With her seventh album due out any time soon it's time to take a look back at where it all began for Sk8er Grrrl Avril
Avril Lavigne was only seventeen when she released her hugely successful debut album Let Go, back in 2002. The breakthrough album from the then young Canadian, not only brought her music and style to a global audience it also turned out to be hugely influential. Avril Lavigne has long since been credited with bringing Pop-Punk to the masses but she did so much more than that in hindsight. Whilst it is easy to see Avril's immediate early influence on such acts as Paramore and Kelly Osbourne her long term legacy stretches far further.
Let Go was headed up by it's lead single Complicated, being released three months ahead of the album. The song, which Avril recorded the previous year when she was only 16, was a resounding success. Complicated not only made Avril a household name more-or-less overnight it set records across the globe. Complicated remains one of Avril's best selling tracks to date and peaked at number one in many countries around the world including Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, Canada and even Venezuela! Complicated was one of five tracks from the original 13 on the album that Lavigne co-wrote with The Matrix team. The partnership they shared was particularly fruitful on her first album as it also yielded her next two single releases, Sk8er Boi and I'm With You.
Following the immediate impact that Avril Lavigne enjoyed with her debut single and debut album releases she consolidated her position still further with the release of her second signature tune, Sk8er Boi, in September of the same year. The Punk-Pop anthem reached number one on the Billboard Mainstream chart and was Grammy nominated. The track is a genius piece of story-telling as Avril traces the journey of two unlikely lovers from start to finish. It maybe a little cliched, but it's a tale as old as time. It's Romeo and Juliet; star crossed lovers from different backgrounds, Kate and Leo but for teens with skateboards. "He was a punk, she did ballet", "He wanted her, She'd never tell, Secretly she wanted him as well" sets the scene brilliantly and let's a great story unfold. Sk8er Boi is a terrific song; there's a whole book, or movie, imparted so well in just a few short verses. You are instantly implanted in Avril's world wanting and needing to know how the story ends.
Four more singles were released from Avril's first album, the more considered and reflective I'm With You, in late 2002, the album's opening track, Losing Grip, in March 2003, the continually building and always compelling Mobile, in May of the same year, and finally, the multi-layered Nobody's Fool.
Let Go was not just a collection of singles though, it was a fully rounded and cohesive album that had more to offer than mere chart success. Let Go had, and has, a depth way beyond the meagre years of it's star, Avril Lavigne. There is more power and passion in Unwanted than any of the last four singles lifted from the album. The explosive chorus is one of the highlights of the record. The stripped back tenderness of Tomorrow is raw with emotion and the close out track, Naked, an insight into the life of a young woman on the brink of superstardom.
At the 2003 Grammy's, where Let Go was nominated for Best Pop Vocal Album, Avril Lavigne lost out to Nora Jones with her album, Come Away With Me. Whilst you cannot deny that Come Away With Me is a very good album, it has not had the same influence, impact or inspiration as Let Go. Let Go tapped into a market that was considered much more niche before Avril set the world alight with her impassioned Pop-Punk anthems. Back in 2002 Avril Lavigne almost single handedly took Pop-Punk into the mainstream and ensured it's global appeal.
Avril's story seems to have now come full circle as she is just about to release her seventh full length studio album. The very genre that she re-ignited back in 2002 is now flourishing again thanks to those that have been inspired by her work. YUNGBLUD, All Time Low, Meet Me At The Alter and Avril's latest collaborator Mod Sun have all helped re-invent Pop-Punk for a new audience. Not only has Avril Lavigne helped bring this about she has also had a far greater impact on music, and especially young female performers in particular. You can see and hear her wide ranging influence on so many of today's artists, including Billie Eilish, Miley Cyrus, Willow, Ashnikko, Girl In Red, Bella Poarch and even this year's biggest breakthrough, Olivia Rodrigo. It's difficult to envisage many of these artists coming to the fore, if Avril Lavigne hadn't first paved the way nearly two decades ago. Let Go not only introduced Avril Lavigne to the world it opened the door for so many acts that would come to dominate the music scene in the future.