The landscape for true pop-rock artists is a bleak and desolate one these days, but one singer who has managed to weather the storm is Avril Lavigne.
As she prepares to release her fifth, self-titled studio album next month, we phoned her up to talk about the record's nostalgic singles, what new song 'Hello Kitty' is really about and what sort of music she plans to make in the future.
Hi Avril! Let's talk about your new album. Is this the best Avril Lavigne album of all time?
"I mean it! Even if this one isn't called Best Damn Thing. I think it's because we spent such a long time writing it. It's really diverse. The first two songs you've heard - the rest of the album is nothing like that. There's rock, piano songs, stripped down stuff… there's an electronic song called 'Hello Kitty'."
The electronic song sounds interesting…
"'Hello Kitty' was such an interesting topic and subject. It was really exciting. I didn't want it to sound like anything I'd done before. I wanted it to sound over the top so I ended up hiring a new producer to help me with it."
Are we right in thinking that this is a song about your vagina?
"Obviously it's flirtatious and somewhat sexual, but it's genuinely about my love for Hello Kitty!"
The singles we've heard so far from the album sound very nostalgic; do you still feel like your 17-year-old self?
"Yeah, there's some nostalgia on there - there's a song called '17' and the single 'Here's To Never Growing Up'. There's a summer song called 'Sippin' On Sunshine' and another song called 'Bitchin' Summer'. It's half and half really. Some feels quite young and carefree, the others feel mature."
People often comment that your sound and image have hardly changed since you were a teenager. You're hardly old at 28, but do you feel young at heart?
"I'll always be young at heart and have a free spirit. It doesn't matter how old you are - you can be young forever in your spirit and your attitude. For me, I actually had to grow up quick being in this industry so young. I was surrounded by adults which was kind of weird, but I had my band around me and they were my age. I've always been the baby and the youngest one. I think it prepared me for this world."
Say you make an album in your 40s or 50s - what would it sound like?
"I'm definitely going to keep working. There's lots of stuff I'd like to try, like a Christmas album. I would have to do covers though. I love really traditional Christmas songs."
Your current single 'Rock N Roll' is accompanied by a hilarious music video. How did you deal with the acting side of things?
"It was fun! It was nice to show people you have a sense of humour. I want to act properly one day, so a video like that is always good practice."
What sort of roles would you like to take on?
"I always thought it'd be fun to be a in a horror film. I'd love to do a drama and a comedy as well. The 'Girlfriend' video was quite comedic."
What's the best Avril Lavigne song?
"'I'm With You'. It's still a challenging song vocally and the crowd always get into it."
You've been in the industry for over ten years and seen a lot of change in that time. What's the key to longevity in the business?
"I don't know, what do you think?"
We have no idea.
"You're right, it's changed so much. They don't play rock songs on the radio anymore. It's all very, very pop and dance. For me, my music's always been heavy pop rock... I've always experimented but at the same time remained true to my roots. For me, I'm happy for the opportunity to still be making music and so grateful to the fans who have kept me here."
A lot of new acts resort to The X Factor or American Idol for their big break. Would you have done those shows had they been around at the time you started out?
"I think they're a good platform for people. I definitely would have done those shows if I was just starting out now, for sure. It's harder than ever for new talent to get a break."
Avril Lavigne releases 'Rock N Roll' on October 27. The album, Avril Lavigne, follows on November 4.
Watch the music video for 'Rock N Roll' below: