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It ain't that complicated

It takes a pretty great song to be a hit and reach a lot of people.  But those can so easily be conjured by a thousand slight-of-hands.  There’s a select few that can be broken down to a voice and a guitar and still deliver the magic.

In the starkest contrast possible — here’s this pimply-faced teenager belting out her own scream-into-the-night that every teenage girl has let out since teenage girls began — and then picture the corporate skyscrapers and sweaty flesh behind her contemporary female stars’ songs.

She’s everygirl sitting around a campfire making up songs in her head. It’s everybody’s lament. But it flowed through a pretty hip channel in the sea, and out sprung a song that seemed like it was already written.

She’s young – 17 freakin years old right here – a female Neil Young – young Nattie Young, from the same sorta town in north Ontario.  Kinda goofy lookin.  Has a logger’s sense of fashion, and knows make-up is fer girls.

Hair-dye dude is her best friend. This is before her first album came out — just two high school kids sitting in their bedroom in her parent’s house playing a song they wrote that would reach #1 on three continents.   

Write on, young players.



Ben Marshall's picture

What can I say. Love the stripped back accoustic demo and the review sent a shiver down my spine. Nicely done. PJ and I used to cover this song in Pussy Bush..takes me back to boot!

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Retrieved from Wikipedia:
Complicated on Wikipedia
Single by Avril Lavigne
from the album Let Go
B-side"I Don't Give", "Why" [1][2]
ReleasedMay 14, 2002 (2002-05-14)
FormatCD single, digital download
GenrePop rock,[3][4]
Writer(s)Avril Lavigne, Lauren Christy, Scott Spock, Graham Edwards
ProducerThe Matrix
Certification2× Multi-Platinum[5]
Avril Lavigne singles chronology

"Complicated" is a song by Avril Lavigne and was her debut single, released in 2002 from her debut album, Let Go. It was written by Lavigne and The Matrix (Scott Spock, Lauren Christy, and Graham Edwards), and produced by The Matrix. The single reached number one in Australia (for six weeks), New Zealand and Mexico (for nine weeks), number two on the Billboard Hot 100 and number three in the United Kingdom. Based on its chart performance, the song is Lavigne's second most successful single (only behind her 2007 single "Girlfriend") and was one of the most successful releases of 2002. Lavigne tied a record set by Natalie Imbruglia's "Torn" when "Complicated" held the number one spot on the contemporary hit radio chart (which tracks air play on the radio) for eleven weeks in a row.[7] "Complicated" was nominated for two Grammy Awards for Song of the Year and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance. The song has been parodied by "Weird Al" Yankovic on his 2003 album Poodle Hat. The song has sold over 4 million copies.[8]


"Complicated" is a song about how people can be fake. Lavigne said about the song: "People sometimes bother me how they're not real and how they're just, like, putting on a face and being two-faced". Lavigne stated that she experienced this with both boyfriends and female friends.[9]

Music video

The video, directed by The Malloys, starts with Lavigne asking her bandmates if they want to "crash" the mall. They respond with enthusiasm, and skateboard there. The video features Lavigne and the band harassing shoppers and employees, generally causing havoc around the mall; for example, Lavigne watches her band try on humorous clothing which is fittingly shown as Lavigne sings the line "You come over unannounced, dressed up like you're something else".

This is intercut with footage of Lavigne performing the song at a skatepark while playing the guitar, with her band performing with her. People can be seen skateboarding around Lavigne as she and her band perform the song. As the line "You fall and you crawl..." is sung, a skateboarder can be seen falling over.

The video was shot at Eagle Rock Plaza, Los Angeles, in 2 days. During the shooting, the mall remained open.[10]


Rolling Stone Magazine readers voted "Complicated" as the 8th Top single of the decade.[11] "Complicated" also ranked at #197 in Blender magazine's "The 500 Greatest Songs Since You Were Born".[12] Billboard Magazine ranked it at #83 of the 'Top 100 Singles of the Decade'.[13] In an AOL Radio listener's poll, "Complicated" was voted Lavigne's sixth best song.[14]

David Browne of Entertainment Weekly gave the song a B- and said "Avril Lavigne's not kidding about that title, she's the epitome of the blossoming anti-Britney movement".[15] Christina Saraceno of Allmusic described 'Complicated' as "a gem of a pop/rock tune with a killer chorus" and noted similarities between it and the Pink song Don't Let Me Get Me.[4] Saraceno highlighted the song as a "track pick" in a review of the album, Let Go.[4]

On a more negative note, Sal Cinquemani of Slant magazine described 'Complicated' as "infectious" and "more poser than punk".[16] In a review of Lavigne's second album, Under My Skin, David Browne of Entertainment Weekly noted that "Complicated felt like strung-together bits of Morissette songs".[17]


The Canadian single of "Complicated" has shipped over 100,000 copies in Canada, where the song has been awarded the gold and platinum single certifications by the CRIA for, respectively, shipments of at least 50,000 and 100,000 singles shipped.[citation needed] The single was certified 2× Platinum in Australia.[5] Lavigne won Best New Artist at the 2002 MTV Video Music Awards for "Complicated".[18] "Complicated" won in the Single of the Year category at the 2003 Juno Awards. In the United States, the song was nominated at the 2003 Grammy Awards for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance and Song of the Year;[19] it lost both awards to Norah Jones's "Don't Know Why". In Brazil hit that was nominated in the category of best VMB video of the year in 2003.[20]

Uses in other media

  • The song was featured on the trailer and on the commercials of the 2003 movie Uptown Girls. It is also featured on the video games Karaoke Revolution and Buzz!: The Music Quiz.
  • An uptempo remixed eurodance cover version by Nancy And The Boys was recorded in 2002, appearing on Dancemania Speed 10.
  • The "Pablo La Rossa Vocal mix" of the song was used on the video game FIFA Football 2003.[21]
  • In 2008, the song was sung by Cpl. Josh Ray Person in the HBO miniseries Generation Kill (Episode 2, "The Cradle of Civilization").
  • J-pop/J-rock singer Misono covered this song on her album Misono Kaba Album.
  • Comedy singer "Weird Al" Yankovic created a parody of the song which Lavigne co-wrote.
  • Good Charlotte seems to parody the beginning of the Complicated's video in the longer version of their own video for Girls & Boys with a band member asking what everyone "want to do today?", with an older woman dressed like Avril asking if they want to crash the mall.
  • Taylor swift sang this song on Her speak Now world tour at Toronto on July 16, 2011.

Track listings

UK, Canada, Mexico CD single
  1. "Complicated"
  2. "I Don't Give"
  3. "Why"
  4. "Complicated"
Australian CD single
  1. "Complicated"
  2. "I Don't Give"
  3. "Why"
Japan, France, Italy, Netherlands CD single
  1. "Complicated"
  2. "I Don't Give"
USA CD single
  1. "Complicated"
  2. "Complicated"

See also

  • A Complicated Song, parody by Weird Al Yankovic


  1. ^ "Avril Lavigne - Complicated". Discogs. Retrieved 5 September 2010. 
  2. ^ "allmusic ((( Complicated > Overview )))". Allmusic. Retrieved 10 September 2010. 
  3. ^ "Avril Lavigne on". Retrieved 10 September 2010. 
  4. ^ a b c Saraceno, Christina. "Let Go: Avril Lavigne". Allmusic. Retrieved 14 March 2009. 
  5. ^ a b "ARIA Charts - Accreditations 2002 Singles". Retrieved 19 December 2008. 
  6. ^ "CERTIFICADOS". ABPD. Retrieved 10 September 2010. 
  7. ^ "Avril Lavigne Trivia". Retrieved 1 January 2008. 
  8. ^
  9. ^ Avril Lavigne. (14 October 2008). Avril Lavigne talking about COMPLICATED. [Streaming video]. YouTube. Event occurs at 0:15. Retrieved 5 September 2010. 
  10. ^ "Avril Paradise - Videografia" (in Italian). Retrieved 12 January 2009. 
  11. ^ "Rolling Stone Top singles of the decade". Rolling Retrieved 8 December 2009. 
  12. ^ "The 500 Greatest Songs Since You Were Born: 151-200". Retrieved 8 December 2007. 
  13. ^ "Billboard Hot 100 Songs of the decade". Retrieved 11 December 2009. 
  14. ^ a b Cheung, Nadine. "Top 10 Avril Lavigne Songs". AOL Radio. Archived from the original on 15 January 2011. Retrieved 15 January 2011. 
  15. ^ Browne, David (5 August 2002). "Complicated: Avril Lavigne". Entertainment Weekly.,,333468,00.html. Retrieved 10 September 2010. 
  16. ^ Cinquemani, Sal. "Slant Magazine Review". Retrieved 7 August 2010. 
  17. ^ Browne, David (24 May 2004). "Under My Skin (2004)". Entertainment Weekly.,,640572,00.html. Retrieved 7 August 2010. 
  18. ^ "MTV Video Music Awards 2002 - Winner". Retrieved 20 December 2008. 
  19. ^ "Grammy Awards: ecco le nominations" (in Italian). Retrieved 20 December 2008. 
  20. ^ "MTV divulga lista de indicados ao VMB 2003" (in Portuguese). Retrieved 24 December 2008. 
  21. ^ "Dancemania SPEED". Retrieved 10 September 2010. 
  22. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l "Avril Lavigne - Complicated". Retrieved 10 September 2010. 
  23. ^ "Danish Chart". Retrieved 10 September 2010. 
  24. ^ "Avril Lavigne on". Retrieved 10 September 2010. 
  25. ^ "Archívum – Slágerlisták – MAHASZ – Magyar Hanglemezkiadók Szövetsége" (in Hungarian). Rádiós Top 40 játszási lista. Magyar Hanglemezkiadók Szövetsége. Retrieved 2010-12-08.
  26. ^ "UK Album Chart: Complicated". Retrieved 28 June 2010. 
  27. ^ "Artist Chart History". Retrieved 10 September 2010. 
  28. ^ "Billboard Music-(". Retrieved 10 September 2010. 
  29. ^ "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 2002 Singles". Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved 2010-12-28. 
  30. ^ "Gold and Platinum Singles – 2002" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. 2002-10-19. Retrieved 2010-12-28. 
  31. ^ "Swiss Certifications – Awards 2002". International Federation of the Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 2010-12-28. 
  32. ^ "ARIA Charts – End Of Year Charts – Top 100 Singles 2002". Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved 2011-01-14. 
  33. ^ "Austrian Annual Charts 2002". Retrieved 2011-01-14. 
  34. ^ Recording Industry Association of New Zealand (2002). "New Zealand Annual Chart". Retrieved 2011-01-14. 
  35. ^ "Swiss Year-End Charts 2002". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved 2011-01-14. 
  36. ^ "2002 UK Official Singles Chart" (PDF). Charts Plus. Retrieved 2011-01-14. 

External links

  • "Complicated" music video
  • Avril Lavigne's Official Site


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