By Chris Gray
By Corey Deiterman
By Jef With One F
By Chris Gray
By Rocks Off
By Rocks Off
I'll just come out and say it: I have a full-on girl crush on Avril Lavigne. There. Now it's in the open.
I own all the DVD-enhanced versions of her CDs. I know all the lyrics. I have karaoked to "Losing Grip." In public. Also in public, I have hoped the Blockbuster cashier does not notice I am renting an Avril concert. I have considered buying Vans, and last summer I went through a limoncello phase thanks to the reference in "I Can Do Better."
That song epitomizes the essence of Avril. In truth, there is probably always a better alternative to her — something more articulate, less male-bashing, more legitimate. Still, what other artist so adorably embodies self-confidence bordering on meanness, bratty tantrums masquerading as pop songs? Could anyone else get away with lyrics such as "Be at my beck and call, I know it all, and it's all your fault" and still be No. 15 on Maxim's Hot 100? The girl may not ooze profundity, but she is dripping in platinum records.
The best damn thing to come out of Napanee, Ontario, Lavigne has found a formula that works, particularly if you're going through a breakup. Consider 2004's Under My Skin, the perfect mixture of indignation ("Don't Tell Me"), angst ("Take Me Away"), feminism ("He Wasn't") and nostalgia ("Slipped Away"). And for the hard of hearing, "Forgotten" goes very well with Red Bull and an angry late-night drive down I-10. Under My Skin is the best therapy $15 can buy.
Lavigne is savvy enough to surround herself with quality musicians and producers. Several tracks on this year's The Best Damn Thing are markedly improved by Travis Barker's drumming. Producer Dr. Luke lends his hit-making hand and allows Avril to assault him with pepper spray (see the deluxe edition's DVD). Lavigne is not above letting the pros do what they do best, and she's not afraid of the avant-garde, either; listen closely to the last few chords of "Girlfriend" to hear her playing a beer bottle.
But back to my girl crush. Admit it, boys. Avril Lavigne is hot. She annoys you because you secretly want her and know you'll never have her. Avril is the carrot that dangles in front of your face, disappears with maniacal laughter and kicks your ass from behind. Meanwhile, she lives out your rock-star fantasies, gets rich, mispronounces David Bowie's last name and must be told who the Ramones are after she makes it big. It doesn't seem fair, but we have two options: Ignore her, or acknowledge what she is — catchy, relatable, rebellious and cute. I choose the latter.
And I would totally make out with her.