A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this music.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that all the songs on Let Go, Avril Lavigne's 2002 pop-rock debut album, are clean but emotionally edgy and often dark. There is just one drug mention ("weed"), and it's negative. Lavigne was just 17 when the album was released and became an international smash, selling more than 18 million copies and producing two major hits: "Complicated" (in which the boy she likes acts differently when he's around others) and the punky "Sk8ter Boy" (in which a boy she rejected because she didn't think he was good enough for her, goes on to fame as a skateboarder).
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Seventeen-year-old Canadian singer tops the charts all over the world with stirring ballads and catchy rock tunes dealing with teenage angst and problematic relationships with boys. At a time when youthful groups such as the Backstreet Boys and 'N Sync were still topping the charts with shallow, generic fluff, the girl from small-town Ontario, Canada, offered her mostly teen female audience something deeper and a bit darker: more than a dozen confessional songs (co-written with professional writers and producers) about relationship woes, loneliness, insecurity, confusion, self-discovery, and perseverance.
Is it any good?
Nearly every song has a catchy hook, and several tunes powerfully blend layers of electric guitars with more calming acoustic textures. Lavigne has a way of expressing herself simply and directly that makes her songs easy to relate to. She's a solid singer, and the music ranges from guitar-heavy crunch-rock to delicate, nicely rendered ballads. "Complicated" is a bona fide classic, but there are other strong tunes, too, such as the punky hit "Sk8er Boi," the infectious, clearly autobiographical "My World," and "Anything But Ordinary," which begins with this common teen sentiment: "Sometimes I get so weird /I even freak myself out."
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about why Avril Lavigne's songs appeal so much to teenagers. It it the subject matter or the catchy tunes?
Do you think these songs, written when Avril Lavigne was 15 and 16 years old, are still as meaningful to her now that she is in her late 20s?
What other art forms, besides songwriting, are valuable for expressing your feelings?