Can She Make It Any More Obvious? The Avril Lavigne-aissance Is Now

Twenty years after “Sk8r Boi” dominated the airwaves, Avril Lavigne is back like she never left. The Canadian pop star has been, deservedly, the center of attention for the entirety of 2022 and it all came to a head in August — can she make it any more obvious?

Sorry, but you’ll have to excuse the “Sk8r Boi” quotes. That song still slaps, has always slaps, and will forever slap.

What’s crazy is that “Sk8r Boi” was released in 2002, only a couple weeks before Avril Lavigne turned 18 (her birthday is September 27, so start writing your birthday cards now).

At least for us younger millennials, it feels like Lavigne has been around forever but she’s actually only 37. Life’s like this, to quote Lavigne’s other iconic banger, “Complicated.”

2022 is very much Lavigne’s year. She’s enjoyed a winning streak that’s consequently led into a beautiful Avril Lavigne-aissance, the likes of which we haven’t seen since the days of MySpace.

Let’s start from the top.

It all began back in February when Avril Lavigne released the deliciously emo-titled Love Sux, her latest album.

With features from early-aughts peers like Travis Barker, and Lavigne’s beau, Mod Sun — Lavigne and Mod Sun eventually got engaged in April 2022 — Love Sux was a return to the pop punk form first put forth by Let Go, Lavigne’s first record.

It’s all chunky guitars and snotty lyrics, immediately taking listeners back to the early 2000s’ halcyon days when Invader Zim was the biggest thing on TV and it was normal for us middle-schoolers to make a weekly pilgrimage to the local mall for Hot Topic hangs.

We’ve similarly gone back to the early ’00s style-wise, what with all the Y2K worship in the fashion biz these days.

At the 2022 MTV VMAs, for instance, everyone went mall-goth, including Lavigne herself.

She swapped thrashed sk8r jeans for full Versace, of course, and sadly stopped wearing her signature skinny ties (though you can still buy them on the Avril Lavigne web store!).

Ties or not, Lavigne is masterfully threading the needle between her tomboyish looks from couple decades ago and the edgy luxury of today.

Currently on tour with MGK, Lavigne has been repping flashy Versace suits and Vivienne Westwood tank tops — the mother of punk fashion meets the godmother of punk pop!

She also dropped an affordable clothing collab with fast-fashion brand Killstar, issuing skeleton-printed dresses, chained harnesses, and skull suitcases that are, in typical Lavigne style, edgy in a safe way.

On August 31, Lavigne received a star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame.

She celebrated with a brief photoshoot, wearing — what else? — a tartan plaid suit under a “SKATEBOARDING IS NOT A CRIME” hoodie and Lanvin Curb sneakers with the laces half-tied.

Like an ageless bratty teen, Lavigne threw the horns with her perpetually black-painted nails and posed with a skateboard branded with her name. This is her moment and she’s living it up.

For years, mass culture pooh-poohed Y2K culture as r/blunderyears cringe, too embarrassing to be cool.

As the Y2K era was reframed with wistful nostalgia, Avril Lavigne ended up in the right place at the right time: the same place she always was.

Lavigne’s career has survived several eras of cultural disinterest and a marriage to Nickelback frontbro Chad Kroeger but she’s stayed in her lane long enough that the kids who grew up on her music got older and more nostalgic for the era in which Lavigne was rockin’ up MTV, to again quote “Sk8r Boi.”

Simultaneously, Gen Z is at the right age to see 37-year-old Lavigne as an elder stateswoman, the living manifestation of an age that most of them were too young to ever experience.

Lavigne’s such an established presence in the pop sphere that a photo of her standing next to fellow Canuck Drake or 2000s hitmaker Lil Wayne is as normal as Kim Kardashian repping Balenciaga.

In fact, like fellow 2022 VMAs performer Fergie, Avril Lavigne is inspiring a new generation.

MGK is an obvious enough reference but Landon Barker, son of Travis, is also a Lavigne fan and we might not’ve gotten angsty crossover hits from folks like Olivia Rodrigo and Waterparks were Avril Lavigne not setting the pace.

As Lavigne reclaims her crown, funnily enough, Panic! At The Disco is dropping a new hit album and My Chemical Romance is touring stadiums. It’s like digging up a cultural time capsule we collectively buried in 2012.

Perhaps the Rawring 20s are actually underway.

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