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The 11 best Avril Lavigne songs

Why have a Top 10 when you can have one more? Here are our favourite 11 Avril Lavigne songs, ranked

In an era dominated by the pitch-perfect teen pop of Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera, there emerged a new musical force, ready to revolutionise the genre with only a pair of baggy jeans and a dream. Avril Lavigne built her image around her own lack of polish, forging a path in the industry by bringing riotous pop-punk into the bedrooms of young girls – and onto nomination lists at the Grammys. But her music was just as meticulously crafted as the shiny pop of her contemporaries, with Lavigne displaying astonishing skill and maturity in her songwriting from the very start of her career.

Ahead of Lavigne’s arrival at London’s Alexandra Palace and Manchester’s O2 Apollo, we’ve combed back through her two decades in music for her very best tracks.

11. Anything But Ordinary

(Let Go, 2002)

There’s something really moving in hearing teenage Avril sing about her desire for an atypical life. In some way, ‘Anything But Ordinary’ couldn’t be more obviously written by a sixteen-year-old – she wants to experience the extremes of emotion, she can’t imagine dying – but there’s a real sincerity in the lyrics that forces the listener to take her seriously. It’s also grungier than a lot of her later pop-punk, with Lavigne exploring deeper, more grounded vocals.

10. My Happy Ending

(Under My Skin, 2004)

Lavigne has a solid catalogue of break-up songs but ‘My Happy Ending’ is one of her best, with one of her most infectious choruses and an excellent performance from the singer. She releases some of her biggest vocals here, particularly on the song’s bridge. Some of Avril’s greatest break-up anthems feature an almost pantomime level of venom – fantastic in their own way, but the genuine frustration of ‘My Happy Ending’ makes it particularly engaging.

9. Love It When You Hate Me

(Love Sux, 2022)

The second single from Lavigne’s 2022 album delivered a nostalgic dose of sugary pop-punk that could have easily slotted into the track list of The Best Damn Thing. It’s unapologetic in its use of cliché – “the highs, the lows, the ‘yes’, the ‘no’s” – but more current verses and a feature from blackbear prevent it from becoming too recognisable, allowing the track to pay homage without strictly imitating.

8. Here’s To Never Growing Up

(Avril Lavigne, 2013)

Lavigne’s sound translates so easily to a summer pop anthem that it begs the question why she didn’t make more of them. We did get ‘Here’s To Never Growing Up’ though, her 2013 single that’s so wonderfully 2013 it’ll pull you back in time. The country guitars, the clap-along chorus and the drink-raising hook make for an irresistible combination.

7. Let Me Go

(Avril Lavigne, 2013)

This Lady A-esque single off of the singer’s fifth studio album is an unexpectedly powerful offering. Lavigne duets Nickelback’s Chad Kroeger as the two narrowly veer around a break-up and end up back at each other’s sides. These aren’t two voices you’d expect to compliment each other and yet, for some reason, it all works.

6. What The Hell

(Goodbye Lullaby, 2011)

What happens when Avril leans into the sugar? We get ‘What The Hell’, a joyous piece of radio-friendly pop-punk that asks you to throw any pretension out of the window and join it jumping around in the garden. Lavigne commits whole-heartedly to the bit – it’s truly a delight to hear the grunge-pop answer to Britney Spears tell us that “all my life I’ve been good” in her brattiest voice. Spoken ad-libs and a biting chorus of backing vocals add to the fun of it all.

5. 17

(Avril Lavigne, 2013)

Lavigne’s ‘Teenage Dream’ is a heartfelt pop anthem that sees her reminiscing about her first love. She cycles through teenage cliches – her boy “tasted like cigarettes and soda pop” – with a knowing, smiling vocal. It feels like a sequel track to Let Go; a sweet, sunshiny look back at a teenager who burst onto the scene with a record that made her seem like she had it all figured out. In ‘17’, Lavigne reminds us just how young that girl really was.

4. Girlfriend

(The Best Damn Thing, 2007)

The Best Damn Thing saw Lavigne switch up her grunge-tinged sound for something brighter and far more bubble-punk. ‘Girlfriend’ led the charge. The insanely catchy track manages to be both a headbanger and something you might hear in Boots. That’s not a negative – the song commercialises Lavigne’s sound without losing the riotous energy that drew listeners to her in the first place, and more than proves her versatility as a performer.

3. I’m With You

(Let Go, 2002)

The original Lavigne power ballad. ‘I’m With You’ is an extraordinary feat for any artist: a huge slow rock anthem with a voice behind it that manages to be both powerful and tender. It’s cinematic and intimate, gentle and massive. The fact that it’s the work of a teenager makes it that much more impressive. We challenge you to try to listen to that final chorus without getting goosebumps.

2. Complicated

(Let Go, 2002)

It’s no wonder that Lavigne’s debut single saw her take off so enormously. Over twenty years later, ‘Complicated’ still has us turning up the volume on the radio. Lavigne’s teenage snark combined with her assured songwriting are still a recipe for success. She delivers a satisfying takedown of a changeable boyfriend with just the right amount of vulnerability and genuine confusion. Confident vocals and to-the-point lyricism take the whole thing from great to an entry in pop history.

1. Sk8er Boi

(Let Go, 2002)

Find us a person who doesn’t get hyped up at that opening guitar riff. Lavigne’s second single from her debut album is a glorious piece of punk-rock meets power-pop, individual and imaginative; the kind of thing that could only ever have come from her. She throws herself into the story of a failed romance, delivering one of her best, most infectious vocals and a “I’m in the story too!” twist that gives most country tracks a run for their money. ‘Sk8er Boi’ just can’t be outdone.

Avril Lavigne is playing UK dates between 6-10 May, including two headline shows at Alexandra Palace. Find tickets here.