Avril Lavigne Is Back And Better Than Ever


Avril Lavigne’s new album “Head Above Water” was released on Feb. 15, 2019. (Facebook)

By Katherine Timofeyev

Most of us still remember every word to “Girlfriend” and will gladly belt out “Sk8er Boi” at the top of our lungs, even though both of these songs were released over a decade ago. Simply put, Avril Lavigne has been and continues to be a beloved pop-punk queen. She is the go-to for when you’re feeling angsty, fired up or sad.

After taking a break that lasted over five years to focus on her health, Lavigne has finally returned with a brand new album, “Head Above Water.” Released on Feb. 15, the album features 15 tracks, including the title track, which had been released earlier in September 2018. Lavigne has been open about her Lyme disease, and this song appears to symbolize her drive to keep fighting. It describes her persistence and struggle with her health and allows the listener to understand exactly what her mindset has become.

When I first heard “Head Above Water,” I could not help but be shocked by the sheer power in her voice. The song seems to be new territory for Lavigne in terms of the raw emotion conveyed through the deep control of her voice. While I remembered her voice as unique, the intensity and command behind her words startled me. Each and every song perfectly showcases the strength and passion that Lavigne possesses.

What might be shocking to some listeners is how Lavigne refers to God or the spiritual world multiple times throughout the album. In “Head Above Water,” she directly calls on God to guide her and keep her afloat. In “I Fell in Love With the Devil,” she calls upon angels to help her escape a toxic relationship. While it is known that Lavigne was raised in a religious household, she had not referenced it in her work until now.

Yet another aspect this album brilliantly portrays is Lavigne’s ability to cover a wide range of styles. “Birdie” comes off as a pop-like song with a strong beat and chorus, telling the listener to break free, whereas “Tell Me It’s Over” is a softer rhythm and blues ballad that encourages the listener to put their foot down. While the latter is similar to “Birdie” in how it inspires the listener to stand up for him or herself, it is much more soulful and showcases an entirely different musical style.

As if the album was not already an incredible work of art, Lavigne reminds us that she truly is capable of it all by tapping back into her punk side with songs such as “I Fell in Love With the Devil.” “Dumb Blonde,” featuring Nicki Minaj, reminds listeners of the edgy Lavigne of yesteryear. The upbeat rhythm and quick guitar give the song a modern pop vibe while still staying true to Lavigne’s unique style.

Additionally, Lavigne’s songs use a range of different instruments. She goes far past the basic guitar and drums, fearlessly stepping into the complexities of delicate string instruments and the powerful grand piano. This turns the album into one resembling a fashion collection in which each song is an entirely different piece from the others, yet still all connected through Lavigne’s unique artistry.

The beauty of this album lies in Lavigne’s incredible storytelling of her journey toward physical and mental health. Each song on the album serves as a testament to the path she has taken over the past five years to get to this point. Lavigne inspires listeners to find motivation and strength in themselves by sharing her story in a perfectly-crafted album.