Avril Lavigne in a reflective mood as she is named to Order of Canada

Avril Lavigne has been doing a lot of reflecting lately.

It was inevitable, as the erstwhile pop-punk princess embarks on what she describes as her "first 'Greatest Hits' tour." But a call from Rideau Hall informing her that she would be invested as a member of the Order of Canada this year really brought it home.

"It's been a bit of a theme lately, over the last couple of years," she said Friday from Bedford, England, one of her tour stops.

"But this kind of award means a lot to me not only because it's such a high honour, but it really puts my career into perspective."

Lavigne is among the best-selling female artists of all time, the Governor General's office noted in its citation, saying she "paved the way for female-driven punk-rock music and continues to do so today."

Lavigne said she's honoured to be on such an esteemed list with the likes of Shania Twain and Neil Young, who are both officers, and Joni Mitchell, who is a companion to the Order of Canada.

"It's a big deal," Lavigne said. "Both my parents found out yesterday and FaceTimed me. My parents were like 'Oh my God, we're so proud of you.'"

At only 39, she said it's a trip looking back on such a storied career.

But Lavigne is not the only artist sticking to just fan favourites on their latest tour. Madonna, Bush, the Pet Shop Boys and the Killers are also charting "greatest hits" tours this year.

Setlists on Lavigne's tour include megahits such as "Sk8er Boi," "Girlfriend," and "Here's to Never Growing Up."

Those songs have stuck with older generations who listened to them when they were released, she said, but they're also resonating with young people who are just discovering her back catalogue now.

"Twenty-two years later, I'm running out on stage singing 'Complicated' and everyone's screaming it back at these European festivals that I'm at," she said. "I'm really touched and moved by that. It's pretty surreal."

She's taking a conservative approach to revisiting these old hits, she said, not changing their sound.

"Honestly, I think people kind of want to hear them the way that they are. I've gone to some shows before and heard people take their hits and make them way different, and I'm like, no."

She's also bringing back some of the same people who surrounded her when she released those hits – including her ex-husband, Deryck Whibley.

"Sum 41's frontman Deryck joined me in Las Vegas to jump up on stage and perform 'In Too Deep' with me," she said. "That was really nice. I'm just trying to have as much fun as I can, and it's really great when you can run into your music friends."

Other contemporaries, including All Time Low and Simple Plan, have also performed with her on the tour.

"'I'm just out here having a blast," she said. "Attitudes are contagious and I hope others are having as much fun as we are."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 28, 2024.

Nicole Thompson, The Canadian Press