Sk8er Boi

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"Sk8er Boi"
Single by Avril Lavigne
from the album Let Go
B-side "Get Over It"
Released 27 August 2002 (2002-08-27)
(see release history)
Format CD single, digital download
Genre rock,[1] pop punk,[2] power pop[3]
Length 3:24
Label Arista
Writer(s) Avril Lavigne, Lauren Christy, Scott Spock, Graham Edwards
Producer(s) The Matrix
Certification Platinum (RIAA)
Platinum[4] (ARIA)
Platinum[5] (ABPD - Brazil)
Avril Lavigne singles chronology
"Complicated"
(2002)
"Sk8er Boi"
(2002)
"I'm with You"
(2002)
Music sample
Music video
"Sk8er Boi" on YouTube

"Sk8er Boi" (/ˈsktər bɔɪ/, "skater boy") is a song by Canadian singer-songwriter Avril Lavigne, released as the second single from her debut album, Let Go (2002). It was written by Avril Lavigne and The Matrix (Scott Spock, Lauren Christy, and Graham Edwards), and produced by The Matrix. The song is a pop punk and power pop track, which lyrically, tells a story told from the singer's viewpoint about her rocker boyfriend and a girl he knew in high school who rejected him because he was a skateboarder and she was a snob.

The song received critical appreciation, with most commending its hook, calling the song "funny" and "clever". It also received a Grammy nomination for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance at the 2003 edition. Commercially, "Sk8er Boi" was a success, reaching the top-ten in more than ten countries, such as Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States (becoming Lavigne's second top ten single on the Billboard Hot 100 chart).

The music video for the song, directed by Francis Lawrence, features a concert on a city street with Lavigne singing on the hood of a car with a crowd rocking out around her. It was a success on TRL and was voted one of the best music videos of the decade by BT TV. The song was covered by Europop band Cascada, as well as by Kidz Bop Kids, while it was featured in all of the concerts and tours held by Lavigne, since her first, "Try to Shut Me Up Tour" (2002-2003) until her latest, "The Avril Lavigne Tour" (2013-2014).

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.[6] While being on the verge of getting dropped off Arista, after an unsuccessful year of writing, Lavigne came to the attention of the three-piece production team The Matrix,[7] who later discovered that she wanted songs with punk rock inclinations.[8] After writing "Complicated" together, L.A. Reid agreed with the musical direction Lavigne and The Matrix were taking, and sent Lavigne back to The Matrix to work with them on more songs.[9]

During the sessions, they wrote 10 songs, with "Sk8er Boi" being one of the six songs on the album's final tracklist. After the huge success of "Complicated", "Sk8er Boi" was selected as the album's second single, being the more controversial choice, according to L.A. Reid: "Some people just really didn't get that. And with the first video, there was some concern that maybe because it's so young and so playful, it might alienate more serious music lovers."[10]

Composition and lyrics[edit]

"Sk8er Boi" was written by Avril Lavigne, while the production team The Matrix (consisting of Lauren Christy, Graham Edwards and Scott Spock) co-wrote, arranged and produced the track.[11] "Sk8er Boi" is a pop punk[2] and power pop song[12] about a snobby girl who rejects a skateboarder, letting friends' prejudices sway her decision-making.[13] Later he becomes a superstar (playing guitar on MTV), while she turns into a single mom.[14]

The song's lyrics, including the line "He was a punk/She did ballet/What more can I say," were criticized. Christina Saraceno of Allmusic wrote that on "Sk8er Boi", "she shows her lyrical shortcomings."[3] A poll on the website MagPieMusic.com voted the song's lines "He was a boy, she was a girl. Can I make it any more obvious?" at fourth place, in its list of "Worst Lyrics of All Time".[15]

Critical reception[edit]

The song received critical acclaim, with most of critics praising its production. In a review for the album Let Go, Christina Saraceno of Allmusic called "Sk8er Boi" a "terrific power pop bounce", highlighting the song as a "track pick".[3] Brendan Schroer of Sputnikmusic praised the track, writing that Lavigne "brings another injection of infectious vocal work, peppy but not overbearing."[2] Nick Reynolds of BBC Music called it "brilliant", considering the song "a classic high energy pop song with crunchy guitars and a great hook." He also praised its tale, calling it "as slick and clever as an episode of Buffy. It bowls you over with its energy and sticks in your mind."[14] Pat Blashill of Rolling Stone agreed, calling it "seventeen-year-old Lavigne's signature moment," further adding: "Over a rush of nouveau-punk guitar chords, she narrates a funny story line, but none of it would matter if Lavigne didn't have a voice, equal parts baby girl and husky siren, that seems capable of setting off car alarms several city blocks away."[16]

Accolades[edit]

In an AOL Radio listener's poll, "Sk8er Boi" was voted Lavigne's fourth best song.[17] Robert Copsey of Digital Spy listed Lavigne's 7 best singles of all time, placing "Sk8er Boi" at number 4, saying: "Lavigne proved she was more than a one-hit wonder with her second single 'Sk8er Boi'. Despite the rebellious spelling of the title it turned out to be another solid effort, telling the tale of a girl who rejects a baggy-clothed boy who eventually goes on to be world-famous."[18] Bill Lamb of About.com placed the song at number 2, writing: "It has been derided in the past as being too naive lyrically. However, with the benefit of hindsight, it seems perfectly pitched to her audience and the point in her career. The power pop hook of the song sticks strongly in your head. Later perky pop excursions still pale next to this one."[19]

Commercial performance[edit]

The song followed the success of Lavigne's debut single, "Complicated", which topped many charts worldwide and reached the top-ten in others. In Australia, "Sk8er Boi" debuted at its peak position, number three, and remained a further week there.[20] In New Zealand, the song managed to spent 9 weeks until reach the peak position, number two, on 8 December 2002.[21] In Brazil, the song managed to reach the top position, becoming her second consecutive number-one single.[22][23]

In the United States, "Sk8er Boi" debuted at number 72 on the Billboard Hot 100 issue date 14 September 2002,[24] while on the issue date 2 November 2002, the song peaked at number 10.[25] It became Lavigne's second consecutive top-ten hit.[12] The song also topped Billboard's Top 40 Mainstream airplay chart.[26] As of July 2013, Sk8er Boi had sold 755,000 digital copies in the US.[27] In the United Kingdom, the song was also a success, reaching number eight on the UK Singles Chart on 28 December 2002.[28]

Awards and nominations[edit]

"Sk8er Boi" was nominated and won many awards. In the 2003 Grammy Awards edition, Lavigne received 5 nominations, including Best Female Rock Vocal Performance for "Sk8er Boi", but lost it to Sheryl Crow's "Steve McQueen". The song won "Favorite Song" at the 2003 Kids' Choice Awards, "Choice Music Single" at the 2003 Teen Choice Awards and "Best Pop Song" at "Socan Awards.[17]

Music video[edit]

The music video was directed by Francis Lawrence and premiered on 22 August 2002 on TRL.[29] The video shot to number-one on TRL on its second day of the countdown.[30] The video was considered the third 'Best music video of the decade' in the UK by BT Vision,[31] while ET Canada ranked the video at number 2 on her "Top 10 Best Music Videos".[32]

Synopsis[edit]

The video centers around an impromptu concert held by Lavigne in a Los Angeles street intersection. It begins by showing multiple people of Lavigne's band promoting the concert in advance via graffiti, flyers, email and posters. Lavigne and her band arrive at the location and begin performing on the roof of their cars; a crowd quickly gathers. Towards the end of the song, police cars and a helicopter arrive to disperse the crowd, while Lavigne uses her guitar to break the car windscreen. Lavigne then throws the guitar onto the road and looks up at the helicopter, where a shot was taken for the single's artwork.[33]

Cover versions and appearances in other media[edit]

In 2003, Paramount Pictures optioned the song for adaptation into a feature film, hiring writer/producer David Zabel to adapt its words. The film would focus on the two teens from different backgrounds and the social constraints in which they find themselves. [26] However, as of April 2008, the film has apparently been abandoned or is in development hell.[34] Eurodance group Cascada recorded a dance cover of the song for the European and Japanese editions of their 2007 album Perfect Day.[35] Kidz Bop Kids also did a rendition of the track for their album Kidz Bop 4 (2003), with an accompanying music video.[36]

A cover version of the song by Angela Michael appears in the video game Elite Beat Agents for the Nintendo DS.[37] The song is also included in SingStar Pop, a PlayStation 2 game[38] and another cover version is featured in Rock Revolution by Konami.[39] The song was also used in a montage of funny rollerskates and skateboard clips in an edition of America's Funniest Home Videos. "Sk8er Boi" was featured in the television series Cold Case (Season 3, "The Promise", October 2, 2005).[40] In 2008, HBO included the song in the episode "Get Some" of the miniseries Generation Kill. The song is sung by Cpl. Josh Ray Person as he is urinating in the desert.[41]

Track listing[edit]

Australia CD single
No. Title Length
1. "Sk8er Boi"   3:23
2. "Get Over It"   3:27
3. "Nobody's Fool" (live in Vancouver for Z95) 3:58
United Kingdom and Mexico CD single
No. Title Length
1. "Sk8er Boi"   3:23
2. "Get Over It"   3:27
3. "Nobody's Fool" (live in Vancouver for Z95) 3:58
4. "Sk8er Boi" (music video) 3:38
France CD single
No. Title Length
1. "Sk8er Boi"   3:23
2. "Get Over It"   3:27
Australia, United Kingdom and United States CD promo
No. Title Length
1. "Sk8er Boi"   3:23
Japan CD promo
No. Title Length
1. "Sk8er Boi (Live)" (live from Buffalo) 4:10
United States vinyl promo
No. Title Length
1. "Sk8er Boi" (side A) 3:23
2. "I'm with You" (side B) 3:44

Charts and certifications[edit]

Release history[edit]

Region Date Label Format
United States 27 August 2002 (2002-08-27) Arista Records CD, digital download
Australia 28 October 2002 (2002-10-28) Bertelsmann Music Group, RCA Records
Europe 6 December 2002 (2002-12-06)

References[edit]

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External links[edit]