If you're a younger millennial, you probably remember going to school sometime in the 2000s and seeing your classmate in a fingerless arm sock, just like Avril Lavigne in the “Complicated” video. Maybe that person was you. Maybe you also wore a black tie with a white vest and carried a skateboard. Maybe a few years later you dyed your hair orange and straightened it to resemble every emo's teen crush, Hayley Williams.
The angsty, poppy punk of the 2000s is viewed as a relic now – belonging in the same nostalgic memory box as the MTV2 channel and Limewire. That said, the sound and style of these bands aren't totally dead. Last month, when Olivia Rodrigo – Disney star turned pop star – released her debut album SOUR, listeners in their teens and late 20s united in their joint appreciation of some pummelling drums and post-break up revenge lyrics (for context: Avril Lavigne’s debut single was released a year before Olivia was born).
Still, just because “good 4 u” sounds like Paramore meets Avril Lavigne meets The Pretty Reckless or whatever else we were blasting out ten to 20 years ago, doesn't mean that Olivia's teen fans are going to be just as into those old tracks as they are each track on SOUR. Or maybe they are? To find out, we asked a bunch of them to review some old favourites.
Paramore – “Misery Business”
“This song is an absolute banger. From Hayley Williams’ vocals to the guitar solo towards the end, this song is definitely not getting out of my head anytime soon. This would be literal perfection were it not for the blatant slut-shaming in the second verse (“once a whore, you’re nothing more”). That line left a sour taste in my mouth because I think you can definitely convey your frustration at another girl without being misogynistic (which I feel like Olivia Rodrigo masters on SOUR). Bar that lyric, I really like the song and I can definitely imagine myself singing it into a hairbrush.” – Rochelle, 17
“It is very apparent that Olivia Rodrigo did take inspiration from Paramore’s song. ‘Misery Business’ fits the early 2000s aesthetic and music style and Olivia has put her own twist on it in order to fit the music of this decade.” – Danielle, 19
Avril Lavigne – “My Happy Ending”
“I do love Avril Lavigne so I recognise this song too. The band Pale Waves' songs on their recent album are very influenced by Avril and this song magnified that. I think it would definitely be a viral break up TikTok sound if it was released today. The vibe of the song ‘good 4 u’ is reminiscent of this song.” – Eve, 16
“There’s something about this song that just feels underwhelming but I can’t quite put my finger on it. The tune starts off strong but I don’t feel like the melody does justice to the feelings of heartbreak and betrayal that Lavigne is singing about. The more I listened to this song, the more it began to grow on me but I definitely prefer tunes that are more upbeat like ‘Girlfriend.’ The song is catchy and you can’t fault Lavigne’s vocals but it reminds me more of the kind of soft rock I used to listen to when I would watch Hannah Montana as opposed to the song being a proper headbanger.” – Rochelle.
“Avril Lavigne’s music is iconic and makes you want to thrash around your room pretending your heart is broken. When I first heard ‘Good 4 U’ by Olivia Rodrigo, my mind instantly thought of Avril Lavigne and I tried to imagine how Lavigne would have made this song back in the 2000s.” – Daniella
The Pretty Reckless – “Make We Wanna Die”
“I LOVE this song. I used to listen to it in my bedroom when I was, like, ten and be in awe of how cool Taylor Momsen is. It’s another song where a young woman is feeling not good enough. One of the lyrics says ‘You make me wanna die, I’ll never be good enough’ and Olivia has a lyric that says ‘Cause all I ever wanted was to be enough.’ Even though these songs are released ten years apart and are different genres, there is still a similar relatable theme about young women feeling inadequate.” – Eve
“Christ this song is depressing. Or at least the chorus is. The lyrics are super intense but I do like how poetic they are. The intro is excellent and I appreciate the contrast between the softness of the female lead singer’s voice in the bridge and the intensity of the chorus. The instruments in the background make the song sound a bit emo to me, which I don’t mind. To be honest, the combination of instruments just sounds very vampire-y, but I actually quite like it (when I’m ignoring how dark the lyrics are). This just feels like the kind of song you would hear in Twilight or if Netflix commissioned a series where Dracula was a teenage girl.” – Rochelle
Good Charlotte – “Girls & Boys”
“I’m not going to lie, this song sounds like an article on r/niceguys turned into a pop punk song. If you didn’t know what this song sounded like you could imagine it as a sad boy rap song that teen boys in 2021 listen to when they get rejected by a girl. I can understand why people listen to it because the sound is fun. But it’s a bit too ‘why don’t women like me it’s not because my terrible personality it’s because I have no money and they are materialistic bitches’ for my liking. I am probably reading into it too much.” – Eve
“The first time I listened to this, I felt like that one meme of that white lady staring at maths calculation in front of her in complete confusion. This song just feels so random I don’t even know where to begin. The percussion instruments in the background remind me of the 80s?? The lyrics are super repetitive and just not very interesting to me. The song’s one saving grace is the guitar solo in the middle of the song, which is pretty good. The song is upbeat, but overall it just felt bland, I don’t really understand what the appeal is meant to be.” – Rochelle
“Interesting to see a boy’s perspective on male-female relationships and the idea that girls use boys for their money… This may have been true in the 2000s, but I don’t think it is true now. Rodrigo’s album shows this through the heartbreak that appears throughout the songs on SOUR. The composition of the song definitely screams the 2000s era.” Daniella
Fall Out Boy – “Thnks fr th Mmrs”
“This is a fun song and also a good break-up rage song. I was more of a My Chemical Romance kid so I don’t have any strong opinions on Fall Out Boy, haha. It doesn’t sound like anything that would be released or popular today.” – Eve
“See now these guys *understood* the assignment. From the very start of the song I knew this was going to be an absolute tune. I just think that all the best songs have a strong string section in the intro (see: ‘Toxic’ by Britney Spears, ‘Brutal’ by Olivia Rodrigo). This has my favourite use of instruments by far: the drums, guitar and strings (combined with the lyrics) come together to make a song that feels super dramatic, but in the best way possible. It reminds me a lot of ‘I Write Sins not Tragedies’ which is really the best compliment I can pay to any song. The song is really catchy and a proper headbanger so I’ve not got a bad word to say about it.” – Rochelle.