He Wasn't

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"He Wasn't"
Avril lavigne he wasn't single.jpg
Single by Avril Lavigne
from the album Under My Skin
ReleasedMarch 28, 2005 (2005-03-28)
FormatCD single
Whitecoat Sound,
(Malibu, California);
The Boat,
(Los Angeles, California)
Producer(s)Raine Maida
Avril Lavigne singles chronology
"Nobody's Home"
"He Wasn't"
"Keep Holding On"
Music video
"He Wasn't" on YouTube

"He Wasn't" is a song by Canadian singer-songwriter Avril Lavigne, released as the fourth and final single from her second album, Under My Skin (2004). It was not released in the United States; instead, "Fall to Pieces" was released. The song was released in Germany, Australia and the United Kingdom. Beforehand, it was a released as a third single in Japan in June 2004. It was written and produced by Lavigne and Chantal Kreviazuk. Allmusic highlighted the song as one of the most significant post-grunge songs of all time.[1]

Song meaning[edit]

"He Wasn't" is about an unsuccessful relationship between Lavigne and a man who appears to be treating her badly, such as not even opening the door to her. The song is a fast and up-beat take on the boyfriend "not being good enough" as opposed to Lavigne's slower paced songs from Under My Skin on the same matter. On a documentary of the making of the "My Happy Ending" music video, "He Wasn't" plays in the background and Lavigne jokes, "'He wasn't what I wanted'...is that a theme on my record?".[citation needed]

Critical reception[edit]

"He Wasn't" was criticized for the shallowness of the lyrics. Sal Cinquemani of Slant magazine described the song as a "crappy faux-punk tune", mostly because of the lyrical content.[2] David Browne of Entertainment Weekly described the song as a "bratty kiss-off" and labelled it "boardroom-approved mall punk" noting that it sounded similar to songs on Lavigne's first album, Let Go.[3]

However, "He Wasn't" has also been praised for its loud, catchy nature; Stephen Thomas Erlewine of Allmusic describes the song as "the fastest, loudest, catchiest, and best song here, and the one closest to the spirit and sound of Let Go".[4] He also highlighted the song as a 'track pick' in a review of the album, Under My Skin.[4] Rolling Stone was positive "The album's best song, a raucous three-minute sprint called "He Wasn't," has a pretty vacant opening line ("There's not much going on today/I'm really bored") and a simple yet ambiguous chorus: "He wouldn't even open up the door/He never made me feel like I was special." but "The words are full of contempt and self-pity, but she sings them like she doesn't really care."[5] Yahoo Music! wrote: ""He Wasn’t" maintains this theme (broken relationship) with a dashing, Clash-style chorus that chastises this young man for not opening doors. Jeez, young women these days - one minute they’re wearing stack-heeled DMs and fairy queen ra-ra skirts and the next they give you hell for not acting like your dad."[6]

Music video[edit]

Lavigne and her band destroy the instruments while pink paint is poured on them by several holes in the studio.

The video features Lavigne singing and her band playing instruments in the background. There are scenes where she dances around wearing white gloves, a pink skirt, and holding a magic wand (she is portraying a fairy), and other scenes where she is wearing devil horns on her head (she is portraying the devil). It turns out that Lavigne and her band are at a video shoot, and later get into a food fight, much to the dismay of the directors - who are played by Lavigne and the band, all dressed up in wigs and suits. Avril then rebels and smashes her guitar into the camera lens, and then into the paper wall, where pink paint splashes out. The video ends with the band dancing and Lavigne doing the splits.

Also, during the shooting of the music video when the pink slime came out, Lavigne tells that days later her hair was still pink and she needed to redye it because during the next days she was scheduled to have a photoshoot with 'Cosmopolitan' and her hair was looking really messy and all pink.[7]

Track listing[edit]

Australia CD single
1."He Wasn't"2:59
2."He Wasn't" (live version)3:38
3."He Wasn't" (live acoustic version)3:14
4."He Wasn't" (music video)3:00
France CD single
1."He Wasn't"2:59
2."He Wasn't" (live version) 
United Kingdom CD single
1."He Wasn't"2:59
2."He Wasn't" (live version)3:38
3."He Wasn't" (music video)3:00
4."Video Diary" 
Australia and United Kingdom CD promo
1."He Wasn't"2:59


Chart (2005) Peak
Australia (ARIA)[8] 25
Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)[9] 35
Belgium (Ultratip Flanders)[10] 2
Belgium (Ultratip Wallonia)[11] 2
Brazil (ABPD)[12] 26
Germany (Official German Charts)[13] 29
Ireland (IRMA)[14] 35
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40 Tipparade)[15] 9
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[16] 99
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[17] 38
Scotland (Official Charts Company)[18] 25
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[19] 43
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[20] 23

Release history[edit]

Country Date Format Label
United Kingdom[21] March 28, 2005 CD single Arista
Australia[22] April 8, 2005
Germany[23] April 18, 2005


Year Awards ceremony Award Results
2005 MTV Video Music Brasil Best International Video Nominated


  1. ^ https://www.webcitation.org/682WFnGFX?url=http://www.allmusic.com/subgenre/post-grunge-ma0000005020/songs Significant Post-Grunge songs
  2. ^ Cinquemani, Sal (20 May 2004). "Avril Lavigne: Under My Skin". Slant Magazine. Retrieved 20 June 2010.
  3. ^ Browne, David (24 May 2004). "Under My Skin (2004)". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 13 August 2010.
  4. ^ a b Thomas Erlewine, Stephen. "Under My Skin: Avril Lavigne". Allmusic. Retrieved 18 March 2009.
  5. ^ https://www.rollingstone.com/music/albumreviews/under-my-skin-20040610
  6. ^ https://www.webcitation.org/query?url=http%3A%2F%2Fuk.launch.yahoo.com%2F040602%2F33%2F1wp8w.html&date=2010-12-19
  7. ^ "Avril talking about the "He Wasn't" video incident". youtube.com. Retrieved 2009-04-08.
  8. ^ "Australian-charts.com – Avril Lavigne – He Wasn't". ARIA Top 50 Singles. Retrieved January 29, 2011.
  9. ^ "Austriancharts.at – Avril Lavigne – He Wasn't" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40. Retrieved January 29, 2011.
  10. ^ "Ultratop.be – Avril Lavigne – He Wasn't" (in Dutch). Ultratip. Retrieved January 29, 2011.
  11. ^ "Ultratop.be – Avril Lavigne – He Wasn't" (in French). Ultratip. Retrieved January 29, 2011.
  12. ^ "Brazil" (PDF). ABPD. October 6, 2001. Retrieved April 1, 2014.
  13. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – Avril Lavigne – He Wasn't". GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved October 29, 2018.
  14. ^ "Chart Track: Week 13, 2005". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved January 29, 2011.
  15. ^ "Top 40 Tipparade week 20 van 2005". top40.nl. Retrieved 1 April 2013.
  16. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Avril Lavigne – He Wasn't" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved 29 January 2011.
  17. ^ "Charts.nz – Avril Lavigne – He Wasn't". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved 29 January 2011.
  18. ^ "Official Scottish Singles Sales Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved January 24, 2019.
  19. ^ "Swisscharts.com – Avril Lavigne – He Wasn't". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved January 29, 2011.
  20. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved January 29, 2011.
  21. ^ https://www.amazon.co.uk
  22. ^ http://www.sonymusic.com.au
  23. ^ http://www.avril.de

External links[edit]