Avril Lavigne: By The Numbers

By: J. Pinkerton

Number of unique words in 500-word Avril Lavigne song: 100

Title of song: “Complicated”

Number of unique words in 130-word poem “Simplicity” by Robert Service: 92

Average number of unique words “Simplicity” contains for every unique word in “Complicated”: 3.5

Lavigne, on Lavigne: “I’m a skater punk who writes guitar-driven rock.”

No. of tracks on Lavigne’s Let Go for which she has sole writing credit: 0

On writing guitar-driven rock: “I sit down with a guitar player usually.”

No. of guitar players Lavigne sat down with to write Let Go: 5

Other artists to sit down with same guitar players: Wilson Phillips, Madonna, Cyndi Lauper

On her sound: “I just didn’t want to be bubblegum pop.”

No. of 2002 Grammy nominations received by Avril Lavigne: 5

Lavigne, on proper pronunciation of first name: “It’s not Aye-vril. It’s Avril!”

Lavigne’s pronunciation of David Bowie’s last name at nomination ceremony: “Bau-ee”

Proper pronunciation: “Boe-ee”

Number of 2002 Grammy nominations Bowie received: 1

David Bowie’s greatest accomplishments in 1984: Grammy, Best Video; MTV Video Music Award, Male Video; MTV Video Music, Vanguard Award

Avril Lavigne’s greatest accomplishments in 1984: was born

Proper pronunciation of Avril Lavigne’s last name: “Lah-veen”

Incorrect: “Luh-vig-nee,” “Lah-viegg-nuh,” “Lugh-fugh-bugh”

Lavigne, on her sound: “I don’t like using the term ‘pop star’ because that’s not my personality…I’m hardcore.”

Acts to label themselves “pop stars”: Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake

Acts to label themselves “hardcore”: Black Flag, Dead Kennedys

No. times the words “boy,” “feel” and “cry” appear on Black Flag’s Damaged: 0, 2, 0

On Dead Kennedys’ Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables: 0, 1, 0

On Lavigne’s Let Go: 16, 11, 13

Lavigne, on lyrics: “Girls seem to be more sensitive, right? Guys like to hide their feelings.”

No. times the words “boy,” “feel” and “cry” appear on Justin Timberlake’s Justified: 16, 39, 40

On Spears’ Baby One More Time: 1, 4, 1

Ranking Lavigne (47) would receive by totaling these numbers, with Dead Kennedys (1) representing hardcore and Justin Timberlake (141) representing wussiest, most not-hardcore thing in universe: 66.6% hardcore; 33.3% pop star

Hardcore/pop star ranking Britney Spears would receive by this same ranking: 96% hardcore; 4% pop star

Lavigne, on similarity to Britney Spears: “”I’m not like [her]. I’m just being myself, being real.”

Formula that scores readability based on complexity of words and sentences: The Flesch-Kincaid Index

According to Flesch-Kincaid Index, how old person must be to read the Financial Times: 18

To read the Times Educational Supplement: 17

To read lyrics to “Complicated”: 8

To read lyrics to Britney Spears’ “Baby One More Time”: 8

To read lyrics to Eminem’s “Without Me”: 13

To read Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities: 13

To read lyrics to Justin Timberlake’s “Like I Love You”: 6 and under

No. times Timberlake says “girl” on Justified: 58

Amount Lavigne won at Kingston Exhibition and Home Show’s Country Singing Show Down in 1999, in Canada: $1000

City in which author of this piece lived in 1999: Kingston, Ontario, Canada

Place author of this piece worked as Event Coordinator in 1999: Kingston Exhibition and Home Show

Duties of author during this summer job: accounting, putting hog and cattle finalists into database, some lifting

Unofficial duties: playing Prince of Persia on old 486 computer

Level I obtained on Prince of Persia by end of summer: 8

Awareness level I had of Avril Lavigne at time: 0%

Interest level I had in Country Singing Showdown: 0%

Interest level I had in Gymnastics Showdown: 97%

Relation of interest level to participant’s actual proficiency in gymnastics: low to none

Relation of interest level to tightness/sheerness of outfits: very high

Relation of interest level to possibility of scoring with gymnast: very high

Likelihood that I met Lavigne that summer: 20%

Likelihood that I gave a crap: 3%

Mental state of author throughout summer: very high


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