Remember Girlfriend by Avril Lavigne?
“Hey! Hey! You! You!
I don’t like your girlfriend!
No way! No way!
I think you need a new one
Hey! Hey! You! You!
I could be your girlfriend”
Critics called it shallow, bratty, obsessive, bitchy, vindictive and obnoxious. She used to be a punk rocker, now she’s singing pop about stealing people’s boyfriends?
Defenders said it was satirical. Of course Avril Lavigne isn’t saying it’s okay to steal someone’s boyfriend because you think you’re better and hotter. It’s bratty on purpose because she’s just making fun of it all.
I propose that neither is correct and Avril has outsmarted us all. Girlfriend is secretly a continuation of Sk8er Boi, one of her earliest hits. Hear me out.
Sk8er Boi tells the story of a boy and a girl (can I make it any more obvious? 😉 ), but despite being interested in each other the girl rebukes him out of prejudice for his punkish clothing and demeanour. Stuck up her nose, he wasn’t good enough for her (okay I’ll stop doing that). Five years later (specifically five, keep this in mind), he becomes a famous star and is dating the narrator of the story. “Sorry girl but you missed out” … “There is more than meets the eye, I see the soul that is inside”
This is where Girlfriend comes in. Yes, it’s deliberately bratty and obnoxious, because it’s what ballet-girl-5-years-from-now rants to skater boy in a fit of obsessive jealousy. Sk8er Boi told the events from one girl’s point of view (its narrator who ended up with the guy), while Girlfriend tells it from the other girl’s perspective (the one who missed out).
“She’s like so whatever,
you could do so much better”…
“I’m the motherfucking princess”…
Who on Earth says this? Only someone in the most fragile state of mind who has realised what she has missed out on, and has just snapped.
“I know that you like me”…
“I can tell you like me too and you know I’m right”…
“Even when you look away I know you think of me”…
Why does she keeps repeating this point? To reassure herself, because she is completely delusional. In her mind she thinks (i.e. wishes) that the guy still likes her. In the music video we see her stalking the couple around various places and her fantasies of what she wants to happen there. She harasses and humiliates the girlfriend in public and he is excited and immediately falls for her?
What the hell Obviously outlandish. In reality she is just arrested (the sirens at the end of Sk8er Boi).
All in all, Girlfriend is not an anthem of shallow boyfriend stealers, nor a satire. Avril is just in-character like she was in Sk8er Boi because it’s actually set within the same storyline. It’s a declaration from an obsessive stalker from the past. Changes the meaning of the song once you know, doesn’t it?
After all, Girlfriend was released FIVE YEARS after Sk8er Boi. That’s right, a sequel in real-time.