‘Head Above Water’: Avril Lavigne’s Powerful Comeback Is a Matter of Life & Death

Avril comes up for air.

“I’m too young to fall asleep.”

After years adrift in rough and stormy seas, Avril Lavigne is finally getting a glimpse of home on the horizon.

The 33-year-old singer-songwriter’s certainly gone through it in the five years of (mostly) absence since 2013’s Avril Lavigne, openly struggling with Lyme disease – and nearly dying in the process.

“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,” she wrote to fans.

But, as she also explained, she’s regained strength in recent months, and she’s finally ready to share her story.

The Stephan Moccio and Travis Clark co-penned “Head Above Water” is the first representation of Avril in 2018 – and it packs one hell of a punch.

With production that ebbs and flows in intensity like crashing waves, Avril desperately raises her hand up to the surface on the oceanic power ballad, submitting to a higher power amid complete and utter hopelessness: “God, keep my head above water / Don’t let me drown, it gets harder,” she pleads.

That bridge is especially heartbreaking: “I can’t see in the stormy weather / I can’t seem to keep it all together / And I, I can’t swim the ocean like this forever / And I can’t breathe…

And the line “I’m too young to fall asleep“? Genuine chills.

The song is an earnest and emotional stunner, which isn’t a surprise: Avril’s always done angst well. But “Head Above Water” takes despair and dread to another level, as she legitimately fights for her life in a way that feels real and present. She’s struggling, and the fear and frustrated fury in her voice is palpable.

It’s a relief, too, that the song feels true to Avril. Although she’s been absent from the music scene for years now, the last thing she should worry about is sounding…trendy. This just sounds honest.

“Head Above Water” is a striking way for Avril to make a comeback, and to reassure her loyal fans – the Black Stars! – that she’s not giving up, despite the pain and exhaustion. Her strength is about to inspire many.

“Head Above Water” was released on September 19. (iTunes)

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