100 songs of the decade: What The Hell – Avril Lavigne

 100 songs of the decade: What The Hell – Avril Lavigne

Written by: Avril Lavigne, Max Martin and Shellback
Produced by: Max Martin and Shellback
Album: Goodbye Lullaby
UK release: January 2011
UK chart peak: 16

Nearly four years on from the massive Best Damn Thing era, Avril Lavigne finally launched her fourth album campaign with this absurdly infectious Max Martin/Shellback-produced bop; deploying similar clap-along/chant-a-long moments to the likes of Girlfriend but steering more to the pop side of Avril’s trademark pop-rock sound.

Given how the Goodbye Lullaby album was delayed so much, and the fact that much of it is made up of the more thoughtful songs she penned with ex-husband Deryck Whibley, it feels a bit like maybe tracks like What The Hell were added by the label in a bid to give the era its potential radio hits. As such, I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s… not one of Avril’s own favourites.

But for me, this remains one of her best (and most under-rated) singles from one of her best (and most under-rated) albums: playful, effervescent, and filled with that trademark Lavigne Attitude. It’s still so uplifting to hear.

  • I’ll be writing about my favourite 100 pop songs of the decade; one a day for the last 100 days of 2019. They’re in no particular order, except the Top 10 – which will (obviously) come in late December.
  • See the full list so far here.
  • You can follow the rolling, daily-updated playlist below, or here.

Shaun Kitchener


Scriptwriter for the theatre and TV (currently Hollyoaks) and freelance entertainment ~reportage.