The Best Damn Thing: Avril Lavigne’s Top 10 Greatest Singles, Ranked
Few women in the music industry have provided Top 40-primed pop-rock as consistently as Kelly Clarkson, Pink, and the inimitable reigning Princess of Pop-Punk herself, Avril Lavigne.
Since bursting onto the radio in 2002—all flat-ironed hair, Converse sneakers and racoon eyes—Avril has become a mainstay on the pop charts for well over a decade thanks to her rebellious spirit, no-f---s-given attitude, uniquely emotive voice and unstoppable ability to pen an instantly catchy hook.
The eight-time Grammy-nominated singer, songwriter and musician has delivered a string of rollicking Top 40 pop-rock hits since making her debut with "Complicated," but how do her best singles stack up?
Below, we've listed and ranked Avril Lavigne's top 10 greatest singles ever, from worst to best. Can we make it anymore obvious?
A slice of sex kitten power-pop straight out of Ashlee Simpson's "La La" playbook, "Hot" is a surprisingly lusty affair for the musician. While it's not one of the artist's most memorable or impactful singles, Avril's sassy delivery, coupled with a skittering guitar-heavy breakdown on the hook, makes it a fun standout. (Plus, hearing Avril growl the words "You're so fabulous" is just delightful.)
The second release off the artist's 2011 album Goodbye Lullaby, "Smile" is probably one of Avril's lesser-known singles, which leaves it fairly low on our list. However, the verses punch hard—"You know that I'm a crazy b---h / I do what I want when I feel like it!"—and the overall irreverent tone of the track, paired with its blissfully raucous rock n' roll chorus, leaves a lasting impression.
8. "Losing Grip"
Kicking off with a thick, wobbling guitar riff and sinister, bubbling synths, the fourth single off Avril's first album, Let Go, is an introspective, grungy, impassioned rock anthem about feeling isolated. While it's not one of the most memorable singles from the artist's debut record, it remains one of her darker, angrier tracks—the crashing guitars on the chorus lend a particular ferocity—making it a career standout for the rocker.
7. "What the Hell"
One of the singer's poppier offerings, "What the Hell" is a rowdy pop-rock bop that doubles as an anthem for living the no-strings-attached life. Featuring bubblegum synths and hand claps, the upbeat, catchy Max Martin and Shellback-produced single hit the Top 20 in the U.S. upon its release in 2011, instantly connecting with fans over its middle-fingers-in-the-air message about taking back one's freedom... and maybe having a little fun toying with a boyfriend in the process.
6. "My Happy Ending"
Avril's raw Alanis Morissette-like vocals glide effortlessly against each sweeping guitar riff on this luminescent, uptempo rock ballad. The track, off the artist's 2004 album, Under My Skin, provides (an admittedly) relatable snapshot of angsty teenage love—specifically, the moment when it unravels: "We were meant to be, supposed to be but we lost it..."
Thanks in part to an absolutely, insanely catchy hook—just try getting "Hey, hey! You, you!" out of your head—this rambunctious, bratty bubblegum punk-pop banger became a Billboard Hot 100 No. 1 single shortly after its release in February 2007 and, to this day, remains one of the singer's most memorable hits. Featuring a chanty breakdown reminiscent of Toni Basil's 1982 smash "Hey Mickey" and all-too-relatable lyrics, "Girlfriend" is the punk-rock cheerleader of all pop songs.
4. "I’m With You"
The Canadian pop star's vocals shimmer and ache on this emotive ballad and third single off her debut album. "I'm With You" is a stunning exercise in rock balladry: The track's country twangs, sweeping strings and moody beats burst into a flurry of emotion on the chorus as they crash into Avril's pleading, soaring voice. It's a bittersweet symphony.
3. "Sk8er Boi"
For many long-time fans, "Sk8er Boi"—with its raucous pop-punk guitars, defiant spirit and gleefully shouty chorus—represents peak, pure Avril Lavigne. All attitude and rebellion, this energetic anthem had many of us begging our moms to buy us those hot pink baggy pants from Hot Topic back in 2002. To this day, it remains a catchy as hell ode to skateboarding mallrats with big dreams everywhere. The message? "There is more than meets the eye"—especially if black eyeliner is involved.
2. "When You're Gone"
Twinkling piano chords and tender acoustic guitar strums create a lush soundscape on this heartfelt, ethereal rock ballad. "When You're Gone," the second single off the singer's third album, The Best Damn Thing, provides listeners with a rare glimpse into the sweeter side of Avril, whose vocals are affecting and bare as she grapples with loss on the tear-jerking chorus. It may not be her most well-known song, but it's certainly one of her most beautiful and haunting.
It should come as no surprise that the Grammy-nominated song which put Avril on the map tops our list, but well over a decade after it first smashed Top 40 radio, "Complicated" is no mere breakout hit—it lasts. Driven by a midtempo beat, swirling synths and a sparkling guitar riff, the then-17-year-old songwriter's earnest lyrics about being frustrated with two-faced lovers and friends spill into the vocal delivery, creating something that is at once intimate and universal. The track's theme is an ubiquitous one: even the Prom Queen can relate to this one.
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