Interpreting Avril Lavigne’s Head Above Water

Like many of you, I also grew up loving Avril Lavigne. Her first album Let Go might’ve been the first album I bought with my own money (or I might’ve shared the cost with Salve).

Five years after we last heard from her, Avril released a new single about fighting Lyme disease. To everyone’s astonishment, it was a testimonial song!

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Like many of you, I also grew up loving Avril Lavigne. Her first album Let Go might’ve been the first album I bought with my own money (or I might’ve shared the cost with Salve).

Five years after we last heard from her, Avril released a new single about fighting Lyme disease. To everyone’s astonishment, it was a testimonial song!

Check out her music video here: https://youtu.be/EKF6ghfcQic

A thousand feels washed over me as I watched her timeless beauty, now dressed all in white carrying a lamp. If this isn’t a depiction of The Parable of the Ten Virgins, then, I don’t know what is!

And as I watched her run towards the cliff, a realization sank into me. A few years ago, when I was new in faith, I was also an Avril.

“From a Skater Girl,” ika nga ng kaibigan ko, “to a God Worshipper.”

Staring at the white clad Avril, I asked God, “Is this what people see in me now? A lady dressed all in white?”

Oh, the transforming grace of God! My filthy past is no match to what Jesus has done on the cross for me. When He died on that wood, He has given me a new freedom that led me to live a new life!

I will never stop declaring that the old has gone and the new has come. And it’s all because God decided to live both man and God here on earth to save a sinner like me.

Now, the beauty about this song is not just about the music video or the amazing vocal prowess of the artist (hats off to you, Avril!), the real beauty is on the song itself.

Remove the artist, remove the glitz and glamor, remove the scenic visual stimuli and you get a raw experience about who God truly is – our Savior.

“Head Above Water”

I’ve gotta keep the calm before the storm
I don’t want less, I don’t want more
Must bar the windows and the doors
To keep me safe, to keep me warm

Yeah my life is what I’m fighting for
Can’t part the sea, can’t reach the shore
And my voice becomes the driving force
I won’t let this pull me overboard

God, keep my head above water
Don’t let me drown, it gets harder
I’ll meet you there at the altar
As I fall down to my knees
Don’t let me drown, drown, drown
Don’t let me, don’t let me, don’t let me drown

So pull me up from down below
‘Cause I’m underneath the undertow
Come dry me off and hold me close
I need you now I need you most

God, keep my head above water
Don’t let me drown, it gets harder
I’ll meet you there at the altar
As I fall down to my knees
Don’t let me drown, drown, drown
(Don’t let me, don’t let me, don’t let me drown)
Don’t let me drown, drown, drown
And keep my head above water
(Don’t let me, don’t let me, don’t let me drown)
Above water

And I can’t see in the stormy weather
I can’t seem to keep it all together
And I can’t swim the ocean like this forever
And I can’t breathe

God, keep my head above water
I lose my breath at the bottom
Come rescue me, I’ll be waiting
I’m too young to fall asleep

God, keep my head above water
Don’t let me drown, it gets harder
I’ll meet you there at the altar
As I fall down to my knees

Don’t let me drown
Don’t let me drown
(Don’t let me, don’t let me, don’t let me drown)
Don’t let me drown
And keep my head above water
(Don’t let me, don’t let me, don’t let me drown)
Above water

The first two stanzas shows our human limitations. It reminds me of my hopelessness. There was just nowhere to go until I found myself crawling back to God. Although I was drowning in my own miseries brought about by my sinful nature, God kept my head above water.

There is this one line in this song that cries deeply into my heart: ‘Cause I’m underneath the undertow

I’m a bona fide 90’s kid who sang to various music genre. Linkin Park’ s Numb is one of the anthems of our generation. One famous line in this song is being caught in the undertow.

Now, when an artist releases their art into the world, their art is now owned by the viewer and it becomes free for the viewer’s interpretation. There’s nothing more resounding meaning to me about the use of undertow than being at a depressing state almost to a point of suicide.

What experiences Avril had as she fights lyme disease, I could never imagine. But I know how it is to be caught up in the undertow. I have drowned various times in my life.

The amazing thing is, the light of God just reflects in this song.

Immediately after this line, we hear Avril sing back:

Come dry me off and hold me close
I need you now I need you most

Oh, what hope God gives to His people! He shall not disappoint. He shall not fail. He shall not waver.

I just really wanted to cry as I shared this song – a testimony of our life story and the saving grace of God Almighty – with one of my favorite artists. It warms me up to share a God experience with Avril where full trust is given to our Creator, to our Abba, to our Father.

God, keep my head above water
I lose my breath at the bottom
Come rescue me, I’ll be waiting
I’m too young to fall asleep

To my readers, remember that God won’t let you drown.

One thought on “Interpreting Avril Lavigne’s Head Above Water

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