Number One: "Girlfriend" by Avril Lavigne (2023)

On The Number Ones, I go through every #1 single in the history ofbillboardHot 100, beginning when it hit the charts in 1958 and working its way up to the present.

Avril Lavigne's "Girlfriend" sucks, but in a way I like. I realize that doesn't necessarily make much sense, and it's not the kind of compliment I want to give out very often, but the blatant bullshit from "Girlfriend," Avril Lavigne's only Hot 100 hit, is the listsome kind of obvious stupidity. It's the kind of shit I can't completely hate no matter how hard I try.

"Girlfriend" is an annoying song. It's big, bold, and loud, and if it gets stuck in your head for too long, you might consider putting your neck in a guillotine. The music consists of screeching drums and high-pitched screams, and its little outbursts of melody are almost random. Even when Avril Lavigne sings ballads, her voice is a nasal wail. In "Girlfriend" she just yells at you for three and a half minutes. The lyrics are silly and disgusting, and you will learn absolutely nothing about the human condition from them.

But "Girlfriend" is also a fundamentally silly song, and if you approach it with the right level of silliness, you can just play along and enjoy it. He has hooks, sass and energy. The lyrics are simple enough that you could probably hear them the second time around, not only with the chorus but with that as wellcomplete music. "Girlfriend" represents ease of hitting a gun, and it's easy to argue that pop music should be about ease of hitting a gun.

"Girlfriend" does its job well. Maybe the music will do its job.AlsoGood. When you come across "Girlfriend" in a bad mood, it can seriously ruin your day. However, if you're in the right mood, "Girlfriend" can sound like an anthem. In many ways, that makes the song absolutely perfect for Avril Lavigne, an artist whose howling has come to define a very divisive wave of major-label pop-punk. Lavigne has songs that are far more personal and heartfelt than "Girlfriend." It also has better songs. But "Girlfriend" still sounds like thatmajorityAvril Avril has already sounded. Avril Lavigne's #1 singleit shouldBe a terribly insidious hook monster. It's just appropriate.

Before we get into the whole Avril Lavigne phenomenon, we need to upfront something: Avril Lavigne isn't punk. She was never a punk. Avril might be dating punks. She had punks in her backing band. She was married for a time to someone who could be vaguely described as a punk. But Avril was deeply involved in the major label system before adapting the aesthetic signifiers of early 2000s mall punk.tivIdentified as punks in the odd era of the '90s, when punk rock was extremely popular and intent on its own popularity, the arrival of Avril Lavigne was a real headbutt.

Green Day was weird enough. These guys from the Berkeley Gilman Street scene, guys who wrote great hooks and didn't want to be broke for life, took the renegade step of signing to a major label and were shocked to find that they were fast became one. one of the most popular bands in the world. I was in eighth grade when Green Day broke out, and this band's confusion, excitement, and frustration at their sheer success began when I was just getting to know them. (Green Day's most successful single is "Boulevard Of Broken Dreams," which peaked at number 2, but that wasn't until much later, in 2004. It's a 6.)

When I first got interested in music, I recorded a new band as my favorite band and then watched in dizzying amazement as that band rose to real popularity a few months later. (At least that's how I felt about Rancid.) Punk bands seemed to stumble upon success by accident. That's not how it happened, but that's how it was.miró.

In the years that followed, this playbook changed. I saw Blink-182 on the second Warped Tour in 1996 and immediately decided they were bad NOFX biters. Then, a few years later, I saw Blink achieve Green Day popularity. Blink-182 specifically made videosforshow howTotal live request. they did soTRLAesthetics while indulging in that aesthetic. Shesoughtbeing popular felt different. And when Blink-182 became popular, I was a bit horrified to find outvaluedShe. (Blink's highest-charting single, 2000's "All The Small Things," peaked at #6. That's a 10.)

Avril Lavigne was different. She didn't come from underground punk like Green Day, Rancid or Blink-182. Instead, she was a full-fledged pop star. she sangThe ballad. Sometimes it looked like he wasGesang. But Avril dressed like a hot-topic girl, and there was a little pop-punk pogo to some of her songs. The whole thing was very confusing. But Avril Lavigne wasn't introduced to anyone old enough to identify as '90s punk. (Avril himself is not coincidentally almost exactly five years younger than me.) A pop star posed as a punk, andnobodyI thought it would bestrange. I was 22 when Avril Lavigne exploded and the whole thing made me feel so old. But that's not Avril Lavigne's problem. That's my problem.

Arriving in a transitional period, just after the late '90s teen pop boom, just before the mid-2000s MySpace emo boom, Avril Lavigne was made for her time. While I already had some vague and paranoid notions about Avril Lavigne being an agent sent by the major label system to co-opt punk discontent, she came to this part of her identity much more organically than I thought. That isAlwaysthe case when you start creating your own imaginary narratives about pop stars.

Born in Belleville, a small Canadian town between Toronto and Ottawa, Avril Ramona Lavigne grew up primarily in small town Ontario. (When Avril was born, the #1 song in America was "" by John Waite".Miss you." Not Canada, it was by Tina Turner."What does love have to do with it?.") Avril's father, who was a child from France, worked as a technician for Bell Canada and played bass in a church band. Young Avril loved to sing and her parents would take her to karaoke competitions and buy their instruments.

(Video) Avril Lavigne - Girlfriend (Official Video)

For much of her childhood, Avril Lavigne was essentially the small-town Canadian version of a talent show. Avril played hockey and baseball and sang a lot. She sang at church and fairs, company picnics, hockey games. Mostly she sang country songs, although at the same time she began writing her own songs. One day, a manager named Cliff Fabri overheard 16-year-old Avril singing covers of country music at a bookstore in Kingston, Ontario. With Fabri's help, Avril won a competition and in 1999 managed to sing a duet with Shania Twain at one of her arena shows. (Shania Twain's most successful single, "" from 1998you're still the only one', peaked at #2. It's an 8)

Record companies started snooping on young Avril Lavigne, and she auditioned for 15 minutes for L.A. Reid, then head of Arista. Based on this performance, Reid Avril has signed a gigantic contract. He dropped out of high school and attempted to set a country record. However, by the time Avril had been skateboarding and hanging out with punk dudes, none of country music felt like second nature. Eventually, Arista reunited Avril with the songwriting and production team known as The Matrix, and she collaborated with them to write the greatest hits for her 2002 debut album.let him go.

At the beginning of Avril Lavigne's video for her debut single "Complicated," she skates toward a group of her friends and they make a quick decision to "break into a mall." They run through the video wreaking accessible havoc, but the music doesn't match the visuals. "Complicated" is a big, catchy alt-pop song with a lot of Alanis Morissette in its bones, and it started out big, peaking at #2 in the summer when nothing but Nelly's songs went all the way. #1. (It's an 8.) Avril delved further into pseudo-punk cartoon territory with her next song, "Sk8er Boi," a #10 hit. (It's a 7.) Suddenly, Avril Lavigne was in deep trouble . They would arrive at the mall and a large percentage of the teenage girls would be dressed like them.

let him goIt became an absolute box office success and was certified seven times platinum. Another single, the ballad "I'm With You," peaked at No. 4. (That's another 7.) Lavigne toured with a backing band composed primarily of members of the Ontario punk band Closet Monster. Avril's sudden rise definitely had an anti-teen pop backlash, thoughlet him goIt was mostly a crisp, slick, contemporary pop record. Avril's voice was distinctive and expressive, and she knew how to convey her image through her songs and videos. It played a chord and then stayed.

For her second album from 2004under my skin, Avril Lavigne consciously chose something less pop and more serious. He was probably more successful than he wanted to be. On this album, Avril collaborated with relatively credible rockers like Butch Walker and Raine Maida from Our Lady Peace. The album went triple platinum, still a big hit but less than half what it waslet him gosold. only oneunder my skinThe single, the beautiful ballad "My Happy Ending", reached the top 10 in the US (this went to number 9. It's an 8.) When it came time to make another album, Avril switched gears. she wentformmore pop

After the success oflet him go, a whole brigade of almost Avrils appeared on the pop scene. R&B still dominated the Hot 100, but you saw more and more singers dressed in slightly punk clothes and belting out big, imposing, almost rock-inspired songs. The most successful of the post-Avril set was Ashlee Simpson, who had a good run before her infamous viral moment when she attempted to continue lip-synchingSaturday night live. It wouldn't have been a big deal now, but at the time of the teen pop backlash it really pissed people off. (Ashlee Simpson's greatest hits single, 2004 ""parts of me' peaked at number 5. It's an 8)

At the same time the inaugurationamerican idolWinner Kelly Clarkson who wasin this column onceand who will eventually return switched to a more rocking direction on their second album in 2004Flee. Avril Lavigne actually co-wrote itFleetheme song; was originally supposed to appear inlet him go. Clarkson pushed this song to number 6. (It's an 8.)

(Video) Girlfriend - Avril Lavigne (Lyrics) 🎵

But there were even greater successes with Kelly ClarksonFleeAlbum. The biggest of these songs was co-written by Max Martin, the Swedish pop genius who had already written big hits for teenage pop stars likeBritney Spearsj*NSYNCHand that will appear many times in this column. Martin usedFleereinvented his entire style, and he had help. With the smash hit "Since U Been Gone," Martin and a key collaborator took the indie rock of the era and turned it into something the size of a stadium. ("Since U Been Gone" peaked at #2. That's a 10.)

This is where we need to start, about Dr. Luke, a guy who will appear several times in this column. Lukasz Gottwald, named after the Bond villain, is from Rhode Island and grew up mostly in Manhattan. In high school, Gottwald sold marijuana and became very good at playing several instruments. After a few years at the Manhattan School of Music, he secured a place in the house band inSaturday night live. Gottwald started the program in 1997 and held the position for a good decade. When he left he had co-written and produced his first #1 hit, that's the song you're reading about today. Avril Lavigne sang this #1 hit as a musical guest on the show while Luke was still in the house band. your endSNLThe episode was a few weeks later.

during workSNLLukasz Gottwald started producing music. In 1997, under the moniker Kasz, he released a 12" single called "Wet Lapse" on major New York underground rap label Rawkus. "Wet Lapse" is basically an instrumental rap track, but it's clean and bright. Gottwald wanted to produce music for the Rawkus rappers, but their sound might have been too poppy. However, Gottwald took something from this club with him. He claims that Rawkus star Mos Def, now known as Yasiin Bey, convinced him to stop calling himself Kasz and gave him the nickname Dr. Luke. (Mos Def's highest-charting Hot 100 single is "Definition," from his and Talib Kweli's project Black Star, which peaked at number 60.)

While DJing at a party, Dr. Luke met Max Martin who had just arrived in New York. Luke started guiding Martin around New York clubs and basically signed as Martin's right hand man. Together, Martin and Luke wrote and produced "Since U Been Gone" and several other Kelly Clarkson hits. They've also collaborated with the Backstreet Boys and Veronicas and Daughtry and had some big hits with Pink, an artist who will appear in this column several times. When Avril Lavigne made her third albumthe best thing, his most important collaborator was Dr. Luke, just Luke alone, without Max Martin. (Avril and Martin would later work together.)

Avril Lavigne oncehe said mtvthat she wrote the hook for "Girlfriend", their opening songthe best thingdrunk: "The chorus was written in two minutes. I take nothing. I'm a little surprised it took so long. "Girlfriend" has to be one of the easiest songs to ever appear in this column. It's just Avril Lavigne yelling at a guy and telling him his girlfriend sucks and he should date Avril Lavigne. At the time, Avril was married to Deryck Whibley, lead singer of Ontario pop-punk band Sum 41; maybe that's how she got it. (Sum 41's only Hot 100 hit, the bubble punk hit of 2001"swollen lip", reached number 66.)

Many, many women have had troubling things about working with Dr. Luke, and this column is going to jump into this whole saga very soon. But Avril Lavigne obviously had a lot of fun with it. Avril and Luke quickly recorded the vocals for "Girlfriend," and then Luke added the gigantic drum kit that will forever tie the song to "Toni Basil."Micky.” In its pounding simplicity, "Girlfriend" owes something to Gwen Stefani.hallo backgirl' which apparently was more influential than I thought at the time.

There is another possible influence. After the explosion of "Girlfriend," two members of Berkeley powerhouse poppers The Rubinoos sued Avril Lavigne and Dr. Luke and claimed they plagiarized the 1979 Rubinoos single "I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend." Avril and Luke have denied the allegations. Avril wrote on MySpace that she had been "falsely accused" and had never heard the Rubinoos' music. But the Rubinoos covered "Hey Hey You" decades before, and Avril and Luke eventually settled out of court.

"Girlfriend" is more or less a nursery rhyme. There are no nuances, no give and take. It's just a big, ridiculous chant, "Hey, hey! you you! I don't like your girlfriend! No way! I think you need a new one! No one could confuse "Girlfriend" with a rock band working in a room. Doctor Luke played most of the instruments himself, and there's an antiseptic pro-tools assembly feel to the track. (Avril gets percussion credit for rhythmically blowing into the mouth of a beer bottle in the booth.) But for all its lab-created sparkle, "Girlfriend" has a bit of energy, and most of the energy comes from Avril Lavigne.

It looks like he's having fun. That's my big lesson years later. Everyone involved with "Girlfriend" seems to understand that the song is deeply silly and to the point. While Avril Lavigne may have tried to express some big, heavy feelings on her previous album, "Girlfriend" is music to throw pies in people's faces. The song is about convincing someone to break up with their partner, but it's not remotely flirty. Instead, it's cartoon badger crap. It's like Avril knows she's funnier than this asshole's girlfriend and more interested in happily doing some shit than the real guy. On the stomp-clap bridge, Avril and Dr. Luke laughs in the studio and the spirit of that laugh is all over the song. "Girlfriend" is the sound of someone getting away with murder.

It's annoying. InCourseIt's annoying. Avril Lavigne has a voice like a knife, and when you're not in the mood for that voice, even her most majestic ballads can sound like they were made specifically to make your brain bleed. "Girlfriend" is that voice raised to the maximum and then given a megaphone. she is aloneAprilfor us all the time, and the canned guitar riffs and pounding drums can feel forced and oppressive. But the song is also catchy and devious enough to stick in your head from here to eternity.

The "Girlfriend" video was alargeBusiness. The Malloys, the same directors who directed Avril Lavigne's "Complicated" video, invented the kind of Looney Tunes that Twisted Sister might have made two decades earlier. There's a guy playing mini golf with his girlfriend and another girl who thinks he should be with her. The other girl makes all sorts of nonsense with the first girl, who is really just minding her own business, but we're supposed to support the second girl anyway. It mostly works as Avril Lavigne plays both girls.


Dark-haired punk Avril does everything she can to make life hell for preppy redhead Avril. He kicks his boyfriend's ass and yells for it to be his girlfriend right in front of his girlfriend! Then he grabs the bride from a photo booth, steals the bride's food just before her big oneThe lady and the trampmoment and hits the bride in the head with a golf ball. Eventually, the friend gets angry and runs to her, but accidentally steps on a potty holder, which obviously falls over. The friend laughs at everything and then runs away with the other girl. What an idiot! Who would want to be this guy's girlfriend? In the early days of YouTube, the "Girlfriend" video was ubiquitous; famous, was the first video to reach 100 million views.

The remix was great too. For reworking "Girlfriend" by Dr.Lipgloss." (That's a 9.) Around this time, I spent an afternoon hanging out with Lil Mama in a record label conference roomAthe voice of the peopleStory, and she impressed me. On the "Girlfriend" remix, Lil Mama practically takes control of the song, quickly rapping nonsensically and adding a boost of energy to an already energetic song. The chaotic and random combination works very well; I like it better than the original. Avril and Lil Mama made another video for the remix and he had them do some really crazy choreography.

This remix didn't make Lil Mama a star. Mama scored another #10 hit with "shawty seltate', a 2008 collaboration with Chris Brown and T-Pain, two artists soon to be featured in this column. (That's a 6.) Today, Lil Mama is far more famous for a reckless stage mishap than any of her songs. At the VMAs, Jay-Z and Alicia Keys performed a song that will eventually appear in this column. Mom ran onto the stage, stood next to them and struck a pose. Jay-Z's mayhem was extremely funny and Lil Mama's career never recovered. (Soon, this column will discuss another incident of Jay-Z's stage fall that elicited a very different reaction.)

Avril Lavigne never had a shock moment on the VMA stage, but she hasn't had another big hit since "Girlfriend." In a way, "Girlfriend" could have been a bad career move even though it was a big hit. Avril worked to be taken seriously, and that's how she had her best song with something that felt extremely bubbly and disposable. (Today, "Complicated" and "Sk8er Boi" have more streams on Spotify.) When "Girlfriend" was all the rage, my much younger sister, who doesn't think much of music, asked me what I thought of "all these artists" of the '90s trying to come back." When I asked who she meant, she said, "I don't know, Avril Lavigne?" Avril Lavigne isNOfrom the 90s, but if that's how their target audience saw them, that might have been a problem.

the best thingwent double platinum, meaning it didn't sell as wellunder my skin. None of the following singles ended up very high either. Avril hasn't returned to the top 10 since, although she came close with "What The Hell," the lead single from her 2011 album.Goodbye lullaby, peaked at number 11. (Lavigne wrote this song with Max Martin and with Shellback, the guy who eventually replaced Dr. Luke as Martin's key collaborator.)

After "Girlfriend," Avril Lavigne had a strange career. For a long time he went without releasing albums. She broke up with Deryck Whibley and then dated Chad Kroeger, leader of theformer number one artistnickelback. Avril is nowsupposedly from tyga; She has no type. On the career front, Avril dabbled in Christian pop before returning to pop punk. But Avril never went away, leaving a cultural impact that still resonates. In 2011, Rihanna released her single "Cheers (Drink To That)" which was based on a sample of Avril's "Yeah-ee-yeah" howl in "I'm With You". Avril earned a songwriting credit and appeared in the video, and "Cheers (Drink To That)" peaked at #7. (It's a 10.)

These days, Avril Lavigne is riding a new wave of pop-punk nostalgia, and now she's standing out as an influential old woman. Willow Smith worked with her. Taylor Swift and Olivia Rodrigo, two artists who will eventually appear in this column, have invited her on stage for their concerts. Blink 182 drummer Travis Barker, who played on some tracksthe best thing, he signed Avril to his label and released an album calledLovelast year. I don't think we'll see Avril again in this column, but who knows?

My daughteror"Bride." When the song came out, my son was two years away from being born. I asked him how he knew "Girlfriend," and he said, "I think it's one of those songs that's always there that everybody knows." By that definition, "Girlfriend" might be a pop classic, a pop classic that sucks in its somewhat catchy way.


ADDITIONAL RHYTHMS:The highly irritating California band Zebrahead released a cover of "Girlfriend" in 2009 and also did a scene-by-scene remake of the video. But get this: the girl in the video? It's not a girl! It's the zebra head boy! Watch the madness here:

BONUS STRIKES:Here's the soundtrack to "Girlfriend" in a remastered montage from the 2008 filmthe domestic rabbit:

(Emma Stone's only single, 2017's Ryan Gosling duet "City Of Stars," peaked at No. 45. Katharine McPhee's highest-charting single, her 2006 cover of "Somewhere Over The Rainbow," peaked at No. 12. As 3LW member Kiely Williams hit No. 23 with 2000's "No More (Baby I'ma Do Right)".

BONUS BONUS BONUS BEATS:For some reason I find Rob Riggles extremely silly in 2016.Battle for lip syncVersion of "Girlfriend" much less annoying than the Zebrahead video. Here it is:

(Battle for lip syncCo-host LL Cool J alreadyappeared in this column.)

BONUS BONUS BONUS BEATS:Here's Halsey and Avril Lavigne performing "Girlfriend" together at a Halloween party in 2019:

I can't believe I saw Halsey and Avril Lavigne sing "Girlfriend" in 2019!

- Kristall (@iwanturmidnight)26. October 2019

(Halsey will eventually appear in this column.)

The Number Ones: Twenty chart-topping artists that reveal the history of popular music, is available now through Hachette Books. hey you boughtHere.

(Video) Avril Lavigne - The Best Damn Thing (Official Video)


1. Avril Lavigne - My Happy Ending (Official Video - Clean)
(Avril Lavigne)
2. My Happy Ending - Avril Lavigne (Lyrics) 🎵
3. Avril Lavigne - The Best Damn Thing (Full Album 2007)
(Total Music)
4. Avril Lavigne - Sk8er Boi (Official Video)
(Avril Lavigne)
5. Avril Lavigne — Girlfriend [Letra en Español]
6. Avril Lavigne - Girlfriend Official Music Video
(Bad Boy Edd)


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