Girlfriend (Avril Lavigne song)

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Avril Lavigne - Girlfriend.png
Single by Avril Lavigne
from the album The Best Damn Thing
Released27 February 2007 (2007-02-27)
Length3:37 (album version)
3:25 (Dr. Luke Remix)
Avril Lavigne singles chronology
"Keep Holding On"
"When You're Gone"
Dr. Luke Remix
Avril Lavigne - Girlfriend (Dr. Luke Remix).jpg

"Girlfriend" is a song by Canadian singer-songwriter Avril Lavigne. The song was written by Lavigne and producer Dr. Luke for Lavigne's third studio album, The Best Damn Thing (2007). "Girlfriend" was released as the lead single from the album on 27 February 2007 by Columbia and RCA Records.[4] Lyrically, the song revolves around its protagonist having a crush on someone who is in a relationship, proclaiming she should be his girlfriend. The song has been noted to have similarities to Toni Basil's 1982 single "Mickey", and The Rubinoos' 1979 single "I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend". The songwriters of "I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend" sued Lavigne and Dr. Luke for copyright infringement; the suit was later settled.

"Girlfriend" received generally positive reviews from music critics, who complimented its catchiness. The song was a worldwide success, peaking at the top spot of the charts in eight countries, including Australia, New Zealand, and the United States. It additionally charted in the top ten of most other countries. The song's accompanying music video, directed by The Malloys, sees Lavigne portraying three alter-egos, with all of them fighting over the same guy. In June 2007, the song's official remix, featuring American rapper Lil Mama, was released. Lavigne performed the song a number of times, including at the 2007 MuchMusic Video Awards, the 2007 Teen Choice Awards, and the 2008 Juno Awards.

The song's success made it a mainstay of pop music in the late 2000s. "Girlfriend" was certified multi-platinum in Australia and the United States. It was among the top-selling songs of 2007, with over 7.3 million worldwide sales. In 2008, the song became the most viewed video on YouTube, and was the first video on the site to reach 100 million views. Rolling Stone ranked the song number thirty-five on their list of "Top 100 Songs of 2007" list. Several versions of the song were released with the chorus sung in multiple languages. In 2010, the song was named the ninety-fourth most successful song on the Hot 100 in the 2000s decade. Allmusic highlighted the song as one of the most significant punk-pop songs of all time.[5]

Background and composition[edit]

"Girlfriend" was written by Lavigne and Dr. Luke, who also produced the song.[6] "Girlfriend" is a moderately fast pop punk,[1][2][3] and power pop[3] song at 152 beats per minute, performed in the key of D major. Lavigne's vocal range spans from A3 to D5.[7]

The song's chorus was recorded in seven different languages other than English – Japanese, French, Spanish, Mandarin, Italian, German and Portuguese.[8]

Critical reception[edit]

"Girlfriend" received generally positive reviews from contemporary music critics. The song was No. 35 on Rolling Stone's list of the 100 Best Songs of 2007.[9] This song was also No. 77 on MTV Asia's list of Top 100 Hits of 2007.[10] Also was listed as the number 1 hit of 2007 according to MTV Latin America.[11] "Girlfriend" also won the Best Song of the Year at the 2008 Kids' Choice Awards. It beat "Big Girls Don't Cry", "Don't Matter", and "Beautiful Girls". Billboard ranked "Girlfriend" the twelfth best song of 2007.

Reviewers have noted similarities between Girlfriend and other songs. One similarity is to The Rubinoos' 1979 single "I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend", in which they sing "Hey hey, you you, I wanna be your boyfriend" similar to "Hey hey, you you, I could be your girlfriend" in "Girlfriend".[12] Similarities have also been noted to Toni Basil's "Mickey".[13][14][15]

Stephen Thomas Erlewine of AllMusic highlighted the song as a 'track pick' in a review of the album, The Best Damn Thing.[12] He complimented the album for opening with Girlfriend, describing the song as a "bright bubblegum blast".[12] Focusing on Girlfriend in a review for The Best Damn Thing, Chris Willman of Entertainment Weekly said "If the girls of Heathers formed a Runaways tribute band, it would sound exactly like this".[16] Alex Macpherson of The Guardian newspaper labelled Girlfriend as "brilliantly addictive".[17] Jon Pareles of The New York Times called Girlfriend the best song off the album and stated it used "cleverly manipulated echoes and attacks to sound as if Ms. Lavigne were charging in from all directions".[18] Sal Cinquemani of Slant Magazine was more negative on the song and states that Lavigne can't "pull off the pink pumps or punky pout with any kind of believability".[19] MuchMusic praised the success of the song because of the mix of various genres "she can succeed in punk, rock and pop with her bubblegum anthem Girlfriend".[20]

Chart performance[edit]

Because of digital download sales in excess of 122,000, the song debuted at number five on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart, the highest debut of her career.[21] Afterwards it became Lavigne's first song to reach number one on the Hot 100, in the issue dated 5 May 2007; her previous highest peak on the chart was with 2002's "Complicated", which reached number two.[22] It remained in the top ten for 18 weeks, which was two more than the year-end #1 single of 2007, Irreplaceable.[23] It became the last number one hit on that chart by a Canadian female artist until 2012's "Call Me Maybe" by Carly Rae Jepsen. In Canada, the song debuted at number 1. As of September 2015, "Girlfriend" has sold 3.8 million copies in the United States.[24]

In Japan, the song has been certified Million for more than 1,000,000 sales through ringtones and 3x Platinum for 750,000 sales. Thus, the song has sold more than 3,000,000 copies there making it the best-selling single by a western female artist of all time on Japan.

"Girlfriend" debuted on the Australian ARIA Singles Chart at number three. The following week it reached number-one, and it remained at the top for six non-consecutive weeks, equalling Lavigne's previous number-one single on the ARIA Charts, "Complicated". After three weeks on the charts, it was certified gold by ARIA, then platinum after seven weeks for sales in excess of 70,000 copies.[25] It was then certified double platinum, with sales in excess of 140,000. In 2008, it was certified quadruple platinum for sales of 280,000.[26]

On the UK Singles Chart, "Girlfriend" peaked at number two, surpassing "Complicated" as Lavigne's highest peaking single on the chart. The song ended 2007 as the years 20th biggest-selling single in the UK and spent 28 weeks inside the chart and is Lavigne's biggest hit in the UK to date.[27] It became the best selling song of 2007 worldwide with around 5 million copies outside the US.To date, "Girlfriend" has sold over 10 million copies worldwide.

It won the Award for "Canción del Año" (Song of the Year) in "Los Premios MTV Latinoamérica 2007" (The Latin American MTV Awards) and was nominated for "Monster Single" in the MTV Video Music Awards 2007. It won Most Addictive Track (Single of the Year) at the MTV Europe Music Awards.


On 25 May 2007 Lavigne, Gottwald, RCA Records, and Apple Inc. were sued by James Gangwer and Tommy Dunbar (songwriters for The Rubinoos) over claims that "Girlfriend" infringed their copyright on their 1979 song "I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend".[28]

Lavigne's manager, Terry McBride, denied that "Girlfriend" was copied from "I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend", and pointed out that "Boyfriend" itself is similar to The Rolling Stones' song "Get off of My Cloud". In addition, Avril Lavigne herself posted on MySpace that the Rubinoos' song had a similar title and vocal hook to the Ramones' "I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend", released in 1976.

McBride said he hired a musicologist to compare the songs. According to McBride, the musicologist reported that the songs were totally dissimilar, even a different meter. In July 2007, McBride said that Lavigne had no plans to settle the case, but would consider the costs of defending the case against those of settling.[29] An undisclosed settlement was reached between Lavigne and the Rubinoos in January 2008.[30] Gangwer and Dunbar released a statement saying that the similarities between the songs were based on "certain common and widely used lyrics" and that they "completely exonerate Lavigne and Gottwald from any wrongdoing of any kind in connection with the claims made by us in our lawsuit."[31]

Music video[edit]

Lavigne as three of her alter-egos in the video for "Girlfriend".


The music video was directed by The Malloys and filmed at Golf N' Stuff in Norwalk, California. They praised the video for "sounding different than most female artist at the time and for its very punk rock-pop feel, something she does better than anybody."[32]


It features two girls: one with glasses and red hair (Lavigne), and one with a rebellious persona and black hair (also Lavigne). The video begins inside a family fun entertainment center where the red-haired girl and her boyfriend are walking together. The black-haired girl sees her and shows her an intimidating disposition, to which the former ignores. As the couple walk away, the black-haired Lavigne begins to sing the song and tries her luck on the red-haired girl's boyfriend. Featured in the video are scenes of black-haired Lavigne fighting over the man with the red-haired Lavigne and trying to outdo her repeatedly. Between the scenes we see Lavigne, now with pink-streaked blonde hair, singing with her band accompanying her at the back. The video also featured this Lavigne and her friends dancing in a restroom.

After the starting scene, the video shows them at Li'l Indy, where they ride go-carts. Here, black-haired Lavigne is seen viciously bumping the car of the red-haired Lavigne, causing her to spin around and lose control. Next, the red-haired Lavigne and her boyfriend get inside a photo booth where black-haired Lavigne slips in and grabs the red-haired girl away before they take pictures. Black-haired Lavigne's friends then block the red-haired girl's way (by positioning themselves at the booth entrance) to give her more time.

The couple are now seen eating together, where black-haired Lavigne sees them yet again, throws the food away and kisses the red-haired girl's boyfriend, much to the latter's surprise and anger. It is nighttime when the couple decide to head over to a miniature golf course to while away some time playing, where the red-haired girl cheerfully wins.

Unfortunately for her, black-haired Lavigne and her friends happen to be present at the venue as well. As soon as she and her friends see them, black-haired Lavigne hits her in the head with a golf ball, resulting in the red-haired girl splashing down into the water. Her boyfriend tries to grab her hand but misses, to black-haired Lavigne's amusement. Finally, the man, who eventually develops feelings for black-haired Lavigne, is seen waiting for her. As she comes toward him, they soon hold hands together, but red-haired girl sees this and attempts to seize black-haired Lavigne. But black-haired Lavigne and the man manage to dodge her, and in her attempt to win back her boyfriend, she tumbles all the way down and lands in a portable toilet ahead, where she gives a look of desperation towards the camera, showing she has failed to do so, and signalling that black-haired Lavigne has finally won the man's affections. Blonde Lavigne then takes her new boyfriend into a bathroom stall and slightly opens the door after a moment and pumps her arm in victory.

Lavigne's boyfriend in the video is played by American model Bryan McMullin and dresses similarly to the "rocker" Lavigne in the video. The video features Lavigne's previous guitarist Evan Taubenfeld, and Lavigne's brother Matt on bass.[33]


On 18 July 2008, "Girlfriend" became the most viewed video at that time on YouTube[34] and in August of that year, surpassed 100 million views, becoming the only YouTube video available at that time to reach that milestone (although CSS's "Music Is My Hot Hot Sex" had reached that milestone a couple months before, it has been removed from the website under accusations that the views had been fraudulent).[35][36] The YouTube video of the song was accused of having an exaggerated number of views due to the use of a web link posted by AvrilBandAids, a fansite devoted to Lavigne.[37] Clicking on the link would automatically reload the YouTube video of "Girlfriend" every fifteen seconds. Fans of Lavigne were encouraged to: "Keep this page open while you browse the internet, study for exams, or even sleep. For extra viewing power, open up two or more browser windows at this page!"[38] However, the fansite later revealed that no "cheating" had taken place, and that the link had merely been a ruse to draw more attention to the video, thereby attracting additional views. It is expected that Lavigne's YouTube video views have earned in excess of US$2,000,000[citation needed]. In November 2009, RCA Records removed the video of the song from YouTube, by which time it had received around 130 million views.[39] A new upload of the music video is now officially hosted on Lavigne's Vevo channel on YouTube, with over 480 million views as of October 2019.[40]

The song is featured on the soundtrack to the video game Burnout Dominator in four different languages which includes Japanese, Spanish, Mandarin and English.[41] The song is also featured in Burnout Paradise which only includes the English Version.[42]

The BBC Chart Show reported a sharp divide in reaction to the video.[43] A criticism of the video was that it was damaging to Lavigne's claims to integrity by imitating younger girls' fashions and encouraging poaching of boyfriends from other girls.[43]

Dr. Luke Remix[edit]

Lil Mama and Lavigne shot a video for the remix of "Girlfriend", which was directed by R. Malcolm Jones.[44]

Live performances[edit]

Lavigne performed the song on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno on 15 June 2007.[45] She also performed on Saturday Night Live.

Track listings and formats[edit]

CD single[46]
  1. "Girlfriend"
  2. "Alone"
Japan CD single[47]
  1. "Girlfriend" (Radio edit) – 3:38
  2. "Girlfriend" (Instrumental) – 3:36
Junkie XL remix digital download
  1. "Girlfriend" [Junkie XL Mix] - 3:41
  2. "Girlfriend" [Junkie XL Extended Mix] - 5:44
Dr. Luke remix edition [iTunes only]
  1. "Girlfriend" (Dr. Luke remix, featuring Lil Mama) - 3:25
  2. "Girlfriend" (album version) - 3:36
  3. "Girlfriend" (original music video) - 3:48
  4. "Girlfriend" (Dr. Luke remix, featuring Lil Mama) [music video] - 3:25
Ringle edition
  1. "Girlfriend" (Dr. Luke remix, featuring Lil Mama)
  2. "Girlfriend" (Japanese version) [clean edit]
  3. "Keep Holding On"
  4. Ringtone1

1 A code was included on the CD to download the ringtone online.

Zebrahead version[edit]

Zebrahead Girlfriend.png
Single by Zebrahead
from the album Panty Raid
Released20 September 2009
RecordedMarch–April 2009
GenrePop punk, rap rock
LabelSony BMG
Producer(s)Cameron Webb, Matt Beckley
Zebrahead singles chronology
"The Juggernauts"
"Underneath It All"
Music video
"Girlfriend" on YouTube

In September 2009, American punk rock band Zebrahead released "Girlfriend" as the first single off their album Panty Raid, which was released on 4 November 2009 in Japan and 8 December in the rest of the world. It peaked in the Hot Modern Rock Tracks in the first week in the No. 84 position.

The music video of the song was released in 2009 and is a parody of the original "Girlfriend" video, with band members Ali playing the "Bad Avril" and Matty playing the good one.[48]


Chart (2009) Peak
Japan (Japan Hot 100)[49] 83

Credits and personnel[edit]

Credits adapted from The Best Damn Thing liner notes.[50]



Region Certification Certified units/sales
Australia (ARIA)[96] 4× Platinum 280,000^
Austria (IFPI Austria)[97] Gold 15,000*
Belgium (BEA)[98] Platinum 15,000*
Brazil (Pro-Música Brasil)[99] Platinum 100,000*
Canada (Music Canada)[100] 2× Platinum 80,000*
Italy 25,000[101]
Japan (RIAJ)[102] Million (Ringtone) 1,000,000^
3× Platinum (Track) 750,000^
Gold (PC) 100,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[104] Gold 535,000[103]
United States (RIAA)[105] 2× Platinum (Digital) 3,800,000[24]
Platinum (Ringtone) 1,000,000^
Worldwide (IFPI 7,300,000[94]

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Ceremony Award Result Ref.
2007 Chart Attack's Year-End Readers' Poll Best Song Won [106]
J-Wave Awards Song of the Year Nominated [107]
Los Premios MTV Latinoamérica 2007 Won [108]
2007 MTV Europe Music Awards Most Addictive Track Won [109]
2007 MTV Video Music Awards Monster Single of the Year Nominated [110]
2007 MuchMusic Video Awards Best International Video By A Canadian Won [111]
People's Choice Favourite Canadian Artist Won
Nickelodeon Australian Kids' Choice Awards 2007 Fave Song Nominated [112]
Nickelodeon UK Kids' Choice Awards 2007 MTV Hits Best Music Video Won [113]
Planeta Awards 2007 Pop/Hip Hop Song of the Year Nominated [114]
Premios Oye! Main English Song of the Year Nominated [115]
2007 Radio Disney Music Awards Best Song Nominated [116]
Best Song to Dance Won
Best Song to Sing to an Ex Nominated
Best Video That Rocks Nominated
2007 Teen Choice Awards Choice Music: Single Won [118]
Virgin Media Music Awards Best Track Nominated [119]
2008 ASCAP Pop Music Awards Most Perfomed Song Won [120]
Capricho Awards Best Video at YouTube Nominated [121]
Imperio Music Awards Song of the Year Won [122]
Best Pop Video Won
Juno Awards of 2008 Single of the Year Nominated [123]
Japan Gold Disc Awards Mastertone of the Year Won [124]
Single Track of the Year (Mobile) Won
MTV Asia Awards 2008 Best Hook-up Nominated [125]
MTV Italian Music Awards Best Number One of the Year Nominated [126]
2008 MTV Video Music Awards Japan Best Pop Video Won [127]
Best Karaokee! Song Nominated
Myx Music Awards 2008 Favorite International Video Nominated [128]
2008 MuchMusic Video Awards Most Watched Video Nominated [129]
2008 Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards Favorite Song Won [130]
Popstars Awards Best Video Nominated [131]
SOCAN Awards SOCAN Salutes Won [132]
Pop/Rock Music Award Won
RTHK International Pop Poll Award Top Ten International Gold Songs Won [133]

See also[edit]


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