Avril Lavigne: In the Punk Scene or Just Scene?

Avril Lavigne: In the Punk Scene or Just Scene?

Willow Burkholder, Staff Writer - The Mustang Messenger

Since 2002, the combination of smudged eyeliner, baggy pants and tight tops with brightly colored hair and a defiant tomboy-like attitude have confused people on what Avril Lavigne’s genre of music is. Considering she is adorned as one of the first and most famous women in pop punk, and her lyrics and heavy instrumentals are snotty and in-your-face, it would be safe to say that obviously, she’s pop punk. But some albums, like “Goodbye Lullaby” released in 2011 and “The Best D*mn Thing released in 2007, has more of a synthetic, more colorful “scene kid” feel to it. So, which one is she?  

While many journalists claim her to be a “pop-punk princess,” what does that entail? Most agree that it involves the whole feel and aesthetic of her debut album “Let Go,” which includes powerful instrumentals, most obvious in the drums and guitar, combined with the “in-your-face” and carefree lyrics most songs seem to have, add to the stereotypical pop-punk feel most commonly seen in other bands like Blink-182 and Green Day. There are also some slower, lyrically powerful songs like “Nobody’s Fool,” which is a song all about not caring how others perceive you, and “playing to your own crowd” as she proudly declares in the song. Considering that most mainstream music back in the very beginning of her career was poppy, “basic girl” music, it’s quite punk for her debut song, “Complicated,” to be all about not dressing to impress anyone and not having to have different personalities depending on who you’re around. Popmatters.com says, “…it marked the arrival of the pop princess’ antithesis that continues to this day and a bold statement of a young woman demanding entry on her terms.” 

The two albums that followed, though, seemed to follow a more mainstream pop sound, including the feel good single “Girlfriend” followed up by “Smile” on her fourth album, “Goodbye Lullaby.” Her third album has been described as having a “roller-skating euphoria” type of sound to it, which normally means that all of the songs are just catchy with no real, deeper meaning to them. Although still not pop enough to be in the mainstream, but still not “edgy” enough to be considered anywhere close to pop-punk or emo, most people just settle on including these albums in the scene music category. 

So, this still begs the question of “which one is she?” and the answer is much simpler than you may think; both. Although there hasn’t been any major hits since “Smile” and “Here’s to Never Growing Up,” the timeless feel of her music is one that you can’t just fit into one broad category. There will always be disagreements over how a song like “Girlfriend” could even come close to a song like “Complicated,” but no matter the category, most can agree that whatever music she puts out can be easily described in just a few words; timeless and catchy.