The motherfucking princess is in her motherfucking castle.
The princess is Avril Lavigne, who anointed herself on her 2007 No. 1 single “Girlfriend.” The castle — a Tudor home in an illustriously ZIP-coded L.A. neighborhood — is the only thing Lavigne has presided over since a tour that ended in 2014.
A few weeks before the release of “Head Above Water,” her first single in four-and-a-half years, Lavigne sits under the cathedral-high ceiling of her home studio. It is the room where, over the course of her public absence, she recorded much of the album she plans to release in early 2019.
Lavigne’s many songs about partying — and the Jack Daniel’s lawn jockey who greeted me at the door — suggested that we’d wind up drinking whiskey, or at least the rosé her publicist suggested I bring. (Avril Lavigne drinks rosé?) But Lavigne is sipping Emergen-C-spiked electrolyte water, combating seasonal allergies. From her seat on a massive gray sectional (Avril Lavigne owns a sectional?), she reveals that she painted much of the art displayed in the expansive foyer and shows me the pink devotional journal gifted to her by her mother. Under the daily prayers topping each page are guitar tabs and ambitious to-do lists written in Lavigne’s bubbly handwriting: Complete album. Choose single. Shoot video. Dentist.
It’s all just so… grown-up, a categorization Lavigne had given a hard pass to as recently as her last album, 2013’s Avril Lavigne, where she insisted, in Peter Pan bangers like “Seventeen” and “Rock N Roll,” that we “still love it.” (“It” presumably referring to Lavigne’s penchant for lyrics about spontaneous day drinking.) Between then and the September drop of “Head Above Water,” we heard from Lavigne only a handful of times: when she popped up on Good Morning America in summer 2015 to say that she had been diagnosed with Lyme disease, when she got divorced from Nickelback frontman Chad Kroeger later that year and when, in between those dual bummers, Taylor Swift brought her out in San Diego as part of the 1989 World Tour’s parade of admirable women, to perform her then-13-year-old debut single, “Complicated.” Lavigne says that at one point, she thought, Oh, I guess I’m done with making music.