Avril Lavigne is returning to us, at last.
If you didn’t already know – perhaps you’re not a loyal Black Star like moi – she’s been very sick for a long time now.
Oh, were you about to make a rude joke about her absence until learning that? Yes, it does mean you’re a bad person. No, I won’t tell anyone that you’re being insensitive about Avril Lavigne’s condition. (Even if she’s maybe a clone now.)
Yes! She has Lyme Disease. And she’s been quite open about her health for the past few years. But as she’s slowly worked to improve her condition, she’s also been hinting at the fact that she’s been making music for months. And it seems, at last, she’s ready to make her first big move ever since the release of 2013’s self-titled Avril Lavigne, which is actually a fantastic pop album, and if you don’t know or haven’t heard it, you should. Read my review, or remain a fake MuuMuse supporter.
“I’m so excited to finally be able to announce the first single off my new album along with its release date. Five years have gone by since I released my last album. I spent the last few years at home sick fighting Lyme Disease. Those were the worst years of my life as I went through both physical and emotional battles. I was able to turn that fight into music I’m really proud of. I wrote songs in my bed and on the couch and recorded there mostly as well. Words and lyrics that were so true to my experience came pouring out of me effortlessly. Truly…by keeping my spirits up, having goals to reach and a purpose to live for, my music helped to heal me and keep me alive,” she wrote on her website on Thursday (September 6). The graphic design is slightly questionable, but she gets a pass for being busy fighting for her life. I digress.
“Thank you for waiting so patiently as I fought through and still continue to fight, the battle of my lifetime. The first song I am choosing to release is called ‘Head Above Water.’ It is also the first song I wrote from my bed during one of the scariest moments of my life. I had accepted death and could feel my body shutting down. I felt like I was drowning. Like I was going under water and I just needed to come up for air. Like I was in a river being pulled in a current. Unable to breathe. Praying to God for Him to help me just keep my head above the water. To help me see through the stormy weather. I grew closer to Him. My mother held me. In her arms, I wrote the first song that I am releasing to tell my story. I later met a beautiful soul, Travis Clark, and we sat down at the piano and sculpted the rest of the song. Then I took it to the genius, Stephan Moccio and love what he did to the music.”
FYI: Travis is the lead vocalist and songwriter from We The Kings. (Maybe you know “Check Yes Juliet,” or maybe you’re a diehard Kings stan already. I don’t know your life. Just trying to help.) Stephan Moccio has a pretty legendary discography of his own, most iconically co-penning (and providing backing vocals!) on Celine Dion‘s “A New Day Has Come” and co-writing Miley Cyrus‘ “Wrecking Ball.” Not bad at all.
Back to Avril’s letter.
“I have decided to be truthful about my struggle, open and more vulnerable than ever before. And to be honest, part of me doesn’t want to talk about being sick because I want it to all be behind me, but I know I have to. Because not only is it a part of my life, I need to bring awareness to the severity of Lyme Disease. A single bug bite can fuck you up hard. People aren’t aware that Lyme must be treated almost immediately. Often if they are aware, they go untreated simply because they can’t get a Lyme diagnosis! And even when they do get a diagnosis, a lot of times they simply can’t afford the treatment. My Foundation wants to be sure that doesn’t happen as often as it does, so on our website, we’re now providing Lyme prevention resources, and links so you can connect with Lyme Literate doctors (that have learned how to correctly diagnose this disease and provide treatment as quickly as possible). Soon we’ll be announcing an alliance with top scientific teams that will accelerate Lyme research. And we’re about to launch an initiative that YOU can help us with – so that together, we can help more individuals affected by Lyme Disease get the treatment they desperately need to come out the other side of this insidious disease. Please, join us in the fight while I tell the world my story and bring awareness to Lyme Disease. I’m taking my life back into my own hands and doing what it is I know I am meant to be doing in this life time. Making music. And sharing my healing and hope, through my music. I wish for this all to touch you, to bring you strength, to lift you up, to inspire and to encourage you. I want more than ANYTHING to be back up on stage. To be holding my guitars and running around. To sing my heart out and travel around the world to see all of my fans. I will do EVERYTHING I can to get back up on stage, to travel, to sing to you, to work again. But I have to always listen to my body and keep a healthy balance, so please be patient as we go. I wrote and recorded this album and to me this is a victorious moment. A huge accomplishment. I am very proud and thankful to everyone who waited so patiently and lovingly with me to support this process for me. Here. I now have a very strong, triumphant, powerful and true record to me and my experiences over the last few years. My first single is called ‘Head Above Water,’ and it will be here on September 19th. I’m so excited to be returning with new music and to have you on this journey with me. Let’s do this! New era!”
I’m legitimately thrilled for the return of Avril. She’s provided us plenty of fantastic anti-pop pop classics over the past nearly two decades. She is a rebel, “the motherfucking princess,” a Rock Chick™, and the sole founder of the punk movement.
And, clearly, a trooper.
My hope is that “Head Above Water” is completely raw and emotionally devastating, as opposed to a rousing self-empowerment anthem. That might sound awful to say, but let me be clear: Avril’s had some incredible moments when she’s letting us know that everything’s a mess. “Nobody’s Home”? “When You’re Gone”? “I’m With You”?
As nice as it would be to hear that she’s triumphing over her illness – no doubt, there surely will be songs about finding the strength – I’d love to hear her bring on the angst rather than solely providing platitudes, simply because she does it so damn well.
We’ll find out soon enough how she sounds in 2018. We’re with you, Avril!