Rock n Roll (Avril Lavigne song)

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"Rock n Roll"
Avril Lavigne Rock n Roll cover.png
Single by Avril Lavigne
from the album Avril Lavigne
ReleasedAugust 23, 2013
RecordedHenson Recording Studios, Maratone Studios
Avril Lavigne singles chronology
"Here's to Never Growing Up"
"Rock n Roll"
"Let Me Go"
Music video
"Rock n Roll" on YouTube

"Rock n Roll" is a song by Canadian recording artist Avril Lavigne. It was released as the second single from her self-titled fifth studio album by Sony Music Entertainment on August 23, 2013. The song was written by Lavigne, David Hodges, Chad Kroeger, Jacob Kasher Hindlin, Rickard B. Göransson and Peter Svensson and was produced by Peter Svensson.

"Rock n Roll" is an upbeat pop punk song, and lyrically it is a declaration of rebellion on which the singer puts up her "middle finger to the sky" to "let 'em know that she's still rock and roll," refusing to behave like an adult. The song received critical praise from music critics, and was highlighted as one of the standout tracks on the album.

"Rock n Roll" performed moderately on the charts, reaching number one in South Korea and Taiwan, and number five in Japan, respectively. The song failed to make impact elsewhere, peaking at number 37 in Canada and number 91 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart. The music video directed by Chris Marrs Piliero shows Lavigne in full combat mode, conspiring with Danica McKellar (playing a character called Winnie Cooperre) in an attempt to "save rock and roll".

Background and release[edit]

After "Here's to Never Growing Up", Lavigne announced that "Rock n Roll" will be the second single from her "self-titled fifth studio album", asking to her fans on her Twitter page, on 18 July 2013, to unlock the single's cover art.[1] After her fans tweeted so much and a consistent worldwide trending topic, Lavigne released the cover art for "Rock N Roll" and gave her fans an exclusive listen to the song, uploading the full audio onto her YouTube account.[1]

Lavigne announced via Twitter that "Rock n Roll" would be digitally released on 30 July 2013,[2] but later announced on the day that it had been pushed back and it would be released to coincide with the song's music video. The date was later confirmed to be 27 August 2013.[3]

Composition and lyrics[edit]

"Rock n Roll" was written by Lavigne, Chad Kroeger, David Hodges, Peter Svensson, Rickard Goransson and Jacob Kasher Hindlin[4] with production being handled by Svensson, Goransson and Martin Johnson.[5] The song is an upbeat, pop punk song, which according to "MTV News"'s Jocelyn Vena, "sonically and thematically, picks up where her first single, 'Here's to Never Growing Up,' left off, thanks to its sing-along chorus, rocking beat and carpe diem attitude."[6] For Sam Lansky of Idolator, the songwriting of the song handled by Dr. Luke protege Jacob Kasher, David Hodges from Evanescence and Peter Svensson from The Cardigans, "is a funny marriage of execrable alt-rock pedigree and genius pop pedigree."[7] Lansky also noted that the song has "a 'stomp-stomp-clap' loop that shamelessly apes Queen's 'We Will Rock You', strategically placed gang vocals and a post-chorus 'Hey!' hook so catchy it’s effectively burning holes in your brain."[7]

Lyrically, "Rock n Roll" is a "boisterous" declaration of rebellion on which the singer puts up her "middle finger to the sky" to "let 'em know that she's still rock and roll,"[6] promising "she’ll never cover up her tattoo and revealing that she prefers her jeans ripped."[8] "I don't care if I'm a misfit, I like it better than the hipster bulls**t," she admits on the opening of the song, over bouncy, cheerleader-esque stomps.[9] In the chorus, Lavigne declares, "When it’s you and me, we don’t need no one to tell us who to be / We keep turning up the radio / When it’s you and I, just put up our middle finger to the sky / Let ‘em know that we’re still rock n roll."[7]

Critical reception[edit]

"Rock n Roll" was universally acclaimed by music critics. Robert Copsey of Digital Spy gave the song 4 out of 5 stars, writing that "Rock n Roll" features "the best of her bratty, hook-laden rock-pop; and we're safe in the knowledge Avril wouldn't have it any other way," also writing that, "it wouldn't sound out of place on a One Direction album."[9] In another review for Digital Spy, Copsey noted that "she yells, 'Let's get wasted!' with the same rebellious charm that feels nothing if reassuringly familiar."[10] Sam Lansky of Idolator praised the track, writing that "it’s deliriously, thrillingly wonderful, maybe even better than 'Here's to Never Growing Up'," pointing out that, "It’s a little shouty and bratty like 'Sk8er Boi' or 'Girlfriend', and not quite as sweet as 'Growing', but with a pop chorus that’s absolutely jaw-dropping and 100% sincere."[7] Sputnikmusic staff called the song "the catchiest song on the entire album."[11] B30 Music Reviews lauded the song, calling it "pretty spectacular", stating that the "pure gratitude" track "tears it apart on production value", however stated that the song was slightly similar to her previous single "Here's to Never Growing Up".[12]

While reviewing the album, Jason Lipshut of Billboard Magazine wrote that the song is "as good of a lead-off track as any: bombastic, sneering but defiantly listenable, 'Rock n Roll' reveals its best details -- the chunkiness of the guitar solo, the line 'I ain't never gonna cover up that tattoo' -- in repeated listens."[13] Elliot Robinson of So So Gay picked it as a "standout track", calling it "brilliant".[14] Direct Lyrics gave a positive review, stating the song "rocks" and should have been picked as the album's lead single, praising the song's "epic production, cheeky lyrics" and "catchy melody", favorably comparing to her 2002 single "Sk8er Boi", however noted the song's potential lack of radio appeal.[15] Amy Sciarretto of PopCrush gave the song 2 and a half out of 5 stars. Sciarretto called the song "overly enunciated" and "standard issue Avril", however praised the guitar solo which provided a "tougher timbre". Sciarretto concluded her review by stating Lavigne's fans would "love" the song, however that "it likely wouldn't bring her any new fans.

"Rock N Roll" was named by as 'The Best Superhero-themed Music Video of all-time' beating Taylor Swift's 'Bad Blood' and many more.

Commercial performance[edit]

"Rock n Roll" performed modestly on the charts worldwide, not matching the success of the previous single, "Here's to Never Growing Up". In the United States, "Rock n Roll" only peaked at number 91 on Billboard Hot 100 chart, becoming her lowest charting single since "Hot" (2007), staying only one week on the charts.[16] While in Canada, the single managed to enter the top-forty, peaking at number 37 on the Canadian Hot 100, but only stayed on the charts for two weeks.[16] In Australia, the song debuted and peaked at number 45 on the ARIA Charts.[17]

The single proved to be more successful in East Asia, reaching the top-five in two countries. In South Korea, the single debuted at number 2, with sales 26,637,[18] while in the next week, the song took over the number-one spot with 23,153 downloads sold. It's the fourth best-selling song by a foreign artist in September 2013 in South Korea with 46,865 downloads. In October the song fell to number eighty with 9,383 copies sold. "Rock N Roll" debuted at number 91, and rose to number 5, on the week ending 12 October 2013. The song re-entered into the charts dated on 15 November 2013 when she performed the latter song in TV station Japan.To date, "Rock N Roll" has sold more than 500.000 copies worldwide.

Music video[edit]

Lyric video[edit]

A lyric video for "Rock n Roll" - featuring fan-made videos submitted through Instagram - was released onto Lavigne's official Vevo account on 12 August 2013. Irish duo Jedward, make a cameo in the lyric video.[19]

Background and release[edit]

On 25 July 2013, Lavigne began shooting the music video for the song, directed by Chris Marrs Piliero. It features actress Danica McKellar,[20] Billy Zane and Sid Wilson of the band Slipknot.[21] According to Courtney E. Smith of, the video "takes all kinds of ideas from the 1995 cult film Tank Girl including the comic book inspired opening credits and the punk-meets-military costuming. Avril even wears the blonde hair with pink streaks that Lori Petty sported as the titular character."[22] Four teaser videos were released on 13, 16, 18 August and 19 August 2013 respectively, followed by the full video on 20 August 2013.[23]


Cquote1.png "It was the first kiss for both of us. We never really talked about it afterward. But I think about the events of that day again and again, and somehow I know Winnie does too"
—Lavigne talking about the kiss shared with Danica McKellar, directly quoting the voiceover from the pilot episode of The Wonder Years.[24]

The music video opens with a promo for Sony Xperia Z1 which includes a reference to one of Lavigne's earliest hits "Sk8er Boi" during which the singer recites a few of the song's lyrics on the phone.[25] As she hangs up, the phone screen shows the opening scene of the storyline, where Lavigne is dressed in army wear, dancing in front of a diner and a vehicle. The theme of the video revolves around the singer and her crew taking on the mission of "Saving Rock N Roll."[24] An attack by bear and shark crossbreed hybrids called the "bearsharks" threatens the existence of Rock N Roll. The bearshark kills off the character Billy Zane portrays. In a diner, Lavigne is on a date with her girlfriend. She shreds the waitress's outfit to make her look hotter, then she notices the bearshark in disguised form and fights him. He throws a baby at her but she tosses the baby away. The bearshark gets away after scaring Lavigne and her crew with a lobster.[26]

The scene where Lavigne and McKellar share a kiss.

After defeating the lobster, the singer, her girlfriend and their dog follow the bearshark. During the car chase, the drunken dog crashes into a tree, dying. After a dialogue between Lavigne and her girlfriend, they mourn the dog, agree that it will all be all right and then kiss, followed by a brief monologue from Lavigne talking about the former.[27] During the dog's funeral, Lavigne unlocks a magical guitar from his casket, which she plays the song's guitar hook with in the front yard of a church (which is inspired in the Guns N' Roses Music Video, "November Rain", where Slash appears doing a solo with his guitar in the front of a church), then she uses it to slay the bearshark, who finally appears in his real form. After her victory, Lavigne gets a thumb up from Billy Zane, who flies off into the sky on a segway. She smiles and raises her guitar into the sky. The picture turns into a drawing and the credits roll.[28]


Actor Billy Zane received positive response for his cameo in the video.

The video had mixed reception from critics. Natalie Finn of E! Online wrote the video is "Part cartoon, part comedy and somewhat fierce, 'Rock N Roll' is all girls-just-want-to-have fun shenanigans."[24] Jason Lipshut of Billboard praised the video, writing that, "The video (which takes most of its cues from the comic book world) is loud, unsubtle and utterly fantastic," writing that some of the highlights of the music video is "the post-car crash kiss with Danica McKellar, Lavigne ripping off her nemesis' mustache to reveal his true identity and of course, the oddball cameo from the 'Titanic' villain (Billy Zane)."[28] Sam Lansky of Idolator also enjoyed the video, writing that, " It’s colorful, flashy and surprisingly funny, and it shows why Avril’s self-aware teenage brat routine is so irresistible."[29] Bill Lamb of wrote the video "is all charming, humorous, action packed fun."[30]

Samantha Martin of Pop Dust wrote "the video is the weirdest and also the greatest", expressing that, "[...] when Avril Lavigne makes things more complicated, she ends up with a masterpiece."[31] Nicole James of Fuse called it "a mind-boggling hodgepodge of weird moments," writing that Avril "wins this one."[32] In a negative review, Melinda Newman of HitFix criticized the video, for "moving at a fast clip," because it "feels compelled to put in 'shocking' moments, like a really bad joke about a dog licking its balls, and a stunningly unsexy girl-on-girl kiss between Lavigne and McKellar. It is only when Lavigne is leaning up against her souped-up getaway vehicle singing or when she grabs a very cool guitar that she seems remotely in her element." Newman also wrote that, "It’s almost painful to watch her try to emote her way through her tough-girl antics."[26] The video was highly met with positive feedback when it was able to grab 5th position on Yahoo's top 10 music videos of 2013. Similarly PopCrush also expressed the same reviews on the song claiming it to be the best music video of 2013

Live performances[edit]

On 26 September 2013, Lavigne performed the song on the Jimmy Kimmel Live Show to a large audience outside the studio. The performance had Lavigne dressed in a black-and-silver "pop-punk finery", while her backup dancers — and, the giant bearshark from her "Rock N Roll" video — started the set while perched on a Jeep before making their way to the stage mid-song, with "well-timed" smoke bombs punctuated the performance of the track."[33] Lavigne also performed the song on "Extra", when she stopped by Universal Studios Hollywood to talk with Mario Lopez about her album.[34]

On 30 September 2013, Lavigne performed the track on The Queen Latifah Show. Mike Wass of Idolator commented that the singer performed the song for "a less than appreciative audience," praising Lavigne, which according to her, "looked and sounded great but it was hard to watch her belt out an ode to never growing up while the crowd clapped along like church parishioners."[35]

Track listing[edit]

Digital download[36]
  1. "Rock n Roll" - 3:26
CD single (Walmart exclusive)
  1. "Rock n Roll" (Squeaky Clean Edit) - 3:26
  2. "Rock n Roll" (Instrumental) - 3:27

Credits and personnel[edit]


Credits adapted from the liner notes of Avril Lavigne (2013), Epic Records.[5]

Charts and certifications[edit]

Release history[edit]

Region Date Format Label
Italy[58] 23 August 2013 Contemporary hit radio Sony
United States[3][59][60] 26 August 2013 (2013-08-26) Top 40 Radio Epic Records
27 August 2013 Digital download, CD single
Australia[61] Digital download Epic Records, Sony Music
Taiwan[63] CD single Sony Music
United Kingdom[36] 27 October 2013 Digital download Epic Records, Sony Music


Year Awards ceremony Award Results
2014 PopCrush Fan Choice Awards Video of the Year Nominated
2014 MTV Video Music Awards Japan Best Karaokee! Song Nominated
2014 MuchMusic Video Awards Best video by a Canadian Nominated
2015 [64] The Best Superhero-Themed Music Video Won


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External links[edit]