Alice (Avril Lavigne song)
|Single by Avril Lavigne|
|from the album Almost Alice|
|B-side||"Welcome to Mystery"|
|Released||29 January 2010|
3:35 (Original version)|
5:00 (Extended version)
|Avril Lavigne singles chronology|
"Alice" is a song written and performed by Avril Lavigne for Almost Alice, the soundtrack to the 2010 film Alice in Wonderland. An extended version was released as a hidden track on Lavigne's fourth studio album, Goodbye Lullaby (2011).
The song is a mid-tempo ballad sung from the perspective of the film's lead character, Alice. Lavigne wrote the song after asking Disney executives and film director Tim Burton if she could write a song for the film. The song was produced by Butch Walker and mixed by Lavigne's former husband Deryck Whibley.
In January 2010, Lavigne was in a board meeting at the Disney offices going over clothing designs inspired by Alice in Wonderland for her Abbey Dawn line, when she mentioned to the executives that she was writing music for her upcoming album and would love to write a song for the film's soundtrack. Discussions between Lavigne's manager and film executives took place, and director Tim Burton agreed to let Lavigne write the song. Lavigne stated, "I got off the phone, sat down at my piano at home, wrote the song immediately; I was so inspired because I'd been designing for the movie [...] so I had all the images in my head." She played the song for Burton, who later called Lavigne to give his approval and confirm the song would be used for the film.
On his radio show, On Air with Ryan Seacrest, Seacrest called the story a "great lesson," telling his listeners "you ask for what you want. You gotta go for it, because if you didn't ask for it, then you wouldn't have gotten [the opportunity]." "Alice" was premiered on Seacrest's radio show on 27 January, when Lavigne made a surprise visit to the studio. Lavigne described the song as different from her previous work, calling it "a little darker."
The song was played over the film's end credits, and went on to sell 45,000 copies within the first four weeks of its release. Lavigne performed "Alice" on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno on 3 March 2010.
|Los Angeles Times||(mixed)|
In his review for the soundtrack Almost Alice, William Ruhlmann of Allmusic described "Alice" as "a typical piece of self-assertive adolescent pop/rock", noting that it was "ideally suited for heavy rotation on Radio Disney". Todd Martens, writing for the Los Angeles Times, approved of the song's "darker, more angsty vision", adding that it was a return to Lavigne's sound in Under My Skin. He described the beginning of the song as, "promising, with wavy synths caught somewhere between a nightmare and a dream".
The Calgary Herald wrapped its opinion of "Alice" in succinct praise, calling it "one of the best songs of Avril's career", adding that Avril's repertoire does not otherwise live up to its hype. Digital Spy's Nick Levine called the song "a big angsty rock ballad", finding the track "cinematic" and at times "ghostly", before mentioning that the song took several listens to appreciate.
Several critics focused on the lyrics of the song, with mixed reaction. Becky Bain of Idolator began her review commending Lavigne's lyrics for "carry[ing] genuine sentiment," believing that her "words of encouragement" would "resonate" with her teenage fans. Mark Ingoldsby, of 411mania.com, had little to praise in Lavigne's lyrics, stating that Lavigne is "[a]pparently incapable of crafting witty lyrics that paint an interesting picture through creative metaphors." Martens had similar feelings, writing, "[The] listener never really gets a picture of [the] trippy world Lavigne has found herself in."
There was general consensus among critics regarding the chorus of the song, in which Lavigne repeatedly holds a high note for an extended period. Ingoldsby sub-titled his review "Wail of a Fail", but although he could appreciate the beginning of the song, calling it "eerie and captivating" and describing Lavigne's voice as "unremarkable, yet pleasant", he found the rest of the song — from "the second part of the first verse" onwards — to be a "recreation of an Alanis Morissette-style spaz-out session". Bain was also unimpressed with the chorus. "[The] biggest problem with the song is that Lavigne, trying to come off like Amy Lee, is constantly screeching while attempting to hit those high notes. It’s difficult to enjoy a song while you’re wincing during the chorus." Story Gilmore of Neonlimelight.com reviewed Lavigne's live performance on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno. He described the performance as "toned down" and stated that Lavigne showed vocal growth during the performance, "easily shifting from full voice to high notes".
As of October 2011, Alice had sold 373,000 digital copies in the US.
The music video opens with Lavigne following a white rabbit into a forest. As the piano in the soundtrack begins playing, the video briefly cuts to Lavigne's hands playing the notes on a piano. The video returns to Lavigne's character, who trips and falls into a hole near a large tree. Her fall is intercut with shots of Alice (from Burton's film) colliding with objects, including a piano. When Lavigne opens her eyes, she is lying at the bottom of a deep hole, dressed in a black gothic corset dress and stockings imprinted with playing card suits.
When Lavigne climbs out of the hole, she finds herself in Wonderland. The song enters the chorus, and the video cuts and dissolves between Lavigne's character running through the forest and Lavigne singing and performing the song on the piano. The only Wonderland character to make an appearance at this point is a fleeting glimpse of the Cheshire Cat.
She arrives at a tea party, and the Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp) stands, welcoming her with open arms. The scene is edited with footage of the Mad Hatter from Burton's film. As Lavigne sinks into a chair singing, her lyrical "echo" is visually emphasized with her face quickly dissolving in and out. As the verse ends, Lavigne stands and runs away from the scene. The chorus of the song returns to shots of Lavigne running through the forest, arriving at a piano surrounded by giant mushrooms. The video cuts between shots of Lavigne playing the instrument and singing, eventually showing Lavigne running through a misty copse of bamboo trees. Various scenes from the film are shown in succession, before Lavigne is reintroduced running toward an opening in the forest. As she exits the forest, she is dressed in her normal clothing.
Production and release
Lavigne shot the music video for "Alice" on 26–27 January 2010. The video was directed by Dave Meyers, which was partly filmed at the Los Angeles Arboretum. Meyers worked closely with Lavigne to create the video. His intention was to capture "the haunting quality of the song" on video and present it with a gothic feel. Lavigne wanted to include piano sequences to stress the instrument's contribution to the song. Footage from Burton's Alice in Wonderland was edited prominently into the video.
The video premiered online on 17 February 2010.
|German CD single|
|2.||"Welcome to Mystery" (performed by Plain White T's)||4:27|
|North America||27 January 2010||Buena Vista||Radio premiere|
|29 January 2010||Digital download|
|Australia||27 February 2010|
|Europe||28 February 2010||Walt Disney (Europe)|
|Germany||5 March 2010||CD single|
Charts and certifications
|MuchMusic Video Awards||International Video of the Year by a Canadian||Nominated|
|Ur Fave Video (Peoples choice)||Nominated|
|Nickelodeon Kid's Choice Awards Mexico||Favorite Song||Nominated|
|Satellite Award||Best Original Song||Nominated|
|Chart Attack's 16th Annual Year-End Readers' Poll||Best Song||Won|
|MTV Video Music Awards Japan||Best Karaokee! Song||Nominated|
|Best Video from a Film||Won|
|MTV Fan Music Awards||Best Movie Song||Won|
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