Fact: Avril Lavigne‘s stubbornly juvenile summer anthem “Here’s To Never Growing Up” is one of the most infuriatingly catchy pop songs of the year. Another fact: Last night, the mallrat songstress took the stage at Los Angeles’ Viper Room for an intimate set, where she premiered a new song from her upcoming studio album (due out in September) that isn’t just as good as that single — it might be better! Wistful and nostalgic and gloriously emotional and why can’t it just go on forever?
In video from the performance, she introduces the new song, titled “17″ (or maybe “Seventeen” — which would be better? Probably “17,” right?) in the most quintessentially Avril way imaginable: “I wrote this song about — duh! — being seventeen. That’s pretty much it.” Oh, Avril. Never change.
Here are the five best things about the song:
1. The production. Something about guitars and pulsating percussion makes us feel like our heart is collapsing in our chest in the best way possible.
2. The opening lyric: “He was working at the record shop / I would kiss him in the parking lot / Tasted like cigarettes and soda pop / Seventeen.” This lyric belongs to the “Take off all your preppy clothes” school of ingeniously evocative details; it says so much in so little and gives us lots of feelings.
3. The chorus melody. It’s big and sad and it’s going to be stuck in our heads forever.
4. The chorus lyric: “We were living so wild and free.” Like the opening chorus lyric, this is nostalgia rendered perfectly.
5. The fact that Avril is still refusing to grow up. There was a part of us that was concerned that “Here’s To Never Growing Up” functioned as more symbolic tribute to Avril’s perpetual adolescence than an actual representation of her artistic direction, but “17″ turns the petulance of that single on its head, making the sentiment less about flipping a middle finger to the world and more about a lingering sadness over the irretrievability of the past. This isn’t anything new, but as marvelously effective as the present tense can be (“You make me feel like I’m living a teenage dream” / “Tonight let’s get some and live while we’re young” / “I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling 22″) it’ll never pack quite the punch of the backwards-looking song, the song about the youth to which you can never return. “17″ is one of those songs.
Watch her perform it up top, and pray that it gets a single release sooner rather than later.
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