The Bottom Line
On first blush Avril Lavigne's "What the Hell," the first single from her upcoming fourth studio album Goodbye Lullaby, sounds like just another perky Max Martin helmed pop singalong. However, in the context of the breakup of 26 year old Avril Lavigne's marriage, the words take on a more resonance. Listening a few more times, as with much of her best work, the sentiments are, no pun intended, more complicated than first thought.
- Irresistible pop melody
- Intriguing lyrics that are highly personal...or not
- Bubblegum melody will be annoying to some
- Written by Avril Lavigne, Max Martin, and Shellback
- Produced by Max Martin and Shellback
- Released January 2011 by RCA
Guide Review - Avril Lavigne - "What the Hell"
There is one level to hear Avril Lavigne's "What the Hell." It is animated with a typically irresistible Max Martin melody, and, in a similar fashion to her #1 smash hit "Girlfriend," the song pulls you into singing along whether you want to or not. Musically, "What the Hell" is pure, sweet pop ear candy. Lyrically, things are a bit different.
Avril Lavigne has said publicly that the song is a broad statement about personal freedom. However, sung in first person the song does come out sounding, well, a bit intimate and personal in the context of her divorce last year from husband of three years Deryck Whibley. Mind games, pleas to stay together, and the need to break out and engage freely with others are all spelled out in the lyrics of "What the Hell." However, the song leaves significant room for interpretation which does add to its intrigue.
"What the Hell" should slide right into pop radio playlists. It is instantly appealing and tremendously easy to sing yourself. Avril Lavigne once again has riveted our attention which she has done effortlessly with her music since the debut single "Complicated." The full album Goodbye Lullaby hits stores in early March 2010. Until then, "What the Hell" will keep us both singing and thinking.