Don't Tell Me (Avril Lavigne song)

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"Don't Tell Me"
Avril Lavigne – Don't Tell Me.png
Single by Avril Lavigne
from the album Under My Skin
B-side"Take Me Away"
ReleasedMarch 1, 2004 (2004-03-01)
Recorded2003
StudioRuby Red Productions
(Atlanta, Georgia)
Skyline Studios
(New York City, New York)
Ocean Way Recording
(Los Angeles, California)
Genre
Length3:22
Label
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)Butch Walker
Avril Lavigne singles chronology
"Losing Grip"
(2003)
"Don't Tell Me"
(2004)
"My Happy Ending"
(2004)
Music video
"Don't Tell Me" on YouTube

"Don't Tell Me" is a song by Canadian singer and songwriter Avril Lavigne from her second studio album Under My Skin (2004). "Don't Tell Me" was written by Lavigne and Evan Taubenfeld, while it was produced by Butch Walker. The song has been noted as having a "grungy sound".[2] "Don't Tell Me" was released on March 1, 2004, by Arista Records as the lead single from Under My Skin and peaked at number 22 on the US Billboard Hot 100 that same year.

In an AOL Radio listener's poll, "Don't Tell Me" was voted Lavigne's ninth best song.[3]

Background and composition[edit]

"Don't Tell Me" has been noted as having a "grungy sound",[2] which builds from a folk-rock verse to a hard rock chorus like a Morissette song[4] When asked what "Don't Tell Me" was about, Lavigne said:

It's about being strong. There are a lot of guys out there who just want to take you out to dinner and then, like basically go home and 'unhh' you. That's what a lot of guys are like and I just think girls need to be strong and not let any guy pressure them into doing anything.

— Avril Lavigne, MTV.com[5]

She also said in a 2007 interview:

When I was writing "Don't Tell Me", I was just, kind of, thinking about what it was like being a girl, and I was seventeen when I wrote that song, so that was all, like, fresh on my mind. I was just coming out of high school, and there's a lot of pressure for girls these days, and I'm happy to have that song, to be able to sing it up on stage every night, and to introduce it with, you know, by telling the audience that this song is all about being strong, and this goes out to all the girls, and it feels good to be able to do that.

— MTV.com

Critical reception[edit]

In a review of the album Under My Skin, David Browne of Entertainment Weekly said "Lavigne herself sounds more burdened; ... the ska8erboi of the first album has turned out to be a selfish, nasty creep who leaves when she won't go to bed with him" in reference to Don't Tell Me.[6] Blender Music wrote that unlike Sk8er Boi the up-with-abstinence single "Don’t Tell Me" finds her kicking him out of bed.[7] The Guardian was mixed: "Current single Don't Tell Me at least has some relevant advice to impart to her pubescent female fans: it depicts a confused and angry Lavigne fending off an over-eager boyfriend."[8]

PopMatters was favorable: "The first single, "Don't Tell Me", is probably the best song on the album, with the kind of wonderfully effusive movement that makes the best pop so damn irresistible. It starts slow and quiet, building to the first chorus, ebbs back, builds to another chorus, drops down into a bridge before coming back with a skull-crunching third chorus that leaves the riff firmly implanted in your skull. One or two reprises and we're out like a light, end of song. At that point you're either convinced or not."[9] Rolling Stone was positive: "The lead single, "Don't Tell Me," might be her most Avril-ish song yet, a petulant kiss-off to a horny boy. As the guitars get revved up behind her, she asks, "Did I not tell you that I'm not like that girl/The one who gives it all away, yeah/Did you think that I was going to give it up to you?" The syntax may be tortured, but the singer sounds just fine: a righteous prude, confidently fending off the creeps."[10] Yahoo Music! liked the song but was angry because there are spelling mistakes in booklet: "we now have a stronger, more confident Avril - forthright in her determination not to lose her cherry on "Don’t Tell Me", which coyly spells ‘ass’ with an ‘a’ and two asterixes on the CD booklet, bitterly writing songs about doomed relationships."[11]

Accolades[edit]

Award/Publisher Year Category Result Ref.
MTV Video Music Awards 2004 Best Pop Video Nominated [12]
MTV Video Music Brazil 2004 Best International Video Nominated [13]
MuchMusic Video Awards 2004 Best International Video By A Canadian Won [14]
People's Choice Favourite Canadian Artist Won
Radio Disney Music Awards 2004 Best Song Nominated [15]
RTHK International Pop Poll Award 2005 Super Gold Song Won [16]
[17]
Top Ten International Gold Songs Won

Music video[edit]

Lavigne breaks a mirror with her hands to vent her anger.

The accompanying music video for "Don't Tell Me" was directed by Liz Friedlander, and filmed in Los Angeles in March 2004.

Synopsis[edit]

The video tells the story of the song. It opens with Lavigne's boyfriend leaving her apartment. After taking her anger out on her bedroom and mirror, she follows him around the city. During the bridge of the song, her boyfriend sees her in many places at once, so he is feeling guilty and her feelings are weighing heavily on his mind. At the end of the video, she decides that he is better off without her and lets him walk away, and in the final shot she begins to float above the surface.[18]

Reception[edit]

The video was nominated for Best Pop Video at the 2004 MTV Video Music Awards, but lost to No Doubt's video for "It's My Life".[19]

Track listing and formats[edit]

Australia CD single
No.TitleLength
1."Don't Tell Me" (single version)3:26
2."Don't Tell Me" (acoustic version)3:38
3."Take Me Away"2:57
France, Germany and UK CD single
No.TitleLength
1."Don't Tell Me" (single version)3:26
2."Don't Tell Me" (acoustic version)3:38
Japan CD single
No.TitleLength
1."Don't Tell Me" (single version)3:26
2."Take Me Away"2:57
International CD single
No.TitleLength
1."Don't Tell Me" (single version)3:26
2."Don't Tell Me" (acoustic version)3:38
3."Take Me Away" (album version)2:57
4."Don't Tell Me" (music video)3:23
Brazil, Europe, Japan, Mexico and US CD promo single
No.TitleLength
1."Don't Tell Me" (album version)3:22

Charts and certifications[edit]

Release history[edit]

Country Date Format Label
United States[57][58] March 1, 2004 Digital download Arista/RCA
March 16, 2004 Mainstream radio
Australia[59] April 19, 2004 (2004-04-19) CD single Arista
Germany[60] April 26, 2004 (2004-04-26)
Japan[61] April 28, 2004 (2004-04-28) BMG Japan
United Kingdom[62] May 10, 2004 (2004-05-10) Arista

References[edit]

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  4. ^ Pareles, Jon (2004). "MUSIC; The Solipsisters Sing Out Once Again". NY Times. Retrieved February 6, 2020. In Don't Tell Me, which builds from a folk-rock verse to a hard rock chorus like a Morissette song, she kicks out a guy who pressures her for sex: Don't try to tell me what to do/Don't try to tell me what to say, she sings.
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External links[edit]