Avril Lavigne made her highly anticipated return to music a few weeks ago, releasing her first new song in three years with “Head Above Water.” To mark the occasion, Billboard is taking a look back at the evolution of the Canadian singer’s music videos, beginning with her 2002 debut single, all the way through to today.
The singer’s evolution begins with “Complicated,” which introduced Avril Lavigne to the world in the most perfect way: a video that kicks off with her skateboarding with her friends, and when they get bored, she suggests, “Dude, you wanna crash the mall?”
Lavigne and her friends proceed to throw free food samples at a man in a hot dog costume, have an accident with a fishing rod, mockingly try on preppy clothes, and get chased around by a mall cop.
Following that, the singer dropped the iconic “Sk8er Boi,” an epic song that reminds us all to never judge a book by its cover, and the David LaChapelle-directed video for her emotion-packed ballad “I’m With You.”
The year 2003 marked the release of “Losing Grip” and “Mobile,” as well as Lavigne’s cover of “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door.” The next year, “My Happy Ending” and “Nobody’s Home” came out, as did the singer’s cover of the SpongeBob SquarePants theme song for the animated film.
Fast-forwarding to 2007, Lavigne shared the video for the infectiously catchy “Girlfriend,” in which she sabotaged the relationship of a guy she likes and his girlfriend (also played by Lavigne in a red wig), with the singer ultimately winning and the red-headed ex tumbling away in a porta potty at a mini golf course.
In 2008, Lavigne played a punky cheerleader in her video for “The Best Damn Thing” as she ran down a list of things that she hates about a guy, including when he doesn’t get the door, when he doesn’t pick up the tab, and how she hates it when a guy doesn’t understand “why a certain time of month I don’t wanna hold his hand.”
The year 2010’s “Alice” saw the singer sip tea with the Mad Hatter, while 2011’s “What the Hell” featured a cameo from her mother and “Wish You Were Here,” another 2011 release, captured a softer, more vulnerable side of Avril’s.
Later, 2013’s “Here’s to Never Growing Up” alluded to Lavigne’s Let Go beginnings, while “Rock N Roll” continued with the reflective theme as it kicked off with her explaining the concept of “Sk8er Boi” to someone on the phone. What followed was a Tank Girl-inspired saga, featuring a cameo from Billy Zane and a battle with a bearshark, culminating with her chopping off the creature’s head with a saw attached to her guitar.
That same year, she released “Let Me Go” with her then-husband Chad Kroeger, while in 2014 she shared the Kawaii-themed “Hello Kitty” visuals.
“Give You What You Like” and “Fly,” Lavigne’s charity single for the 2015 Special Olympics World Summer Games, were released in 2015, bringing the singer’s music video evolution to 2018’s “Head Above Water,” which powerfully captured her struggle with Lyme disease in a stunning video aiming to raise awareness about the disease.
“From the very first day I started writing this song, I have been inspired and gathering visuals and imagining what the music video could look like,” Lavigne wrote on Instagram upon the video’s release.
“[Director] Elliott Lester not only completely captured my vision, but took this video to an entirely new level,” she continued, “Even when it meant going all the way to Iceland. You are my hero. I loved every moment of working on this video with you.”
You can watch Avril Lavigne’s entire music video evolution below.