She's irrefutably well-known in pop culture, yet somehow remains simultaneously off-the-radar. Though the term "one-hit-wonder" would seem a misnomer for this Canadian songstress due to her roster of chart-toppers, it also seems eerily accurate in light of her ability to reemerge approximately every three years, flooding the Top 40 airwaves with one tune only to immediately crumble back into obscurity until her next album launch. And no matter what, pop music seems to open its doors to welcome her back in every single time, if for only a moment.
Her atypical journey is one worth sharing, and luckily I am here to tell it (because I'm fairly certain no one else is).
ERA I: Complicated.
I'll admit it, I contemplated wearing a tie with a t-shirt more than once. I went to her concert. I wore a black belt with grommets in it. I weighed in on the controversy about whether or not Avril could call herself a "punk." (That was when being "punk" was a thing.) Oh, you didn't hear about that controversy? Probably because you weren't scene. Or in 9th grade at the time. Not my best moments. But I digress.
What I thought she did was bring punk-style and rock into the mainstream and represent the female singers of the world who didn't want to be Britney Spears (a.k.a. me in 9th grade). What she actually did was write a super catchy pop song and popularize heavy eyeliner and allow girls to say the word "dude."
Either way, Avril was on top. She wore Vans. She played guitar (moderately). She said "damn." Yep, Avril was the would-be rebel that somehow still managed to brush elbows with Carson on TRL.
ERA II: Sophomore Plateau
After the Complicated era, Avril put out a sophomore album entitled "Under My Skin," which to most people was probably considered a relative bust. It got some moderate airplay, but didn't live up to her debut album. But not to me.
My best friend and I totally rocked that album back and forth to the lake that summer, and I may or may not have played "My Happy Ending" (anyone?) at a talent competition which I think was put on by the Boys & Girls' club, and therefore let's just say I was the only one playing pop music. But some girls told me I sounded just like Avril, so take that for what you will.
ERA III: Girlfriend
This was the peak of my disappointment in ol' Avril. Not only had she gone from the thoughtful (albeit overdramatic) lyrics on her second album to "hey hey you you I don't like your girlfriend...think you need a new one," but in my opinion she had abandoned her edgy guitar-playing persona completely in a last-ditch effort to stay relevant in 2007.
Spoiler alert: it worked.
Sure, "Girlfriend" still had a bit of the devil-may-care attitude Avril had become known for, but with more of a Lindsay Lohan in Mean Girls type of way rather than Lindsay Lohan in Freaky Friday kind of way.
Around this time, Avril went blonder-than-blonde and started wearing a lot more pink.
It should also be noted that at some point she married and divorced the lead singer of Sum 41, which I can only assume was an attempt to get back to her roots gone terribly wrong. After all, he too was a Canadian pop-punk one-hit-wonder. The realization that she was no longer the edgy tie-wearing mall crasher she used to be probably made him walk. That had to be it, right?
She did, however, release "Keep Holding On," during this era, which could actually be considered a legitimate song. So she had that going for her.
ERA IV: What the Hell/Self Promotion
I think at this point, knowing she had been out-cooled by Hayley Williams in every way and without any hope of going back, Avril decided to go big or go home in the pop music market.
Luckily, so had I, and "What the Hell" rekindled my affinity for Avril Lavigne. Not to the same extent of course--I didn't buy her album or anything, but I also didn't change the station when when this song came on the radio.
She also utilized her resurgence in pop culture to manufacture a fragrance as well as a clothing line, which she promoted every three seconds in the music video for "What The Hell." Smart, Avril. Cross-promotion. I see what you did there.
ERA V: Slow news day.
This brings us to 2012 in which Avril has done nothing of note, EXCEPT being photographed by the paparazzi in this un-newsworthy abomination of a photo which inspired this entire blog post.
Oh Avril. You've come too far to have your beach escapades be the only thing you have going for you in the world of pop culture news.
But good for you for fighting to keep the whole trucker-hat thing alive. There aren't enough people on that effort.
Who's your favorite one-hit-wonder?