Complicated (Avril Lavigne song)

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"Complicated"
Single by Avril Lavigne
from the album Let Go
B-side "I Don't Give"
"Why"[1][2]
Released 14 May 2002 (2002-05-14)
(see release history)
Format CD single, digital download
Recorded 2001-2002
Genre Pop rock[3]
Length 4:04
Label Arista, RCA[4]
Writer(s) Avril Lavigne, Lauren Christy, Scott Spock, Graham Edwards
Producer(s) The Matrix
Certification 2× Multi-Platinum[5] (ARIA Charts)
Platinum[6](ABPD – Brazil)
Avril Lavigne singles chronology
"Complicated"
(2002)
"Sk8er Boi"
(2002)
Music video
"Complicated" on YouTube

"Complicated" is the debut single by Canadian singer-songwriter Avril Lavigne, released in 2002 from her debut album, Let Go.[7] It was written by Lavigne and The Matrix (Scott Spock, Lauren Christy, and Graham Edwards), and produced by The Matrix. The single reached number one in Australia (for six weeks), New Zealand and Mexico (for nine weeks), number two on the Billboard Hot 100 and number three in the United Kingdom. Based on its chart performance, the song is Lavigne's second most successful single (only behind her 2007 single "Girlfriend") and was one of the most successful releases of 2002. Lavigne broke a record set by Natalie Imbruglia's "Torn" when "Complicated" held the number one spot on the Adult Top 40 chart for 16 weeks in a row.[8] "Complicated" was nominated for two Grammy Awards for Song of the Year and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance.

Background and release[edit]

After being signed to Arista Records in November 2000 upon the authorization of the label's CEO, Antonio "L.A." Reid, Lavigne moved to New York with the assistance of Reid. There, she began working on her debut album, Let Go, collaborating with a host of prime songwriters and producers.[9] For six months, the label set up Lavigne with two co-writers, who worked with her upon Arista's instructions. Reid expected Lavigne to record folk songs because she auditioned to them in a "balladic, 'new country'" type. However, the collective failed to click "with a girl who'd just discovered guitar-based rock".[10] For a year, nothing was working for Lavigne and was on the verge of getting dropped off Arista.[11] The management pitched her songs written by other songwriters, but she declined, insisting she wanted to write songs herself.[12] Lavigne relocated to Los Angeles, where she collaborated with songwriter-producer Clif Magness, who gave her ample creative control in the writing process. Lavigne and Magness wrote "Losing Grip" and "Unwanted", songs that she deemed reflective of her vision for the entire album.[13] However, Arista was not thrilled with the heavy-guitar laden songs that Lavigne was writing, prompting the label to look for other producers to match their demands.[14]

Two years since she signed the deal, Lavigne came to the attention of the three-piece production team The Matrix. Arista could not find the right direction for Lavigne, so the team's manager, Sandy Roberton, suggested that they work together.[15] According to member Lauren Christy, they had been listening to Lavigne's early songs and felt they contained "a Faith Hill kind of vibe". As soon as they saw Lavigne coming into their studio, The Matrix felt that her musical direction was incongruous to her image and attitude.[15] After talking to Lavigne for an hour, the singer said she wanted songs with punk rock inclinations.[10] They told her to come back the following day, and in the afternoon during that day, they wrote a song that evolved into "Complicated" and another song called "Falling Down". They played it to Lavigne when she came back the following day, inspiring her what path she should take.[15]

When Josh Sarubin, the A&R executive who signed Lavigne to the imprint, heard the song, he knew it was right for her. Lavigne presented the song to Reid, who agreed the musical direction Lavigne and The Matrix were taking, and set "Complicated" as the album's lead single.[15]

Composition and lyrics[edit]

"Complicated" is a song about how people can be fake. Lavigne said about the song: "People sometimes bother me how they're not real and how they're just, like, putting on a face and being two-faced". Lavigne stated that she experienced this with both boyfriends and female friends.[16]

Music video[edit]

The video, directed by The Malloys, starts with Lavigne asking her bandmates if they want to "crash" the mall. They respond with enthusiasm, and skateboard there. The video features Lavigne and the band harassing shoppers and employees, generally causing havoc around the mall; for example, Lavigne watches her band try on humorous clothing which is fittingly shown as Lavigne sings the line "You come over unannounced, dressed up like you're something else".

This is intercut with footage of Lavigne performing the song at a skatepark while playing the guitar, with her band performing with her. People can be seen skateboarding around Lavigne as she and her band perform the song. As the line "You fall and you crawl..." is sung, a skateboarder can be seen falling over.

The video was shot at Eagle Rock Plaza, Los Angeles, in 2 days. During the shooting, the mall remained open.[17]

Reception[edit]

In 2009, Rolling Stone Magazine readers voted "Complicated" as the eighth Top single of the decade.[18] "Complicated" also ranked at #197 in Blender magazine's "The 500 Greatest Songs Since You Were Born".[19] Billboard ranked it at No. 83 of the 'Top 100 Singles of the Decade'.[20] In an AOL Radio listener's poll, "Complicated" was voted Lavigne's sixth best song.[21]

David Browne of Entertainment Weekly gave the song a B- and said "Avril Lavigne's not kidding about that title, she's the epitome of the blossoming anti-Britney movement".[22] Christina Saraceno of Allmusic described 'Complicated' as "a gem of a pop/rock tune with a killer chorus" and noted similarities between it and the Pink song "Don't Let Me Get Me".[3] Saraceno highlighted the song as a "track pick" in a review of the album, Let Go.[3]

On a more negative note, Sal Cinquemani of Slant magazine described 'Complicated' as "infectious" and "more poser than punk".[23] In a review of Lavigne's second album, Under My Skin, David Browne of Entertainment Weekly noted that "Complicated felt like strung-together bits of Morissette songs".[24]

Commercial performance[edit]

As of July 2013, "Complicated" had sold 921,000 digital copies in the US.[25]

The Canadian single of "Complicated" has shipped over 100,000 copies in Canada, where the song has been awarded the gold and platinum single certifications by the CRIA for, respectively, shipments of at least 50,000 and 100,000 singles shipped.The single was certified 2× Platinum in Australia.[5]

Awards and Nominations[edit]

Lavigne won Best New Artist in a Video at the 2002 MTV Video Music Awards for "Complicated".[26] "Complicated" won in the Single of the Year category at the 2003 Juno Awards. In the United States, the song was nominated at the 2003 Grammy Awards for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance and Song of the Year;[27] it lost both awards to Norah Jones's "Don't Know Why". In Brazil it was nominated in the category of best international video at the 2003 MTV Video Music Brazil.[28]

Year Awards ceremony Award Results
2002 MTV Video Music Awards Best New Artist in a Video Won
2003 Grammy Awards[21] Best Female Pop Vocal Performance Nominated
Song of the Year Nominated
Juno Awards Single of the Year Won
MTV Video Music Awards Japan Best New Artist Video Won
Video of the Year Nominated
Best Female Video Won
BMI Awards Best Pop Song Won
ASCAP Film and Television Music Awards Best Pop Song Won
Radio Music Awards Song of the Year (Modern Adult Contemporary Radio) Won
Ivor Novello Awards International Hit of the Year Won
Canadian Radio Music Awards Best New «CHR» Solo Won
Best New Solo «Mainstream AC / Hot AC» Won
Socan Awards Pop Music Award Won
MTV Video Music Brasil Best International Video Won
2011 EVMA 2011 Video of the Decade Nominated

Track listing[edit]

Australia CD single
No. Title Length
1. "Complicated"   4:03
2. "I Don't Give"   3:39
3. "Why"   4:00
Canada, Mexico and United Kingdom CD single
No. Title Length
1. "Complicated"   4:03
2. "I Don't Give"   3:39
3. "Why"   4:00
4. "Complicated" (music video) 4:14
Japan, France, Italy and Netherlands CD single
No. Title Length
1. "Complicated" (the Matrix remix) 4:08
2. "I Don't Give"   3:39
United States CD single
No. Title Length
1. "Complicated" (Tom Lord-Alge remix) 4:08
2. "Complicated" (the Matrix remix) 4:03

Charts and certifications[edit]

Year-end charts[edit]

Chart (2002) Position
Australian Singles Chart[45] 8
Austrian Singles Chart[46] 3
New Zealand Singles Chart[47] 1
Swiss Singles Chart[48] 9
UK Singles Chart[49] 3
US Billboard Hot 100 11

Decade-end charts[edit]

Chart (2000–2009)
position
US Billboard Hot 100 83

Release history[edit]

Region Date Label Format
United States 14 May 2002 (2002-05-14) Arista Records CD, digital download
Europe 8 July 2002 (2002-07-08) Sony BMG
United Kingdom 23 September 2002 (2002-09-23) Arista Records

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Avril Lavigne – Complicated". discogs. Retrieved 5 September 2010. 
  2. ^ "allmusic ((( Complicated > Overview )))". AllMusic. Retrieved 10 September 2010. 
  3. ^ a b c Saraceno, Christina. "Let Go: Avril Lavigne". AllMusic. Retrieved 14 March 2009. 
  4. ^ http://www.1029now.com/pages/playlist-2/
  5. ^ a b "ARIA Charts – Accreditations 2002 Singles". aria.com.au. Retrieved 19 December 2008. 
  6. ^ "CERTIFICADOS". ABPD. Retrieved 10 September 2010. 
  7. ^ itunes.apple.com, "Let Go". Retrieved 6 September 2006.
  8. ^ "Avril Lavigne Trivia". tv.com. Retrieved 1 January 2008. 
  9. ^ Pak, SuChin; D'Angelo, Joe. "Avril Lavigne: The Real Deal". MTV. Retrieved 14 March 2009. 
  10. ^ a b Willman, Chris (1 November 2002). "Avril Lavigne The Anti-Britney". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 14 March 2009. 
  11. ^ Corey, Moss (13 May 2003). "Britney Spears, Avril Lavigne Fall into The Matrix". MTV. Retrieved 14 March 2009. 
  12. ^ Kaufman, Gil (21 May 2002). "It's Not 'Complicated' — 17-Year-Old Avril Lavigne Was Born To Rock". MTV. Retrieved 14 March 2009. 
  13. ^ Eliscu, Jenny (20 March 2003). "Little Miss Can't Be Wrong". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 16 March 2009. 
  14. ^ Jackson, Blair (1 November 2002). "Recording Vocals". Mixonline.com. Retrieved 16 March 2009. 
  15. ^ a b c d Buskin, Richard (April 2006). "The Matrix: Writing & Producing in LA". SOS. Retrieved 18 March 2009. 
  16. ^ Avril Lavigne (14 October 2008). Avril Lavigne talking about COMPLICATED (Streaming video). YouTube. Event occurs at 0:15. Retrieved 5 September 2010. 
  17. ^ "Avril Paradise – Videografia" (in Italian). avril-paradise.com. Retrieved 12 January 2009. 
  18. ^ "Rolling Stone Top singles of the decade". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 8 December 2009. 
  19. ^ "The 500 Greatest Songs Since You Were Born: 151–200". Blender.com. Retrieved 8 December 2007. 
  20. ^ "Billboard Hot 100 Songs of the decade". Billboard. Retrieved 11 December 2009. 
  21. ^ a b Cheung, Nadine. "Top 10 Avril Lavigne Songs". AOL Radio. Archived from the original on 15 January 2011. Retrieved 15 January 2011. 
  22. ^ Browne, David (5 August 2002). "Complicated: Avril Lavigne". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 10 September 2010. 
  23. ^ Cinquemani, Sal. "Slant Magazine Review". Retrieved 7 August 2010. 
  24. ^ Browne, David (24 May 2004). "Under My Skin (2004)". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 7 August 2010. 
  25. ^ "Sales updates on Avril Lavigne". Billboard. 5 July 2013. Retrieved 9 July 2013. 
  26. ^ "MTV Video Music Awards 2002 – Winner". MTV. Retrieved 20 December 2008. 
  27. ^ "Grammy Awards: ecco le nominations" (in Italian). delrock.it. Retrieved 20 December 2008. 
  28. ^ "MTV divulga lista de indicados ao VMB 2003" (in Portuguese). areavip.com. Retrieved 24 December 2008. 
  29. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n "Avril Lavigne – Complicated". Retrieved 10 September 2010. 
  30. ^ "Danish Chart". Retrieved 10 September 2010. 
  31. ^ "Avril Lavigne on Billboard.com". Retrieved 10 September 2010. 
  32. ^ "Archívum – Slágerlisták – MAHASZ – Magyar Hanglemezkiadók Szövetsége" (in Hungarian). Rádiós Top 40 játszási lista. Magyar Hanglemezkiadók Szövetsége. Retrieved 2010-12-08.
  33. ^ "UK Album Chart: Complicated". ChartStats.com. Archived from the original on 12 March 2012. Retrieved 28 June 2010. 
  34. ^ "Artist Chart History". Retrieved 10 September 2010. 
  35. ^ a b "Billboard Music-(Allmusic.com)". Retrieved 10 September 2010. 
  36. ^ "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 2002 Singles". Australian Recording Industry Association. 
  37. ^ "Austrian single certifications – Avril Lavigne – Complicated" (in German). IFPI Austria.  Enter Avril Lavigne in the field Interpret. Enter Complicated in the field Titel. Select single in the field Format. Click Suchen
  38. ^ "Ultratop − Goud en Platina – 2002". Ultratop & Hung Medien / hitparade.ch. 
  39. ^ "Brazilian single certifications – Avril Lavigne – Complicated" (in Portuguese). Associação Brasileira dos Produtores de Discos. 
  40. ^ "Paid music certification for May 2012" (in Japanese). Recording Industry Association of Japan. 
  41. ^ "New Zealand single certifications – Avril Lavigne – Complicated". Recording Industry Association of New Zealand. 
  42. ^ "Norwegian single certifications – Avril Lavigne – Complicated" (in Norwegian). IFPI Norway. 
  43. ^ "Guld- och Platinacertifikat − År 2002" (PDF) (in Swedish). IFPI Sweden. 
  44. ^ "The Official Swiss Charts and Music Community: Awards (Avril Lavigne; 'Complicated')". Hung Medien. 
  45. ^ "ARIA Charts – End of Year Charts – Top 100 Singles 2002". Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved 2011-01-14. 
  46. ^ "Austrian Annual Charts 2002". AustrianCharts.at. Retrieved 2011-01-14. 
  47. ^ Recording Industry Association of New Zealand (2002). "New Zealand Annual Chart". rianz.org.nz. Retrieved 2011-01-14. 
  48. ^ "Swiss Year-End Charts 2002". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved 2011-01-14. 
  49. ^ "2002 UK Official Singles Chart" (PDF). Charts Plus. Retrieved 2011-01-14. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
"A Thousand Miles" by Vanessa Carlton
Australia ARIA Singles Chart number-one single
18 August 2002 – 22 September 2002
Succeeded by
"The Logical Song" by Scoooter
Preceded by
"Two Wrongs" by Wyclef Jean featuring Claudette Ortiz
New Zealand RIANZ Singles Chart number-one single
18 August 2002 – 13 October 2002
Succeeded by
"The Tide Is High (Get the Feeling)" by Atomic Kitten
Preceded by
"How You Remind Me" by Nickelback
Juno Award for Single of the Year
2003
Succeeded by
"Powerless (Say What You Want)" by Nelly Furtado