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Meaning of ‘Head Above Water’ by ‘Avril Lavigne’

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“Head Above Water” by Avril Lavigne is a raw and powerful anthem about battling through tough times and seeking strength and salvation. Lavigne uses water as a metaphor for the struggles and hardships that threaten to overwhelm her, while also expressing a strong plea for help and resilience.

The song kicks off with “I gotta keep the calm before the storm”, immediately setting a tone of preparing for a difficult period ahead. Lavigne doesn’t want more troubles (“I don’t want more”) yet acknowledges that locking herself away (“Must bar the windows and the doors”) is necessary for her safety and warmth. This imagery strongly evokes the sense of bracing oneself for the challenges to come, indicating a fight for personal preservation.

As we move into the chorus, “God, keep my head above water / Don’t let me drown, it gets harder”, the plea for help becomes clear. The “water” here symbolizes her overwhelming challenges, and keeping her head above water means staying alive and not giving into despair. When she mentions, “I’ll meet you there at the altar / As I fall down to my knees”, it’s a call for divine intervention or a higher power to aid her in her moment of need, showcasing a moment of vulnerability and surrender.

The line “So pull me up from down below / ‘Cause I’m underneath the undertow” further dives into the struggle. The undertow represents a force that is pulling her under, a common feeling when dealing with hardship. She’s asking to be pulled from the depths of her despair, to be held close, and comforted (“Come dry me off and hold me close”), emphasizing the need for support and love in times of crisis.

Finally, the heart-wrenching admission, “And I can’t see in the stormy weather / I can’t seem to keep it all together”, showcases her battle against the tempest of her troubles. Despite her strength, the admission “And I, I can’t swim the ocean like this forever / And I can’t breathe” highlights the human limit to enduring ongoing struggles without help. It’s a brutal acknowledgment that everyone, no matter how strong, has their breaking point.

In “Head Above Watcher,” Avril Lavigne not just shares her personal battles but connects with anyone who’s felt overwhelmed by life’s storms. Through vivid imagery and passionate pleas for resilience and support, she turns her struggle into a universal anthem of hope, strength, and survival.

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