#alternateuniversealbum is a feature in which we get people to tell us which album they’d choose if they had to leave earth today and go to a brand new universe empty of our music. Would they choose something to comfort themselves or would they choose something to help whatever may live or come to live in this new universe.
Let Go – Avril Lavigne
When Sam asked me about one album I’d take away from our planet, the answer was easy I like to think I’m pretty level-headed when it comes to fangirling bands and artists (if there ever was a level-headed fangirl), but Avril Lavigne’s Let Go took my breath away for one extremely long moment…all through middle school. I talked like her (yeah, I had a Canadian accent), wore ties, and basically suggested that Happy Ending should play at our grade 5 graduation ceremony. Completely inappropriate, absolutely embarrassing in hindsight and completely understandable why it wasn’t taken up in the end, but I think it’s cute to look back and see just how pathetically addicted to that eyeliner-abusing, skater-chilling girl I was. Let’s sk8 through the album now, track by track:
1. Losing Grip – Starting the album off with a bang. So many issues of teenage angst here! Fear of abandonment, finger-pointing blame, dreaming of what used to be…basically a very angry chick hating on a guy she used to have better times with.
Best line: ‘You weren’t there when I was scared, I was so alone’. Don’t you just want to hug her?
2. Complicated – Her first music video, the song that caught everyone’s attention. There’s sensitivity mixed in with Avril’s crooning tomboy voice; she’s a different kind of girl, she won’t force you to go shopping with her, she wants you to be yourself, she just wants to hang and be cool and skate! Not going to lie, if I was a teenage boy at her highschool, I’d have asked her out to prom.
Best line: ‘Chill out, what you yelling for?’ I said this once to my mom. She wasn’t pleased.
3. Sk8er Boi – I like to think this song is the cooler older sister of Taylor Swift’s Love Story. It has kind of simple lyrics (but oh, they rhyme so nice) but the narrative is short and sweet. A talented skater boy overlooked by some pretty stuck-up girl, who then is discovered by the soul-seeker that Avril is, and they become lovers.
Best line: ‘We are more than just good friends, this is how the story ends’. In your face, BOOM. This line always makes me emotional for some reason.
4. I’m With You – A slow song! Avril is sensitive too! And we’re back to the teenage angst theme: It’s cold outside, she sees no one around her, she’s figuring life out, and she’s willing to follow anyone if they just lead the way. Endearing if she meant it metaphorically. Worrying if she meant it literally.
Best line: ‘Don’t know who you are, but I’m with you’. Lesson learned: don’t just follow strangers.
5. Mobile – Here Avril’s singing about always leaving home, the packing, and not being able to say exactly when she’ll be back. Biographically, at this point in her life, everything was escalating pretty quickly. She was signed to Arista records, recording with some great producers. From a small-town girl, she was doing pretty incredible things.
Best line: ‘Everything’s changing when I turn around’ – yeah that’s how I feel about the weather in Edinburgh.
6. Unwanted – This is the ‘hardcore track’, and incidentally my least favourite. So much heavy guitar! So much suspense! She’s the bad girl here. This time she sings about being, well, unwanted, about some a**hole who used her and walked over her.
Best lines: ‘You don’t know me, don’t ignore me’ ‘I just don’t understand why you won’t talk to me it hurts’. You tell him, sister.
7. Tomorrow – This is a sweet melody, something slower and sweeter and the perfect calm after the storm of ‘Unwanted’.
Best line: ‘Maybe tomorrow’. Sums up my procrastination spirit during exam revision time.
8. Anything But Ordinary – I have to admit this song appeals to me the most after all these years. It’s very earnest, about being unique and sticking to your own personality. The catchy tune helps but is easily over-listened to, so beware of the repeat button. But in good doses, it’s the perfect inspiration song for the mornings, or just whenever you need a boost in spirit.
Best line: ‘To walk between the lines would make my life so boring. I want to know that I have been to the extreme’. If I ever write an autobiography, this will be the quote at the beginning of the book.
9. Things I’ll Never Say – Almost sounds like part two to Mobile. Continuing her image as the skater-girl next door, here is Avril vulnerable with a huge crush on this boy…to the point where she wants him to propose then and there. Wishful, cute, but a little unrealistic. But all the emotions, stated in such simple phrases, are relatable. We’ve all been there…
Best line: ‘Cause I’m feeling nervous, trying to be so perfect, because I know you’re worth it’
10. My World – Autobiographical, this is about how she grew up in a small town, had way too much time to straighten her hair. Just a little cheese in between all the buns of the album burger.
Best line: None that I can pick out. Everything’s quite colloquial, nothing that really stands out dramatically.
11. Nobody’s Fool – Only love for this song. Avril’s kind of talking, kind of cute-rapping. And everybody loves a cute rap, right? She’s singing about a boy (again…I seriously hope it isn’t the same douche throughout this whole album) who is trying to bend her into someone else, and about her maturing quicker than him. #pubertyproblems
Best line: ‘If you’re trying to turn me into something else, I’ve seen enough and I’m over that’. I like this a lot. It’s the best philosophy for life in general.
12. Too Much to Ask – And I have to say, I don’t think all the mulling-over-boys-problems Avril did throughout this album seems too healthy. Here she’s sad about a boy who she probably had a zing with, but who’s too high to notice her through all the ‘smoke that needs to clear’.
Best line: ‘It’s funny when you think it’s gonna work out, ‘til you chose weed over me, you’re so lame’.
13. Naked – This track starts off very grungy, almost depressing with some wonky riffs in the background. But once you get to the bridge, it’s tender. Almost like a mixture of the entire album. A cliff-hanger, scandalously titled, but deeply rooted in who she is as a girl.
Best line: ‘I guess I’ve never had someone like you to help me fit in my skin’. This is definitely an optimistic place to leave off. It’s Avril finding hope, a light, someone. And it’s almost the last time you hear her in earnest.
Victoria Jin is a student at Edinburgh University. She studies History of Art. She’s also the Editor-in-Chief of fashion and youth publication: KNEON Magazine. Whilst balancing essays and presentations with editorials and features, Victoria enjoys listening to Joy Division, hitting up karaoke bars and spending time with her pet rabbit: Snoopy.
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