno Awards on May 15, with many discussing the idea of ​​their inspiration from beloved Ontario pop-punk singer Avril Lavigne, who performed during the show.

Canadian Press

Grammy nominee Phoebe Bridgers is a recognized fan of Lavigne. While the singer-songwriter is often associated with widely credible emo artists like Elliot Smith and Conor Oberst, she admits to Billboard that “I probably wouldn’t have made it to Elliot Smith without Avril Lavigne.” Soccer Mommy, another critically approved indie rock act, was praised leave it And the under my skin From 2004 he told Billboard that “You can only put those [first two albums] In the car and every track – boom. Hit, hit, hit, hit. “

However, there is still an air of doubt that such serious and acclaimed musicians sing the praises of undeniably catchy – but not serious – songs like Complex or Sk8er Boy. Instead, Lavigne’s songwriting is grudgingly respected and nostalgic compromises.

Lavigne in July 2002.Xavier Bobby

Criticism of Eagle asserts that after her first two albums, “Lavigne’s discography since then represented a conscious rejection of the character and voice that [Soccer Mommy] And the [Snail Mail, another female indie rocker] Consider the near and dear, who is more Girlfriend Reposts and dubiously offensive singles make a duo quiet. “A retrospective look at leave it From Pitchfork, Rolling Stone in the Digital Age, equally dismissive of its track: “Listen to bachelors later…sounds like chewing bits of gum when you’re old enough to make your dentist appointments.”

In fact, there’s just something not so cute about Lavigne, who has never veered away from the pop-punk princess aesthetic who started her career 20 years ago. Time has proven that despite her many conquests of other species, her words are on the letter And a consistent personality is key to her influence with Olivia Rodrigues in the world. Lavigne doesn’t go from album to album, as many contemporary musicians do, so much as trying different shades of eyeliner and colorful highlights. But the artistic immaturity I thought I saw in the past was actually me, her male contemporary born the same year, and I miss the most important part of her art: her audience.

Teen girls can spot a fake faster than anyone else, which makes communicating with them over decades no small feat. Taylor Swift – a self-proclaimed “forever fan” of Lavigne – has been praised for growing along with her audience, from teen crushes to adult romance. Lavigne’s music takes the opposite approach: the constancy of adolescent anxiety that always finds its way to its intended listener. She wants to be taken seriously at the height of her boredom. She does not need to imagine the protagonist who will ask, “Why do you have to go and make things so complicated?” Lavigne is honest with her country Young people’s interests whether she’s writing in LiveJournal in 2002 or in her feelings on Instagram in 2022 (close friends only).

In the long game, Lavigne’s critics list pales in comparison to the teenage connoisseurs who are finally old enough to claim it as they discover the crunchy healing ropes of 2000s Pop Punk. Also find out how these male-dominated genres weren’t long ago, which is when Lavigne topped a short list of women (including fellow Canadian Vivi Dobson and Paramore’s Hayley Williams) who managed to create space, play guitar and rock around boys . and separation. Not having so many contemporaries with her should make us appreciate her more, not less.

Today, critical reconsideration is a hallmark of pop culture (you’ve read so far, right?). Many of us have spent years making fun of the music of artists like Britney Spears. At the time, Lavigne was positioned as the anti-Spears rock, a move questionable that we, yes, reconsidered and called for pitting the women against each other.

We’re now recognizing Spears as a leading pop star even if professional listeners still maintain that her latest production never really hit its all-time high (sound familiar?). We’ve brought back many artists of the same old style, from Christina Aguilera to the Backstreet Boys. Why didn’t we agree on Lavigne’s place in those ranks?

It’s about positively outdated ideas about pop versus rock. In presenting herself as a singer-songwriter first, Lavigne calls stifling criticism of her originality. Her first two albums were unnecessarily marred by a songwriting controversy with co-writers Matrix and Chantal Krevazok. There are questions about how a humble church-goer from a small town in Canada rose to cultural prominence as a fully realized pop-punk idol — questions that are hardly ever asked of Stratford’s Justin Bieber.

I ask readers to learn from my mistakes, and to venerate pop punk icon Lavigne the same way we do, for example, Shania Twain, her childhood idol. As Lavigne faithful like Olivia Rodrigo and Billie Eilish continue to dominate the charts, wearing their influence up our sleeves, we hope more of us will abandon our complicated relationship with her music. That would be a happy ending.

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2022-06-04 11:15:00

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