Writer(s): Avril Lavigne, Lauren Christy, Scott Spock, Graham Edwards (see lyrics here)
Released: April 23, 2002
First Charted: April 13, 2002
Peak: 2 US, 18 RR, 13 AC, 116 A40, 3 UK, 1, 16 AU (Click for codes to singles charts.)
Sales (in millions): 1.1 US, 0.89 UK, 3.0 world (includes US + UK)
Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 0.8 radio, 510.68 video, 510.0 streaming
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About the Song:
Canadian singer/songwriter Avril Lavigne was 17 years old when her debut single, “Complicated,” was released. The song went all the way to #2 on the Billboard Hot 100, halted by Nelly’s “Hot in Herre.” The song reached the top in Australia, Canada, Mexico, and New Zealand.
She’d signed to Arista Records in November 2000. They’d also initially seen her as singing folk songs, but she had “just discovered guitar-based rock.” WK After she was teamed with the production team The Matrix, they worked with her punk-rock leanings and wrote what evolved into “Complicated.” WK There was some controversy over how much Lavigne contributed to the song. She said she wrote most of the lyrics, but The Matrix said they crafted most of the song. SF
The song is about the facades people create. As Lavigne said, “People sometimes bother me how they’re not real and they’re just, like, putting on a face and being two-faces.” WK Despite the song’s theme, there was a very concerted effort to market her with a certain image, specifically that of “an indie-punk tomboy” who wrote her own songs. SF Entertainment Weekly’s Daid Browne said Lavigne was “the epitome of the blossoming anti-Britney movement.” WK
Sal Cinquemani of Slant magazine saw the song as “more poser than punk” WK but All Music Guide’s Christina Saraceno said the song was “a gem of a pop/rock tune with a killer chorus.” WK It song was nominated for Grammys for Song of the Year and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance. It also won Best New Artist in a Video at the 2002 MTV Video Music Awards. It won a Juno Award for Single of the Year and an Ivor Novello Award for International Hit of the Year.
First posted 2/13/2021; last updated 4/3/2022.