But instead of emulating her sound, Soccer Mommy, who delivers soft-spoken stories over lo-fi production, and Snail Mail, who focuses on more layered and uptempo rock (her debut album Lush is out June 8), both draw upon Lavigne’s power as a songwriter, guitarist and, perhaps most importantly, an outspoken female artist. Above all, Lavigne has always been unapologetic about her approach to pop -- an inspiring stance for these two young artists, even if they aren’t aiming for Top 40 radio.
Allison and Jordan are especially outspoken on matters of gender. “The ruled-by-men genres are lame as fuck,” Allison says, citing how she subconsciously gravitated towards music by women growing up, and still prefers it.
Similarly, Jordan confesses, “I’ve become such an interview hot-head, where whenever I’m asked certain things I just get so pissed off it’s insane. I won’t outwardly express it, but a little piece of me dies every time someone is like, ‘What’s it like to be a girl?’”
Lavigne might have best answered that question years ago by not answering it at all. Her music videos made clear that she could be one of the guys; the intro to “Complicated” shows Lavigne skating up to her circle of male friends and suggesting, “Dude, you wanna crash a mall?” Yet she was still vulnerable to the woes of being a teenage girl, namely feeling crushed by crushes -- best evidenced when she punches a mirror after a breakup in the video for “Don’t Tell Me.”
From the start, Lavigne established herself as a voice of empowerment for teenage girls, proving that you can dress, act, and most importantly feel however you want, and that those instincts are all valid. On “Complicated,” she encourages authenticity by dismissing poserdom: “I see the way you're acting like you're somebody else gets me frustrated.” On Let Go’s “Anything But Ordinary” she admits, “Sometimes I get so weird, I even freak myself out.”
And she hasn’t abandoned her critical message of being yourself, and not apologizing for it, since the start of her career. In 2008, during a concert in Washington D.C., she introduced “Don’t Tell Me” by saying, “[This song] is all about being strong and standing up for yourself.” In 2011, she told Parade that the theme of empowerment in her music was never calculated, but remains a constant: “My message has always been to be yourself and follow your dreams and don’t let anyone push you around.”
In February, Lavigne attended Bebe Rexha’s Women In Harmony dinner that aimed to unite (and potentially spark collaborations) among women artists and songwriters. At the event, Lavigne told Billboard that gatherings of that nature didn’t exist when she first got signed. “It’s just encouraging to be around other women in music in general and songwriters,” she said. “It’s inspiring for everyone.”