What the Hell
|"What the Hell"|
|Single by Avril Lavigne|
|from the album Goodbye Lullaby|
|Released||January 10, 2011|
|Recorded||2010; Maratone Studios (Stockholm, Sweden)|
|Avril Lavigne singles chronology|
"What the Hell" is a song by Canadian singer-songwriter Avril Lavigne from her fourth studio album, Goodbye Lullaby (2011). It was released on January 10, 2011 by RCA Records as the lead single from the album. The song was produced by Max Martin and Shellback, who co-wrote the song with Lavigne. According to Lavigne, she wrote the song as her "personal message for freedom".
Upon its release, "What the Hell" received mostly positive reviews from music critics with many complimenting its catchiness and comparing it to her 2007 single "Girlfriend". The song was successful, reaching number one in Japan, the top five in Asia, the Top 10 in Europe, Australia, South America, Mexico, Canada, and the Top 20 in the US and UK, peaking at eleven and sixteen, respectively.
An accompanying music video for the song was directed by Marcus Raboy and premiered on 23 January. "What the Hell" was performed by Lavigne on several television programs such as Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve, Daybreak, The View, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and on the Much Music Video Awards, America's Got Talent and Britain's Got Talent. Additionally she added the song on the setlist of her The Black Star Tour (2011).
- 1 Background
- 2 Composition
- 3 Reception
- 4 Promotion
- 5 Track listing
- 6 Personnel
- 7 Charts and certifications
- 8 Awards
- 9 Release history
- 10 References
- 11 External links
"What the Hell" is written by Lavigne, Max Martin, and Shellback, while the latter two produced the song. It was recorded at Maratone Studios in Stockholm, Sweden. This is the second song these three have written together, the first one being Miranda Cosgrove's "Dancing Crazy". On November 2010, Lavigne announced via a blog on her official website that her fourth album, Goodbye Lullaby, had been completed for a year and cited her record company as the reason for the album's delays. She revealed in the blog that "What the Hell" would be the first single from the album. The song was premiered on 31 December 2010 on Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve during a pre-taped segment along with a performance of "Girlfriend". Lavigne described "What the Hell" as "a really fun, upbeat party song, so it worked out really well to play it for the first time on New Year's Rockin' Eve." The following day, "What the Hell" was available as a free download for 48 hours from Lavigne's official Facebook page.
"What the Hell" was described as an up-tempo up-tempo pop punk, bubblegum pop, and synthpop song. It has been compared to previous Lavigne's single, "Girlfriend" (2007). It is written in the verse–pre-chorus–chorus form. The track opens with its characteristically "retro keyboard riff" and hand-claps. The inclusion of the keyboard has drawn comparisons to the garage rock genre and the band The Hives. The song also features guitars during the chorus.
Although Lavigne simply described the song as "a broad message about personal freedom", critics have various interpretations. Gil Kaufman of MTV.com suggested that it is a "declaration of independence from a former teen star who is storming back onto the scene". Kaufman proposed Lavigne's public divorce from Sum 41 singer Deryck Whibley, along with friction between her and her record company, as possible themes. Jody Rosen of Rolling Stone magazine called the song "an anthem about a good girl... staying out late, swapping boys and exacting psychological revenge." Heather McDaid of Stereoboard.com was critical of the song's theme being about Whibley: "with such an upbeat song it’s hard to envisage divorce as the underlying subject matter as you listen." Holly Thomas of Frost Magazine suggested Lavigne was "starved of affection from the one she truly loves." Lavigne described the song as "more reminiscent of some of my old pop rock stuff", calling it her "most pop track on the record" and the least personal song from the album.
"What the Hell" received mostly positive reviews and critics have noted similarities between "What the Hell" and Lavigne's previous single, "Girlfriend". Gil Kaufman of MTV.com stated "What the Hell" has "rousing cheerleader energy" and an "infectious groove and peppy vibe". Jody Rosen of Rolling Stone magazine said "the music is easily some of Avril's catchiest yet", describing it as "Avril in a nutshell". Idolator described the song as a "guilty pleasure" and called it "the kind of track we only select after double-checking no one's eyeing our iPod." Nick Levine of Digital Spy gave the song a perfect rating. He explained that Lavigne is "snottier than a tissue tossed in the bin down the flu clinic [but] what's more, she's pulling it off." Levine added that "What the Hell" was not "quite as undeniable" as "Girlfriend" but praised the chorus of the song.
Heather McDaid of Stereoboard.com notes that it "isn’t a revolutionary piece musically but it encompasses the pop-rock sound Avril has been creating over the years". McDaid goes on to say that it is "definitely a song that reflects the older, more fun loving Avril Lavigne." Holly Thomas of Frost Magazine believed that the song lacked maturity and described it as "irritating", but she praised the song for its lyrics and theme. Kirsten Coachman of Blogcritics simply said that people could easily relate to it.
McDaid and Thomas all agreed that some might find the song annoying. Jonathan Keefe from Slant Magazine was more positive: "Martin ensures that lead single "What the Hell" explodes into its chorus to great effect, making its slight refrain of "All my life I've been good/But now I'm thinking 'what the hell'" sound more massive than it probably should". Andy Greenwald from Entertainment Weekly was almost neutral in his review, but admitted that the "Farfisa-fueled What the Hell [will] restore Avril to her rightful place ahead of Katy Perry and Ke$ha in the Sisterhood of the Negligible Pants". Stephen Thomas Erlewine from Allmusic picked the track as one of the best of the album: "'What the Hell' approximates Avril’s irrepressible brattiness only without seeming much fun at all".
"What the Hell" made its debut on the US Billboard Hot 100 on 19 January 2011 at number thirteen and on the US Billboard Hot Digital Songs at number six, with digital sales of over 166,000 units. The following week, What the Hell fell to number 31 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and number 22 on Hot Digital Songs with register sales of 77,000 but climbed back up to 24 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and 13 on the Hot Digital Charts on its third week, climbing to 23 on its fourth week. In its fifth week, it peaked at number 11 on Billboard Hot 100. The song debuted at number eight on the Canadian Hot 100. "What the Hell" also debuted at number four of Canada's Digital Songs chart, with 16,000 downloads. The single becoming Lavigne's third best debut to date, following "Girlfriend" and "Keep Holding On". The song cracked the top-forty on Radio Songs, reaching number twenty-seven; her last single to chart on the Radio charts was "When You're Gone" (2007) at number thirty-seven. "What the Hell" surpassed this Radio Songs peak when it climbed to number thirty-four, being her most played song since "Girlfriend" (2007). As of July 2013, the song sold over 1,972,000 digital copies in the USA.
The single also debuted on the UK Singles Chart at number 29 on 23 January 2011, marking her twelfth top thirty hit on the chart. In its second charting week, the single fell to number 45, in its third week it rose to number 32, and in its eighth week, it has risen to a peak position of number 16. The song debuted at No. 15 on the Oricon in Japan, and sold 5,598 copies the first week. It has been certified Gold in Australia in its third week for sales of 35,000 copies, and in its sixth week, it has been certified Platinum for sales over 70,000 copies, and has been certified 2x Platinum in its 16th week, for sales over 140,000. "What the Hell" has been placed No. 1 in list of biggest hits of 2011 in Japan. With shipments, "What the Hell" sold an estimated 2 million copies in Asia. Even though it missed the top spot in Japan, it is the best selling Western single of 2011 there. It sold more than 6 million copies worldwide, making it her third best selling single behind only "Girlfriend" and "When You're Gone".
Lavigne performed the song live several times. The first performance was on the Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve on 31 December 2010/1 January 2011. She performed it on Daybreak (UK) on 15 February 2011; on T4, BBC Radio 1, The View, Jimmy Kimmel Live!, at Walmart Soundcheck, and on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno on 14 March 2011; and on Sunrise on 31 March 2011, and on the Canadian premiation Much Music Video Awards on June, 19th. On 1 June 2011, Lavigne performed the song on the fifth season of Britain's Got Talent as a medley with "Smile".
The video begins with Lavigne in her bra and panties lying in bed with her love interest, played by Spencer Hill. She gets out of the bed, applies her two fragrances, Black Star and Forbidden Rose, locks her love interest in a walk-in closet, and leaves the house. She walks down the road and steals a taxi. Lavigne's lover begins to chase her on a bike. She gets out of the taxi, which crashes into another vehicle. Lavigne stops to play in a basketball court with other men at the Sixth Street Viaduct. Her love interest finds her, and she runs into a vintage clothing store with an Abbey Dawn collection. Lavigne's mother, Judy, makes a cameo appearance as a clerk in the clothing store. Lavigne starts to grab various items of clothing, mainly pieces from Abbey Dawn. She changes, and walks through the store to a venue. Lavigne waits for her boyfriend in the corridor, and sings the bridge to him. She then runs to the stage and begins performing the final chorus with her band. She stage dives, and finds her love interest in the crowd. The video ends with Lavigne and her lover again lying in bed. The video directed by Marcus Raboy and recorded in 3D. It made its television debut on 23 January 2011, on ABC Family and on UK music channel 4Music. The New York Post criticized the video with its product placement for Sony and Abbey Dawn. Mawuse Ziegbe of MTV said, "Avril Lavigne is officially back, and if her latest video 'What The Hell' is anything to go by, she's still brimming with the pop-punk spunk that made her a superstar nearly a decade ago."
- Digital download
- "What the Hell" – 3:39
- "What the Hell" – 3:39
- "What the Hell" (instrumental) – 3:38
- Japanese CD single
- "What the Hell" – 3:39
- "Alice" (extended version) – 5:00
- "What the Hell" (instrumental) – 3:39
- Other versions
- "What the Hell" (Bimbo Jones remix) – 4:10
- "What the Hell" (Bimbo Jones club mix) – 7:31
- Songwriting – Avril Lavigne, Max Martin, Shellback
- Production and recording – Max Martin, Shellback
- Engineering – Michael Ilbert
- Mixing – Serban Ghenea
- Mix engineer – John Hanes
- Assistant mix engineer – Tim Roberts
- Lead vocals and background vocals, - Avril Lavigne
- Drums, guitar and bass – Shellback
- Keyboards – Max Martin
Credits adapted from What the Hell CD single liner notes.
Charts and certifications
|2011||MuchMusic Video Awards||Ur Fave Artist (Peoples choice)||Nominated|
|International Video of the Year by a Canadian||Nominated|
|MTV Fan Music Awards||Song of the Year||Won|
|2012||Japan Billboard Awards||Airplay Hit of the Year||Won|
|VEVOCertified Awards||100,000,000 Views||Won|
|BMI Awards||Best Pop Song||Won|
|France||10 January 2011||RCA Records||Digital download|
|United States and Canada||11 January 2011|
|United Kingdom||16 January 2011|
|Japan||2 February 2011||Sony Music Japan||CD single|
|Germany||25 February 2011||RCA Records|
- Jones, Anthony (10 November 2010). "Avril Lavigne To Release New Single "What The Hell"". All Headline News. Archived from the original on 10 November 2010. Retrieved 10 November 2010.[unreliable source?]
- Lipshutz, James (7 December 2010). "Avril Lavigne to Release 'Goodbye Lullaby' Album in March". Billboard. Retrieved 8 December 2010.
- Greenblatt, Leah (27 December 2010). "Avril Lavigne talks about her new album, (sort of) working with Rihanna, and where she'll be New Years Eve: An EW Q&A". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on 27 December 2010. Retrieved 27 December 2010.
- Smith, Stacy Jenel (30 December 2010). "Avril Lavigne 'Anxious to Get Out There Again'". PopEater. Archived from the original on 31 December 2010. Retrieved 3 January 2011.
- Sciarretto, Amy (28 December 2010). "Avril Lavigne to Offer Free Download of "What the Hell" on New Year's Day". ARTISTdirect. Archived from the original on 2 January 2011. Retrieved 2 January 2011.
- Levine, Nick. "Avril Lavigne: 'What The Hell'". Digital Spy. Archived from the original on 12 January 2011. Retrieved 12 January 2011.
- Lunn, Ethan. "Avril Lavigne – Goodbye Lullaby Track By Track Album Review". Retrieved May 25, 2015.
- Hickey, Dara. "Single Review: Avril Lavigne - 'What The Hell?'". Retrieved May 25, 2015.
- "On The Download: Avril Lavigne's 'What The Hell'". Retrieved May 25, 2015.
- Kaufman, Gil (3 January 2011). "Avril Lavigne Says 'What The Hell' With Infectious New Single". MTV. Archived from the original on 9 January 2011. Retrieved 9 January 2011.
- Rosen, Jody (29 December 2010). "Avril Lavigne "What the Hell"". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 9 January 2011. Retrieved 9 January 2011.
- McDaid, Heather (13 January 2011). "Avril Lavigne – What The Hell (Single Review)". Stereoboard.com. Archived from the original on 13 January 2011. Retrieved 13 January 2011.
- Thomas, Holly (13 January 2011). "We love: Avril Lavigne’s ‘What The Hell’". Frost Magazine. Archived from the original on 14 January 2011. Retrieved 14 January 2011.
- Coachman, Kirsten (14 January 2011). "Music Review: Avril Lavigne – "What The Hell"". Blogcritics. Archived from the original on 14 January 2011. Retrieved 14 January 2011.
- "Avril Lavigne Raises "What The Hell" On New Year’s Eve". Idolator (website). 1 January 2011. Archived from the original on 11 January 2011. Retrieved 11 January 2011.
- Keefe, Jonathan (6 March 2011). Avril Lavigne: Goodbye Lullaby| Music Review| Slant Magazine Slant Magazine. Retrieved 2011-03-11
- Greenwald, Andy (6 March 2011). Goodbye Lullaby| Music Review|EW.com Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2011-03-11
- Thomas, Stephen Thomas(8 March 2011). Goodbye Lullaby- Avril Lavigne| Allmusic Allmusic – A Rove Corporation. Retrieved 2011-03-11
- Trust, Gary (19 January 2011). "Britney Spears' 'Hold It Against Me' Debuts Atop Hot 100". Billboard. Retrieved 19 January 2011.
- "The Muscle Behind Decemberists' No. 1? NPR And Amazon". Billboard.biz. 27 January 2011. Retrieved 28 January 2011.
- Tuch, Paul (21 January 2011). "BRITNEY SPEARS SCORES RARE NO. 1 DEBUT". The Nielsen Company. Archived from the original (PDF) on 20 January 2011. Retrieved 19 January 2011.
- Avril Lavigne Album & Song Chart History Billboard Retrieved 2011-03-19
- Gary, Trust. "Ask Billboard: Why Do Some Songs Fade Out And Others End Cold?". Billboard. Retrieved July 5, 2013.
- "Radio 1 – The Official Chart with Reggie Yates – The Official UK Top 40 Singles Chart". BBC. Retrieved 2011-02-23.
- "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 2011 Singles". Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved 16 March 2011.
- "Osakan Hot 100 Year Chart". Osakan Hot 100. 19 August 2011. Retrieved 19 August 2011.
- Video: What the Hell at Jay Leno
- Collins, Leah (10 January 2011). "Preview Avril Lavigne's New 3-D Video". Dose. Archived from the original on 15 January 2011. Retrieved 15 January 2011.
- Ziegbe, Mawuse (23 January 2011). "Avril Lavigne Plays Hard To Get In 'What The Hell' Video". MTV. MTV Networks. Retrieved 18 August 2011.
- Brockington, Ryan (24 January 2011). "A guide to selling out by Avril Lavigne". The New York Post. Retrieved 17 February 2011.
- "What the Hell – Single". iTunes Store. Apple Inc. Retrieved 22 January 2011.
- "What the Hell [Single]". Amazon.de. Retrieved 22 January 2011.
- "What the Hell – Single" (in French). iTunes Store France. Apple Inc. Retrieved 22 January 2011.
- "What The Hell" (in Japanese). HMV Group Japan. Retrieved 22 January 2011.
- What the Hell (liner notes). Avril Lavigne. RCA Records. 2011.
- "Australian-charts.com – Avril Lavigne – What the Hell". ARIA Top 50 Singles. Retrieved 7 February 2011.
- "Austriancharts.at – Avril Lavigne – What the Hell" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40. Retrieved 9 February 2011.
- "Ultratop.be – Avril Lavigne – What the Hell" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved 18 March 2011.
- "Ultratop.be – Avril Lavigne – What the Hell" (in French). Ultratop 50. Retrieved 18 March 2011.
- "Avril Lavigne Album & Song Chart History" Canadian Hot 100 for Avril Lavigne.
- "ARC 2011 Edition" (in Croatian). HRT. 2012-01-10. Retrieved 2012-03-31.
- "ČNS IFPI" (in Czech). Hitparáda – Radio Top 100 Oficiální. IFPI Czech Republic. Note: insert 201113 into search. Retrieved 5 April 2011.
- "Lescharts.com – Avril Lavigne – What the Hell" (in French). Les classement single. Retrieved 13 February 2011.
- "Officialcharts.de – Avril Lavigne – What the Hell". GfK Entertainment. Retrieved 11 March 2011.
- "Archívum – Slágerlisták – MAHASZ" (in Hungarian). Rádiós Top 40 játszási lista. Magyar Hanglemezkiadók Szövetsége. Retrieved 25 May 2011.
- http://www.asiri.or.id/[dead link]
- "Chart Track: Week 5, 2011". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved 10 February 2011.
- "Italiancharts.com – Avril Lavigne – What the Hell". Top Digital Download. Retrieved 22 January 2011.
- "Japan Hot 100". Billboard—Japan. Prometheus Global Media. 24 January 2011. Retrieved 24 November 2013.
- "Adult Contemporary Airplay". 24 January 2011. Retrieved 24 November 2013.
- "Discography of Avril Lavigne". Oricon. Retrieved 24 November 2013.
- "Nederlandse Top 40 – Avril Lavigne search results" (in Dutch) Dutch Top 40. Retrieved 23 March 2011.
- "Dutchcharts.nl – Avril Lavigne – What The Hell" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved 23 March 2011.
- "Charts.org.nz – Avril Lavigne – What the Hell". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved 22 January 2011.
- "SNS IFPI" (in Slovak). Hitparáda – Radio Top 100 Oficiálna. IFPI Czech Republic. Note: insert 201107 into search. Retrieved 2011-02-22.
- "Gaon Digital Chart". 9–15 January 2011. Retrieved 24 November 2013.
- "Swedishcharts.com – Avril Lavigne – What the Hell". Singles Top 60. Retrieved 21 March 2011.
- "Swisscharts.com – Avril Lavigne – What the Hell". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved 23 February 2011.
- "March 2011/ Archive Chart: 19 March 2011" UK Singles Chart.
- "Avril Lavigne Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Hot 100 for Avril Lavigne.
- "Avril Lavigne Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Pop Songs for Avril Lavigne.
- "Avril Lavigne Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Adult Pop Songs for Avril Lavigne.
www.recordreport.com.vewas invoked but never defined (see the help page).
Cite error: The named reference
- "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 2011 Singles". Australian Recording Industry Association.
- "Italian single certifications – Avril Lavigne – What The Hell" (in Italian). Federazione Industria Musicale Italiana. Select Online in the field Sezione. Enter Avril Lavigne in the field Filtra. The certification will load automatically
- "Paid music certification for February 2014" (in Japanese). Recording Industry Association of Japan.
- "New Zealand single certifications – Avril Lavigne – What The Hell". Recording Industry Association of New Zealand.
- "American single certifications". Recording Industry Association of America. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH
- "Ultratop Annual 2011". Ultratop. 2011. Retrieved 2011-12-09.
- "MAHASZ Rádiós TOP 100 2011". Mahasz (in Hungarian). Retrieved 22 February 2012.
- "Japan Hot 100 Year-End". Billboard—Japan. Prometheus Global Media. 2011. Retrieved 24 November 2013.
- "Lebanese NRJ TOP 100 of 2011". NRJ. Retrieved 1 September 2013.
- "Gaon Digital Chart: Year-End". 2011. Retrieved 24 November 2013.
- "Year End Chart 2011" (PDF). OfficialChartsCompany. Retrieved 2014-04-05.
- "Best of 2011: Hot 100 Songs". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. 2011. Retrieved 2011-12-09.
- Adult Contemporary Airplay｜JAPAN Charts｜Billboard JAPAN
- "Chart Highlights: Adult Pop, Rap Songs & More". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. 17 January 2011. Retrieved 18 January 2011.
- "The Hell: Avril Lavigne: Amazon.fr: MP3 Downloads". Amazon.fr. Archived from the original on 9 January 2011. Retrieved 9 January 2011.
- "Amazon.com: What The Hell: Avril Lavigne: MP3 Downloads". Amazon.com. Archived from the original on 17 December 2010. Retrieved 17 December 2010.
- "What the Hell – Single: Avril Lavigne: CDJapan.co.jp: Music". CDJapan.co.jp. Retrieved 20 January 2011.
- "What the Hell – Single: Avril Lavigne: Amazon.de: Music". Amazon.de. Retrieved 20 January 2011.