How Avril Lavigne Made Chad Kroeger Palatable In Three Easy Steps
This Thanksgiving, it’s Avril’s world, and we’re just writing about it. After winning our Pop Star Poll earlier this month on who should take over the site this holiday, we now bring you all that is Lavigne.
When the world learned that Avril Lavigne was engaged to Chad Kroeger back in 2012, people old enough to remember the morass that was early aughts pop radio let out a collective snicker. For one thing, it brought the increasingly (mercifully) irrelevant Nickelback back into the national consciousness for a brief moment. Which was bad enough, but many assumed the Canadian butt-rockers would use the opportunity to launch a media blitz reminding everyone of “How You Remind Me,” the reanimated specter of Nickelback glomming onto Avril’s legacy and forever tainting the sing-and-shout memories we had from songs like “Girlfriend” or “Complicated.” After 2011’s Goodbye Lullaby failed to produce any top 10 singles, it was even plausible that Avril herself would be overshadowed by her corporate rock beau.
But in fact, the fallout from the Lavigne-Kroeger union has been quite pleasant! If anything, seeing Lavigne next to her decade-older partner only made her seem reinvigorated and more in touch with her inner sk8r girl (which may have contributed to the preserved-in-amber Avril of Avril Lavigne). There was no Nickelback rebirth, and the mere association with Lavigne has, against all odds, made Kroeger palatable to those who spent years giddily shunning him (myself included).
Here’s how Avril transformed the most air-quote-worthy “rock” star of this generation into a tolerable character in her endearing pop narrative.
Step 1: She did her butt-rockstar husband’s landmark song better than he did it. The first salvo came when Avril covered her husband’s band’s breakout hit, “How You Remind Me.” That execrable anthem for an army of cargo pants-wearing goons was stripped down to a spare piano ballad. Now that the lyrics were emancipated from all the clunky power chords, and the chorus was freed from Kroeger’s croaking goatee hole, it showed itself to be an evocative, impressively melodic song. God, I can’t believe I’m saying this. Damn you, Avril!
Step 2: She revealed that her butt-rockstar husband does not, in fact, have a tribal tattoo. Avril made Chad get his first tattoo. This is a very cool thing to do, because she’s the spunky young half of the couple. The important takeaway, though, is that this was his first tattoo. This is important because everyone on Earth had already assumed Chad Kroeger was rocking a barbed wire bicep tat or tribal armband from 1999, since he used to look like this:
Step 3: She gave her butt-rockstar husband about 30 seconds in the spotlight on their duet. The final step in Chad’s metamorphosis was the husband-wife duet “Let Me Go,” off Avril’s just-released self-titled album. Some Avril fans were disappointed by the song’s blandness, but as I pointed out in that initial writeup, I thought it was an impressive exercise in restraint. It wasn’t some treacly love song, and like a lion tamer, Lavigne managed to quiet Kroeger’s ramanah growls, an alpha dog making him submit to her command.
And, voila! That’s how a punky pop star took post-grunge’s mook mascot and reentered him into society. Sure, Lavigne’s association with Kroeger will never right the wrongs of “Photograph,” but at least now the mere mention of his name, the mere sight of that anachronistic facial hair, brings to mind not his improbable string of L.C.D.-rock hits, but his adorable spark plug of a wife. (And don’t worry, Kings of Leon are doing their best to take up the butt-rock mantle in his stead.)
Really, the only unsavory consequence from the greatest love story in pop music history is the “Chavril” moniker. All things considered, that’s not a terrible outcome!