Coming to Terms with Avril Lavigne: Why "Rock N Roll" finally got me on her side.

Editorial, for popjustice.com; pending publication
2014

A confession: Avril Lavigne annoys the ever-loving crap out of me. Her faux badass attitude and her bird-like features make me want to punch something.  I've resisted liking her and her music for so, so long - from the time “Complicated” came out and I would only hum it under my breath, right through the time her clothing line hit stores, emblazoning the youth of America in far too much hot pink and spikes for even my barely edgy 17-year-old self's taste. I found her a liar and a cheat, aligning herself with a movement that strives to be anti-mainstream, anti-all things pop, all the while selling her pop records and generally snarking all over the damn place.

I couldn't decide what I hated most: her music being so catchy, her punk being so forced, or the fact that because she was making so much money with those records, she was kind of doing the most punk thing imaginable. I was still hating on her pretty hard until my Twitter feed 'blew up' with news of the 'Rock N Roll' video.

"#BEARSHARK???"

"Avril Lavigne slapping a baby across a room with a lunch tray was pretty awesome."

"So apparently Avril is like Slash now?"

I was intrigued, unhappily so, and I found my way to the YouTube link.

The video is phenomenal. She does, indeed, slap a baby across a room with a lunch tray. She also gets into a fight with a bearshark, has an emotional lesbian moment in a car that was just crashed by a dog, and near the end, a man who I believe to be Billy Zane rockets up into a sky on a mystical Segway. I laughed more times than I could count, and by the end of the credits, I had to watch it again. And again. And again. And then the song was on repeat in my library for the next week.

There's something different about “Rock N Roll.” Something different about Avril this time around. The rolling guitar lick, distorted and in-your-face like an 80's hair metal track shined up for the new millennium, drives the song the whole way home, especially at the last chorus. Her snotty, don't-care attitude that she's famous for still shows up in the lyrics, which for some reason, don't bother me this time around. The hook is gorgeous. The repeated “hey”s scratch an itch I didn't even know I had. I seriously love this track. It's golden. When it comes up on my shuffle, I don't turn down my volume. I turn it up, then hit the repeat. It took me years to get to this point - to realize that I need to just shut the hell up and embrace Avril's music. She still drives me nuts, but this? This changes everything.

Maybe it is just this song. Maybe it's just Avril doing the same thing she does every time she decides to release new music. Maybe it will just be in my head for a month and out again once another shiny new one comes around. Maybe I was hypnotized by the bearshark. I'm not sure.

All I know is that I wore my studded belt to work today.