Single Review: Avril Lavigne “Complicated”

Complicated
Album: Let Go
Year: 2002

In the April 2002 issue of Chart Attack , Avril Lavigne’s set her ‘rebel girl’ image in motion. She’s a tomboy and thinks Britney dresses “like a showgirl” Also, she’s herself and someone whose a real musician.

From a public relations point of view, she wants to appeal to the older ‘tweens who have recently outgrown of Britney Spears’ music and are approaching their angsty years. By claiming to be herself, she is also separating her music from the manufactured pop of 1997 through 2001. Saying she writes her own music and plays the guitar reinforces the image.

But it’s an image Avril’s trying to create. Like Britney, she’s manufactured, too. The writing credits for her first single, “Complicated” read: “by Avril Lavigne and the Matrix”, which includes several co-writers. Pop’s still around. It’s just in a different form – rock.

“Complicated” explores high school politics, a topic not usually found in teen pop. Lavigne sings about a friend who acts like a rebel around her and a preppy around other people. Lavigne calls him on it in the bridge: “you tryin’ to be cool/you like a fool to me.” In the chorus, she then tells him “why do you have make things so complicated/actin’ like you’re somebody else/ gets me frustrated.”

While “Complicated” gets bonus points for being a realistic pop song, it fails musically. It trudges along to a safe rock beat. It opens with the fluffy intro: “life’s like this/uh uh/that’s the way it is,” which just fills time. About 30 seconds later, the song finally begins. However, it’s lite rock throughout. It neither rock nor rolls. Lavigne is laid-back in her delivery of the lyrics. Although during the second verse, she seems bossy instead of mature. However, that’s a minor quibble.

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