I don’t know about the average reader, whether that person accesses content through computer, tablet or smartphone. But, to the best of my knowledge, I do know music.
And in order to stay relevant, an artist has 2 choices: stay the course; or add something new to the mix.
Before Katy Perry, Ke$ha, Miley,Gaga or even Rihanna or Beyoncé, Avril Lavigne had been tearing up charts with her bubblegummy take on alt rock. Even though she has continuously claimed that she is more punk than pop, Avril is a constantly morphing diva, not being afraid to take chances, not caring whether her next joint will sell millions in discs and downloads/sideloads, not worrying how people would perceive her, past, present or future.
All that Avril is about is what Avril can do. She is an entertainer, pure and simple. And at 29, she apparently knows what she wants.
Let’s be fair: from the beginning, Avril Lavigne, along with her contemporaries like FeFe Dobson, Skye Sweetnam and Dayna Manning (who? why not Google her, eh?), never felt obligated to stay within the scope of what I see as “Canadian Woman Rock”. It is a field populated by the likes of Lee Aaron, Darby Mills, Alannah Myles, Alanis Morrissette, Sass Jordan, Kim Richardson and others. Each artist has a unique style and timbre to their performances, but due to their gender, radio programmers and record execs would place them under this umbrella label, mainly for convenience’s sake. Avril is too bratty, to universal to be placed there, partly because she had to go Stateside to receive the proper push for her version of world domination. The rest is history.
Bear in mind that around the time she released “Complicated”, iTunes and YouTube were barely in the picture, so it was the job of MTV and MuchMusic to do the proper pushing. With anything new, contenders sporting the same style and attitude started to pop up.
A case in point: when Nirvana broke out with “Nevermind”, people worldwide started to form similar groups with some local twists (Australia’s Silverchair, UK’s Bush, Canada’s Sloan and hHead). And to be fair, many of them had been playing like that before “Nevermind”, only that Nirvana was dealt the higher hand.
So imagine when Avril came out with “Let Go”, there was an outpouring of similar artists in its wake, most notably Pink’s sudden change of format from pop to pop-rock. It was something new and marketable to kids and tweens at the time. And like grunge, it was a good thing at the time.
But now, just like Toronto’s Queen West scene in the 80s and 90s, Avril’s style of “brat pop” has reached a saturation point. YouTube, Vevo and iTunes make it possible to market one’s self as the next big thing. Younger artists are scrambling on new ways to push the envelope with results ranging from outstanding to highly dubious or disturbing (hello, Baby Metal). What can Avril do to stay relevant and still enjoy what she does doing?
Go freaking dubstep. With a little Harajuku thrown in for good measure.
Avril has a huge following in Japan, so I’m quite sure that she had a quick look at this video for inspiration…
Even though Avril’s latest vid doesn’t go to hallucinogenically bizarro heights, I’ll have to give her credit for taking chances.
Eventually, the interwebs’ mass outpouring of WTF will subside and resume their regular routine of worrying about things that really matter.
Like Justin Bieber.