Avril Lavigne's decade plus career in the music industry has yielded hits, multi-platinum albums, and iconic pieces of pop culture.
Since, the eighties and the invention of the music video, an artist has been revealed and proliferated through what they can convey through a TV screen. Madonna and Michael Jackson mastered this art of communication, while others have slipped. Avril Lavigne with her anti-commercial stance has fumbled in her “I'm not like other girls” image.
Let Go (2001)
Avril Lavigne's breakthrough hit was accompanied by a video that introduced her to pop fans. The video may have been good for it's time, but it certainly hasn't held up. See this along with “Sk8r Boi” for the template of social rejects who didn't fit into the Britney/Christina mold.
The video finds Avril hanging out with her boys. She's too cool to have girlfriends after all. She's not the kind of girl who talks about lip gloss. It poignantly starts with her asking her skater friends, “Dude you wanna crash the mall?” Someone had to shoplift the Hot Topic on Tuesday and Avril Lavigne's schedule was free.
Under My Skin (2004)
“Don't Tell Me”
This album was an attempt to make Avril more “mature”. A look that decidedly hasn't worked for her. It produced a number of hits and the music video's were more palatable then it's predecessor. Still it's a toss up between “Don't Tell Me” and “He Wasn't” for worst visual treatment.
Where “He Wasn't” revels in it's parody status of a garage band filming it's low budget video, the stalker theme of “Don't Tell Me” isn't so self aware. Avril finds herself following her low rent boyfriend, an anonymous goth. She's a child of the streets after all. It's a painful trip of angst. Fist to broken mirror included!!
Avril Lavigne finally caught onto the game she was playing. “Girlfriend” was her knockout cheerleader rant hit and the video is a sticky guilty pleasure. It was once the most viewed video on YouTube and for good reasons. It's easy to make fun of, but that's what we were supposed to do. There's a cute dark haired boy. There's two girls. One who has him and one who “deserves” him. Avril Lavigne is the protagonist and antagonist ala Taylor Swift, “You Belong With Me”. AND, it all takes place at a Golf N Stuff (Family Fun Center).
Goodbye Lullaby (2011)
“What The Hell”
You can argue this song parodies the Avril Lavigne sonic sounds and lyrical content she's made her brand off of. It does, all in a tongue in cheek way. It makes sense that the video follows suit. You see Avril Lavigne being a bad girl, stealing taxi cabs. You can even find her mother making a cameo as a store clerk.
“Rock N Roll”
Say what you want about the visual for “Here's To Never Growing Up”, it was fun, candy coated, and predictable. And, arguably “Hello Kitty” was the worst, but nothing was more middle finger raising about expectations for an Avril Lavigne video then “Rock N Roll”. There's product placement (Can I make it any more obvious?). Cartoon graphics circa the campy Batman in the sixties and some Katy Perry kissing girls action. It has it all and exactly what you would want from Avril Lavigne a decade after her foray into the music industry.