Where To Start With… Avril Lavigne
Bursting onto the scene in the early 2000s with pop-punk crossover hits like ‘Complicated’ and ‘Sk8er Boi’, Canadian singer-songwriter Avril Lavigne made an instant impact on her 2002 debut Let Go, the album eventually becoming the best-selling by a Canadian artist of 21st century, but by the time of her second full-length offering Under My Skin Lavigne had become a commercial powerhouse, topping the Billboard chart in the US for the first time and earning her the honorific title of ‘Pop Punk Queen’.
Throughout the rest of that decade and into the next, Lavigne toured relentlessly and released a string of successful albums, each earning gold and then platinum status, until 203’s self-titled LP Avril Lavigne. After that, things went a little quiet.
As her apparent hiatus grew longer and longer, fans began to speculate that something was wrong; speculation that ended up in what must surely rank as one of the most bizarre conspiracy theories in recent memory: The real Avril Lavigne, it was said, had died and been replaced with a doppelgänger named Melissa.
The truth, however, was more mundane, but no less frightening. In a twist of misfortune which echoed that faced by another of Canada’s most successful recording artists, Shania Twain, Lavigne revealed in 2018 that she had been battling Lyme Disease, a serious and sometimes fatal illness usually transmitted by ticks.
After a long road to recovery, Lavigne eventually reemerged in 2019 with Head Above Water, her first new album in six years (not that this did anything to dampen the rumours, but there’s no accounting for stupidity.)
Her retrun prove dto be a triumophant one and the resulting album was, as you might expect, a more mature and reflective album than her previous work, but one that put her firmly back on the path to success.
This week Lavigne returns three years later with its follow-up, Love Sux, which makes its arrival in stores this Friday (February 25). Featuring 12 new tracks (or 13 if you buy the deluxe edition) and produced by John Feldman and Mod Sun, Love Sux also features appearances from Blackbear, Machine Gun Kelly and Blink 182’s Mark Hoppus.
You can find the lyric video for recent single ‘I Love It When You Hate Me’ below, beneath that we’ve rounded up five of her finest moments to date to celebrate her return…
No doubt we’ll incur the wrath of Avril Lavigne fans everywhere by leaving ‘Complicated’ off this list at the expense of ‘Sk8er Boi’, but while ‘Complicated’ was undoubtedly the bigger hit from her debut album, ‘Sk8er Boi’ feel more like a summing up of her debut’s mission statement and helped o quickly established her as one of the pop-punk scene’s leading lights.
Irresistible melodies, tremendous hooks, fizzing guitars and stomping rhythms – everything Avril Lavigne excels at in one song, essentially. Still one of her best and a fan favourite even now.
‘What the Hell’
Lavigne’s third album Goodbye Lullabye was definitely more ‘pop’ then ‘pink’, but among the slower ballads and acoustic guitars there are still a few upbeat bangers, and none more so than this. One of the album’s highlights, for sure.
‘Here’s to Never Growing Up’
Featured on her self-titled fourth album in 2013, a much slicker affair than her earlier records, ‘Here’s to Never Growing Up’ is one of the album’s standouts and by far its biggest hit, and although there’s all manner of quirky pop twists and turns on her eponymous LP this is stil one of its best moments.
‘Head Above Water’
Our final pick is the title track from her most recent album Head Above Water and although the album certainly has its more upbeat moments – especially the Nicki Minaj-featuring ‘Dumb Blonde’ – the title track offers more of a glimpse at the album’s overall lush sound, with strings, acoustic guitars, pianos and orchestral flourishes playing a much bigger part than you might be used to and is typical of her most mature-sounding album up until now.
Love Sux is available in hmv stores now - you can also find it here in our online store.