Some Christians are accusing a punk-rock singer for dancing with the devil in a new song. But her lyrics tell a different story: It’s a struggle for the light.
Earlier this year, Avril Lavigne released her first album in more than five years called Head Above Water. The very first song signaled a change in tone for the 34 year old. Instead of focusing on “Sk8er Bois” and “Complicated” relationships, she addressed God in her fight against Lyme disease. But, according to some Christians, that didn’t redeem her favorite song in the album: “I Fell in Love with the Devil.”
It’s “my Favorite because I wrote it by myself and produced it” with a co-producer, she tweeted in December. “I’m SUPER proud of it.”
But some of her fans weren’t. Media headlines from outlets like Fox News reported, “Avril Lavigne angers Christian fans with new song about the devil,” on July 8.
“Turns out Christian audiences aren’t too keen on Lavigne’s new single,” wrote Hannah Sparks for the New York Post. But, she added, the “lyrics suggest the song is actually about the effects of a toxic relationship, rather than a love letter to Satan.”
Sparks’ intuition was right. For evidence, Christian Post reporter Jeannie Law pointed to an interview during which a German newspaper asked Lavigne who was the devil she loved.
Lavigne laughed that she would “never betray!” the person, before revealing a darker side to the story.
“It was fierce and I was really scared. I was still weakened and already so vulnerable and fearful and insecure at the time. Then he came,” she admitted. “That was what they call a ‘toxic relationship,’ and the only good thing is that it did not take long … And as so often with me, a song evolved from the experience.”
And while that song was about falling for a devil, it was also about a reach for God in the darkness.
In the chorus, Lavigne warns, “I fell in love with the devil” and admits she’s “underneath his spell.” But, at the same time, she pleads “Someone send me an angel” and “save me from this hell” because “It’s killing me.”
She later sings that “angels and devils always fight over me” before asking “Take me to heaven, wake me up from this dream.”
In a second piece of evidence, Law also noticed that, when Lavigne held a contest for the song’s promotional artwork, several fans suggested satanic symbols. But the singer rejected them and opted for a red background with a forest design, while wearing a red gown and black cross on her forehead.
In another photo advertising the song, Lavigne again donned Christian – not satanic – symbolism.
A July 6 Instagram post showed the singer draped in a black attire while clasping a crucifix to her chest. In the caption to her seven million followers, she wrote the song’s title, “#IFellinLoveWithTheDevil.”
This album isn’t Lavigne’s first encounter with religion. As CatholicVote has previously reported, singing to God is something Lavigne actually grew up doing. When Billboard announced Lavigne’s new album in 2017, the outlet cited Lavigne as saying she was “going back to my roots a little bit… I got my start in church and at country fairs when I was a young child, and I think those earlier influences are definitely coming out now.”
Back in 2011, media reported Lavigne saying her inspiration to be a singer was something she picked up at church.
“My mom said when I was two I came back from church singing ‘Jesus Loves Me’ and she said that she knew I was going to be a singer then, she called me her little songbird,” Lavigne revealed. And, according to Beliefnet, Lavigne performed her “first solo in church” just eight years later at the age of 10.
As imperfect humans, every Christian falls for “devils” of his or her own. The question is how we respond – whether that’s by giving in, or by standing back up in a reach for God.