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Meaning of ‘Give You What You Like’ by ‘Avril Lavigne’

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Released: 2013

Avril Lavigne’s “Give You What You Like” is a brooding ballad about a complex and murky relationship, laced with the recurring themes of longing, compromise, and the hopeful quest for love. The lyrics narrate a deeply personal journey of emotional survival in a world where one is used to broken promises and false hopes.

The song kicks off with “Please wrap your drunk arms around me/And I’ll let you call me yours tonight”, establishing a scene of longing and vulnerability. Lavigne reflects on a relationship fueled by intoxication, both literal and metaphorical, where the promise of belonging, even temporarily, is exchanged for a semblance of love.

The meet-cute isn’t so cute. The chorus, “When you turn off the lights/I get stars in my eyes/Is this love?/Maybe someday”, indicates the confusion and hope intermingled. The stars in her eyes could symbolize the blinding allure of love when the world is cloaked in darkness, a hint to the ambiguity between a reality of potential love or blinded infatuation.

“Emotions aren’t that hard to borrow/When love’s the word you never learned” is a smack in the face of harsh reality. It’s a commentary on how easily one can mimic emotions, especially when the concept of ‘love’ remains elusive. The sentiment of loneliness is shed when “I’ve got a brand new cure for lonely”, further alluding to the fact she’s substituting superficial companionship as a temporary cure for her isolation.

The song reaches a critical juncture with “I’ll give you one last chance to hold me/If you give me one last cigarette”. Here, the cigarette may symbolize an ephemeral pleasure, illustrating the temporary and toxic nature of their relationship. The tradeoff of a last chance to hold her for a cigarette, further underscores the unhealthy dynamics in place.

Finally, when dawn breaks and reality sets in, Lavigne marks the song’s denouement stating “Now that I gave you what you want/All I want is to forget”. This consummates the narrative of a relationship that’s doomed from the start, marked by transient pleasure and a desperate yearning to forget the harsh daylight of reality.

In “Give You What You Like”, Lavigne decodes a provocative narrative of desperate yearning and compromised love, presenting the raw and unadorned reality of transient relationships. It’s a reflection of stark vulnerability, a raw anthology about love and loneliness, masked by its pop finesse.

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