20 Years ago I bought my first album… and it was Avril Lavigne’s debut masterpiece ‘Let Go’

It was June 2002; the live-action Scooby Doo Movie was about to come out, my sisters were obsessed with Rapunzel Barbie, and I just started collecting Yu-Gi-Oh cards. I was eight years old, I was growing up in New Zealand, and I had already fallen in love with music, and knew somewhere deep down that my life was always going to revolve around it. 

To-that-date my mum had heavily influenced the music that me and my two younger sisters were listening to. Our musical diet consisted of Britney Spears, The Vengaboys, Carole King, Fleetwood Mac and Shania Twain to name a few. So it was a little all of the place. But over the weekends I would religiously watch Top Of The Pops and the C4 music channel, and was discovering artists on my own that I’d later fall in love with like No Doubt, Anastacia, Kelly Clarkson, Shakira and P!nk. And one of those artists was Avril Lavigne. She was the cool skater girl that made angsty pop-rock music that was a little rebellious, but still mainstream, so it was okay for an eight year old to listen to. Something about her immediately connected with me, and her early singles ‘Complicated’ and ‘Sk8er Boi’ were instant favourites that I knew I needed more.

I saved my pocket money and one day walked down to the local music store with my dad and bought Avril’s debut album ‘Let Go’ on cassette. Yes.. you read that correctly… cassette. It was at the end of the cassette era, but my boombox in my bedroom and my mum’s car didn’t have a CD option yet, so I just bought the tape so I could play it everywhere. It actually became the only cassette I ever owned, as I very soon after that upgraded to a CD player combo and bought CD’s from the likes of Kelly Clarkson, Guy Sebastian, Gwen Stefani, Christina Aguilera, The Black Eyed Peas, and obviously the So Fresh seasonal CD’s. Now spanning over 600 cd’s my collection is a varied selection, that probably deserves it’s own deep dive article one day. 

It’s now 2022 and Avril Lavigne is celebrating the 20 year anniversary of that debut album, and I’m simultaneously celebrating the anniversary of the first album I bought, and the album that started my music obsession. Listening back to the record now, it’s still as engaging, honest, raw, and infectiously catchy as it was the first time you heard it. The hits are mammoth (‘Complicated’, ‘Sk8er Boi, ‘I’m With You’), but the rest of the album also still holds itself at a high regard. 

‘My World’ was always my absolute favourite from that album. There was just something about the guitar driven pop track that I just resonated with. The whole song is about daydreaming and growing up in a small town, and that was my reality. I was living in my world, and dreaming of the life I would someday hopefully have. Or maybe I just liked the fact I could get away with singing “ass” in a song, and I felt so badass doing it. ‘Mobile’ was another standout for me, and is still one of my fave Avril songs to this date. That chorus is SO catchy! And then you had ‘Unwanted’ which was the melodramatic angsty moment, that had me living my dramatic eight year old fantasy and wanting to throw things around my bedroom.

‘Let Go’ is an album I still listen to now as a 28 year old, and can’t fault. So many songs hold a special place in my heart, and this record along with ‘The Best Damn Thing’ and her recently released ‘Love Sux’ are my top 3 Avril albums. (‘Under My Skin’ is a close fourth for anyone playing along at home). To celebrate the anniversary Avril has re-released the album with a bunch of rarities, along with her version of Kelly Clarkson’s smash hit ‘Breakaway’ that I apparently had no idea she wrote. (Listen to it HERE). And honestly this album is such an important piece of pop history, and for any 90’s and 2000’s kid this record definitely soundtracked a moment in your life like it did with mine.

‘Let Go (20th Anniversary Edition)’ is out now!