She was once the biggest pop star on the planet, OK maybe thats a bit of a reach but she was pretty well known internationally and quite a few of her songs are instantly recognisable. But fast forward 10 years since her debut, her success hasn’t quite continued in the fashion even I thought it would.
Let me just give a brief history of Avril Lavigne.
She burst onto the scene in 2002 marketed as the anti Britney/Christina. Her brand of pop rock was a breath of fresh air and she isntantly became a star. Her debut album ‘Let Go’ charted at number 1 in America/UK/Australia and elsewhere and was given the title of the biggest pop album of 2002. Not bad for a debut huh?
Her success continued into her second album ‘Under My Skin’, the hits kept coming with songs ‘My Happy Ending and ‘Don’t Tell Me’ achieving top 10 placings. In 2006 she was even given a voice over role in the movie ‘Over The Hedge’. Things were going from strength to strength for Miss Lavingne.
We are now in 2007 and she released ‘Girlfriend’ for her third album ‘The Best Damn Thing’. Personally this is one of my favourite songs of hers but it was a stark contrast to her earlier material. The song was juvenile, uninspired and annoying as hell. That didn’t stop her scoring a big hit with it though. This song ushered in a new kind of Avril Lavigne; a feminine Avril. Her follow up ‘When You’re Gone’ was a return to Avril’s signature sound with its mature lyrics and haunting piano backing. And again it was a hit on pop radio charting top 10 everywhere.
Now lets stop here. Why you ask? Because this was the last time Avril Lavigne was culturally and musically relevant thats why.
Since her ‘The Best Damn Thing’ era, Avril has failed to keep her name and career above float and with each year has slowly been pushed further and further down the pop music food chain. All I keep wondering is why? Why did this happen? How can a pop star who started off so well and strong fall so far down? I have my theories…
She never grew up with her audience.
When Avril came on the pop scene her main fan base were pop tweens aged 10-15 years old. And since then her fan base have grown up and gotten jobs, degrees, kids etc. Thing is Avril’s music never acknowledged this. If anything her sound regressed with ‘The Best Damn Thing’ being full of immature pop songs. And because of that her fans just moved on. They grew out of her music and looked elsewhere.
The Pop/Punk genre just isn’t the ‘in’ thing anymore.
When Avril first started out she was one of the few ladies in pop music pushing pop/rock into the charts. Girls with guitars were the next big thing. Michelle Branch/Ashlee Simpson and FeFe Dobson soon came onto the scene with their own brand of pop/punk rock and the genre was everywhere. Over time the genre has since lost appeal and all of Avril’s contemporaries have faded into obscurity. But Avril kept pushing along, kept trying to keep the pop punk genre alive in a world run by the Timbalands, Danja Hills and David Guetta’s of the world. And no one was there to listen.
See, this links into the fact she didn’t grow up with her fans. Her fans from the day she started are now too old to be listening to songs about girl/boy trouble and teenage angst.
The next generation of Pop arrived.
When Avril released her third studio album ‘The Best Damn Thing’ there were a whole new generation of ladies really to take the reigns. Rihanna finally scored herself a hit with ‘Umbrella’, Katy Perry burst onto the scene in 2008 with ‘I Kissed A Girl’, Taylor Swift introduced herself as Country’s newest darling selling out stadiums in the process and of course THE GaGa came, saw and conquered pop music. The simple fact is, Avril was pushed out of the scene by these ladies. With so many ladies all vying for that number 1 spot, someone was surely going to get left behind.
Its easy to just ask ‘Oh but Yusuf, these ladies aren’t that powerful to push out Avril Lavigne from the pop scene’ and you’re right. They are not. But their social media is. Thats another thing Avril failed to capitalise on; Social Media.
Aside from her music video for ‘Girlfriend’ once being the most viewed video on YouTube, Avril failed to see powerful social media sites like MySpace, Facebook and Twitter would be. To be fair no one really expected the latter two to be as big as they are so she can be forgiven but in pop you have to always be one step ahead of your rivals. Always.
Facebook & Twitter are now the biggest tools for promo for any artist scoring a hit. Cc; Justin Bieber telling his followers to download Carly Rae Jepson’s ‘Call Me Maybe’.. we all know what happened after that. And Avril was late to the party with this one. And in all honesty I didn’t even know her fourth album ‘Goodbye Lullaby’ was released until I saw someone on a forum site talking about it. She didn’t use the tools at her disposal to get the word out and she paid the price for it with the album selling 2 Million copies worldwide and becoming her least successful album to date.
She Peaked Too Soon
A lot of people will disagree with me on this one but I think Avril has already reached the peak in her career. Lets not forget she started out when she was a teenager and 10+ years into her career, I simply think she has run out of ideas. Her earlier songs were so mature for her age and so well crafted when you think about it, how could she top them? Still to this day she hasn’t made a ballad as beautiful or painfully true as ‘I’m With You’ and at this rate she probably never will.
I’ve just finished listening to her fifth studio titled ‘Avril Lavigne’ because apparently she couldn’t think of anything else to call it and the album isn’t entirely bad, it has its moments which remind me why I still am a fan of hers at the age of 24, but otherwise its not a patch on her earlier stuff, not by a long shot. Something is missing and I just don’t know what.
Like I said, these are all my own theories on why Avril’s career is in the state it is in 2013 and I could be wrong about the whole thing. She could release a new single tomorrow and suddenly experience the same success and sales she had at the start of her career. But I won’t hold on my breathe on that one.
I wish I had a solution for this career dip Avril is in because she can still sing and write a great pop song but part of me just thinks her time in music has passed. Pop is a fickle genre and one minute you’re hot the next you’re not and there are kids now who haven’t a clue who this Avril Lavigne girl is. And that is never a good thing.