It’s no secret that Avril Lavigne has been living with Lyme disease for sometime now. The singer famously took a five-year break from the public eye to look after her health. But now she’s back with a new single and she’s stronger than ever. Her new single “Head Above Water” details how she was feeling at the height of her personal struggle. Avril Lavigne's "Head Above Water" lyrics give you a true sense of her mindset when she was writing it and really speak to anyone who’s ever felt like they couldn’t overcome a difficult situation.
In a statement provided to People, Lavigne explained the inspiration for the song.
“One night, I thought I was dying, and I had accepted that I was going to die. My mom laid with me in bed and held me. I felt like I was drowning,” Lavigne said in her statement. “Under my breath, I prayed ‘God, please help to keep my head above the water.’ In that moment, the song writing of this album began. It was like I tapped into something. It was a very spiritual experience. Lyrics flooded through me from that point on.”
So, the heartfelt lyrics of this song really come from an incredibly personal experience. In the first verse of “Head Above Water,” Lavigne seems to be talking herself through her fear and pain. It’s as though she’s trying to convince herself that she can rise above whatever obstacles are before her:
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
In the chorus, Lavigne infuses the lyrics with her sense of faith and addresses her higher power directly:
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
Here’s a look at the lyric video for “Head Above Water”:
The rest of the song carries that same theme of spirituality as Lavigne continues to address her pleas to God:
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
Perhaps the most moving part of the song is the bridge in which Lavigne suggests life is passing her by, but that she’s “too young to fall asleep”:
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
As a whole, the song is a really emotional cry for help that seems to have been inspired by a very difficult time in Lavigne’s life. It’s almost as if Lavigne had a wake-up call of some kind, especially when you look at the lyrics to the bridge. Maybe that’s the big takeaway from this song: no matter what hardships anyone is going through, it’s important for them to fight for the life they want to live.
That’s exactly what Lavigne did and she’s doing amazing now. So inspiring!