New Music Fridays: Celebrating the Anniversaries of “Complicated” and “good 4 u”

 Olivia Rodrigo’s single “good 4 u,” off her Grammy-winning album “SOUR,” turns one year old this Saturday. The lively, pop rock breakup song gave a voice to this generation. But Olivia’s not the only one we’re here to celebrate today – Avril Lavigne’s iconic ballad “Complicated” was released on the same day, nineteen years apart. 

Anyone familiar with the artists knows that these two are the pop rock queens of their generations. It’s no mistake that their respective breakup anthems were released on the same day.

 Kicking the playlist off with some Y2K-era emo hits, we’ve got Avril’s Lavigne’s “Complicated” (of course) to set the mood. If you love Avril, there’s no way you don’t love Paramore. Their song “All I Wanted” is a cathartic scream of emotion. It’s hard not to get hooked on Hayley Williams’s out-of-this-world vocals. Speaking of undeniable vocal powerhouses, P!nk’s classic “Just Like a Pill” proves to be the perfect follow-up. The lyrics describe the difficult and complex emotions that accompany the end of a toxic relationship, which P!nk delivers effortlessly. 

Avril Lavigne, being the emo it-girl of the 2000s, has so many hits that it’d be a crime to only include “Complicated.” Her 2007 classic “Keep Holding On” is a slower-paced song that’ll carry you through all your darkest moments.  It’ll give you that little burst of energy you need to overcome any obstacle. 

If you’re still down in the dumps, don’t worry: Miley Cyrus knows exactly what you’re going through. “Angels Like You,” off her 2020 album “Plastic Hearts,” is a heartfelt admission of guilt: lyrics like “it’s not your fault I ruin everything/and it’s not your fault I can’t be what you need” will strike you at your core. 

The sixth song on our playlist is Billie Eilish’s “Happier Than Ever,” off her latest album of the same name. Its soft beginning lulls you into a false sense of security, while the second half is an explosion, a release of pent-up resentment that’ll jolt you awake. King Princess’s “Ohio” is similar in that way; it’s a delicious slow burn that eventually leaves you breathless. A noisy contemplation of a messy breakup, King Princess’s repeated question – “is it me or is it you?” – makes the song as relatable as it is catchy. 

Next up is, of course, “good 4 u.” Coming in at 1.4 billion Spotify listens, Rodrigo’s pop rock single is still as great as it was one year ago. Its subdued vocals and instrumentals slowly move from subdued to a barely contained burst of anger; anyone who listens is moved to scream the lyrics. There’s a reason everyone has it on repeat! Following it up is another bop from Miley Cyrus: “Plastic Hearts.” Its perfectly scratchy guitar solo matches Cyrus’s gritty, rockstar vocals. What better song to keep that vibe going than “Misery Business”? It’s a jam that demands to be rocked out to, and how could you refuse? Paramore’s most popular song, it came out in 2007, and it’s still stuck in my head from all those times I sang it in Rock Band 4. That should tell you everything you need to know.

If you’re looking for something a bit more recent, Beach Bunny’s 2020 song “Good Girls (Don’t Get Used)” is for you. It’s fun, upbeat pop rock that laments the frustrating confusion that comes from receiving mixed signals. Olivia Rodrigo fans, welcome to your new favorite band. Speaking of Olivia, the opening track off “SOUR,” “brutal,” is next on the playlist. Another undoubtable hit, “brutal” starts and ends with a bang. Similarly fast-paced is bülow’s “Revolver,” perfect for all your femme-fatale needs. Want to feel insanely cool? Listen to this. Thank me later. It might get stuck in a loop in your head, but you won’t complain. 

Coming in at number 14, we’ve got the breakup song of the last two decades. A bold statement, sure, but I can’t think of a single person who’s listened to Aly & AJ’s “Potential Breakup Song” and didn’t love it, so I stand by that. It’s pretty hard to follow “Potential Breakup Song,” but Emma Blackery does a pretty good job of it. “Sucks to Be You” is a great song for packing your bags and moving on. After all that difficulty, you’re finally in a better place: what’s wrong with bragging a bit? Blackery’s not the only one that gets it; Hey Violet understands the sentiment perfectly. “This is Me Breaking Up With You” breezily explores the happy, relieved side of a breakup. It’ll uplift you in no time. 

Since this playlist is partially dedicated to Avril Lavigne, it seemed fitting to include some of her new stuff, to see her journey come full circle. “Bite Me” is the most popular song off her newest album, “Love Sux” (which, coincidentally, was released 20 years after her first album, “Let Go”). “Bite Me” proves she’s still got it, as she returns to her roots and delivers some emo rock fun. 

WILLOW’s high-energy song “¡BREAKOUT!” is next on the list, and you’re bound to love it. If she wasn’t already, this song cements her position as one of Gen Z’s most influential rockstars. Want to go wild and break things? Play this. 

If you’re a fan of Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, chances are you know – and love – what’s coming next. “Black Sheep” by Brie Larson and Metric has great instrumentals that you’ll appreciate even if you haven’t seen the movie.  

To cap it all off, carolesdaughter’s “Target Practice” gives us all the teen angst we’ve been craving. After rising to popularity from her single “Violent,” carolesdaughter’s new album proves that she’s got a lot more to offer. “Target Practice” secures her positions as one of this generation’s alt queens. 

You can listen to the playlist here. 

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