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Tomboy To Tear Jerker: Growing Up With Avril Lavigne

Thursday, 07 November 2019 Written by Helen Payne

Growing up is a process that everyone must endure, whether we like it or not. Some of us change radically, while others change in more subtle ways. Over 17 years since her debut release Avril Lavigne is back, and the one-time pop-punk icon has completed the latest in a long series of stylistic shifts with her new album, 'Head Above Water'.

Her early anthems might have soundtracked your teenage emo years, or perhaps ushered you towards picking up a guitar when you were still in short pants. Just as likely, Lavigne’s bubblegum rabble rousing reinvigorated your resistance to the norm when you were in your 20s. Or 40s. Or 60s.

Her sixth album, however, is largely comprised of piano ballads and lyrically focuses on her life with Lyme disease. Avril Lavigne has grown up, and she’s not afraid of laying her experiences on the line. Hold your horses, though. In this instance growing up doesn’t mean scoffing in embarrassment at your former self. It really means owning your experiences, embracing the cringe and celebrating the fun of youth. 

Anyway, that whole maturity thing can wait until after we’ve seen her live in the UK and Europe in spring 2020 on the Head Above Water Tour. Let Avril guide you there by reliving her gnarly pop-punk years, losing your shit to Sk8r Boi and thrashing around in the heady days of the early 2000s. We can get to the serious stuff later.

Angst-Fuelled Teenage Years

Losing Grip: ‘Let Go’, 2002

It’s 2002. Britney Spears is adopting what Wikipedia calls “more mature and provocative themes”, and Christina Aguilera is getting Dirrty. Avril, on the other hand, is a saviour for those allergic to cheesy pop stars everywhere. With an electric guitar in one hand and a skateboard in the other, while going a bit too heavy on the eye shadow, she let her teenage rebellion roar when she cried, “Why should I care?” Need some angry music to scream along to? Losing Grip is for you.

First Relationships

My Happy Ending: ‘Under My Skin’, 2004

Album two rolled around when Avril was just 19. Her songwriting became darker and heavier, with the grungy big single, My Happy Ending, viciously lamenting a breakup. “So much for my happy ending,” she growls, still a teenager with her whole life ahead of her. Elsewhere on the record, we’ve got titles like Take Me Away, He Wasn’t, How Does It Feel, Fall To Pieces, and other emotional crackers about the torture of true love. But hey, at that age, break ups feel like the end of the entire world. Let her off.

...More Relationships

Girlfriend: ‘The Best Damn Thing’, 2007

HEY HEY, YOU YOU! I don’t like your girlfriend, so I’m going to satiate my crush and get rid of her by writing a tempestuous cheerleader-style chant. Not that we condone bullying in ANY shape or form, of course, but this silly video from 2007 did have us giggling, with Avril playing a black haired punk who gets rid of the nerd by flirting with the jock. The nerd in question eventually falls over and theatrically rolls into a portaloo for some comedy gold. ‘The Best Damn Thing’ spends less time on punk attitudes and I don’t give a fucks and more time in the commercial sphere, with Avril still appeasing the 13-year-old in all of us by donning neon pink hair extensions and a cartoon heart and crossbones on the cover.

Never Leaving Neverland

Here’s To Never Growing Up: ‘Avril Lavigne’, 2013

Who doesn’t want to spend their 30th birthday wearing a tie knotted at their ribcage and striped knee-length socks while travelling around school hallways on a skateboard? Or perhaps screaming with ecstasy at the school bell ringing out for the last time before the summer vacation is more your thing? If you'd like to raise a glass for a toast, here’s to never growing up, courtesy of a 29-year-old Avril armed with a self-titled album and promising eternal youth like a pop-punk Peter Pan.

A Is For Adulthood

Head Above Water: 'Head Above Water', 2019

The title track from Lavigne’s comeback album was written from her bed when battling with Lyme disease, feeling the difficulty of trying to keep her head above water. The LP is chock-full of heart-breaking piano-based numbers, excluding the brazen and brassy Nicki Minaj-featuring Dumb Blonde, which acts as a bizarre exception to the rule.

Lavigne’s Head Above Water Tour is set to be a celebration of her career and legacy, with tracks on both sides of the maturity scale still landing as big hitters in a venue full of adoring fans. Regardless of which hits she plays, one thing’s for sure: there will be lots and LOTS of eye shadow.

Avril Lavigne will play the O2 Apollo in Manchester and the O2 Academy Brixton in April 2020, now with extra dates added due to demand. Tickets are on sale now. 

Avril Lavigne Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows

Fri March 13 2020 - ZURICH Samsung Hall (Switzerland)
Sun March 15 2020 - MILAN Lorenzini District (Italy)
Mon March 16 2020 - MILAN Lorenzini District (Italy)
Wed March 18 2020 - BRUSSELS Forest National (Belgium)
Thu March 19 2020 - OFFENBACH AM MAIN Stadthalle Offenbach (Germany)
Fri March 20 2020 - AMSTERDAM AFAS Live (Netherlands)
Sun March 22 2020 - VIENNA Stadhalle (Austria)
Mon March 23 2020 - ZURICH Volkshaus (Switzerland)
Thu March 26 2020 - PARIS Olympia (France)
Sat March 28 2020 - BERLIN Columbiahalle (Germany)
Sun March 29 2020 - COLOGNE Palladium (Germany)
Mon March 30 2020 - MUNICH Zenith (Germany)
Wed April 01 2020 - LONDON O2 Academy Brixton
Thu April 02 2020 - MANCHESTER O2 Apollo
Sun April 05 2020 - LONDON O2 Academy Brixton
Mon April 06 2020 - LONDON O2 Academy Brixton

Click here to compare & buy Avril Lavigne Tickets at Stereoboard.com.

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