By Maristela Romero

The mid-2000s teen icon returns to the music industry with a song titled “Head Above Water,” revealing her spiritual experience as she struggled through years of fighting Lyme disease.

Avril Lavigne was diagnosed with the illness in 2014, which kept her from the spotlight and prevented her from releasing a new album for the last five years.

The piano ballad tells her story of how she came close to death and turned to prayer for comfort.

“I felt like I was drowning. Under my breath, I prayed, ‘God, please help to keep my head above the water,’” Lavigne told Vogue. “In that moment, the songwriting of this album began. It was like I was tapped into something…”

“Head Above Water” builds momentum as Lavigne sings about being spiritually saved through trying times, “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.”

The new single’s spiritual turn is on a different spectrum from her previous songs like “Complicated,” “Sk8ter Boi” and “When You’re Gone,” which took her to fame during the punk rock era of the 2000s. Lavigne’s music shaped a generation of angsty teenagers who continue to bop to her hits as young adults.

She acknowledges the different tone that she undertook “in the spirit of rebirth that will play out” in her upcoming album, according to her interview with Vogue.

The singer has also begun advocating for Lyme disease awareness and will be donating proceeds from her charitable “Head Above Water” T-shirts to The Avril Lavigne Foundation, which provides funding and education for its beneficiaries.

Featured Photo Credit: Courtesy of Avril Lavigne’s Facebook page.

Maristela Romero is a sophomore journalism and public health science major and can be reached at romero.maristela@gmail.com.

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