Sk8er Boi

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"Sk8er Boi"
Sk8er boi cover.jpg
Official American CD artwork
Single by Avril Lavigne
from the album Let Go
B-side"Get Over It"
Released27 August 2002 (2002-08-27)
Format
Genre
Length3:24
LabelArista
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)The Matrix
Avril Lavigne singles chronology
"Complicated"
(2002)
"Sk8er Boi"
(2002)
"I'm with You"
(2002)
Alternative cover
European CD artwork
European CD artwork
Music video
"Sk8er Boi" on YouTube

"Sk8er Boi" (pronounced "skater boy") is a song by Canadian singer-songwriter Avril Lavigne, released as the second single from her debut album, Let Go (2002). It was written by Lavigne and The Matrix (Scott Spock, Lauren Christy, and Graham Edwards), and produced by The Matrix. The song is a power pop and pop punk track, which lyrically tells a story told from the singer's viewpoint about her rocker boyfriend and a girl he knew in high school who rejected him because he was a skateboarder and she was a snob.

The song was well-received by critics, with most commending its hook, calling the song "funny" and "clever". It also received a Grammy nomination for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance at the 2003 edition. Commercially, "Sk8er Boi" was a success, reaching the top-ten in more than ten countries, such as Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States (becoming Lavigne's second top ten single on the Billboard Hot 100 chart) and sold over 1.8 million copies worldwide. According to Spin, "Sk8er Boi" has the 5th best pop-punk chorus of the 21st century.[3]

The music video for the song, directed by Francis Lawrence, features a concert on a city street with Lavigne singing on the hood of a car with a crowd rocking out around her. It was a success on TRL and was voted one of the best music videos of the decade by BT TV. The song was featured in all of the concerts and tours held by Lavigne, since her first, "Try to Shut Me Up Tour" (2002-2003) until her latest, The "Head Above Water Tour" (2019-2020).

Background and release[edit]

After being signed to Arista Records in November 2000 upon the authorization of the label's CEO, Antonio "L.A." Reid, Lavigne moved to New York with the assistance of Reid. There, she began working on her debut album, Let Go, collaborating with a host of prime songwriters and producers.[4] While being on the verge of getting dropped off Arista, after an unsuccessful year of writing, Lavigne came to the attention of the three-piece production team The Matrix,[5] who later discovered that she wanted songs with punk rock inclinations.[6] After writing "Complicated" together, L.A. Reid agreed with the musical direction Lavigne and The Matrix were taking, and sent Lavigne back to The Matrix to work with them on more songs.[7]

During the sessions, they wrote 10 songs, with "Sk8er Boi" being one of the six songs on the album's final track list. After the huge success of "Complicated", "Sk8er Boi" was selected as the album's second single, being the more controversial choice, according to L.A. Reid: "Some people just really didn't get that. And with the first video, there was some concern that maybe because it's so young and so playful, it might alienate more serious music lovers."[8]

Composition and lyrics[edit]

"Sk8er Boi" was written by Lavigne, while the production team The Matrix (consisting of Lauren Christy, Graham Edwards and Scott Spock) co-wrote, arranged and produced the track.[9] "Sk8er Boi" is a punk rock,[10] pop punk[11] and power pop song[12] about a snobby girl who rejects a skateboarder who has a crush on her (despite secretly returning his feelings), letting her friends' prejudices sway her decision-making.[13] Later on, he becomes a superstar musician (even playing guitar on MTV) and has moved on with another woman while she ultimately ends up as a young single mother.[14]

Reception[edit]

"Sk8er Boi" received critical acclaim for its production. In a review for the album Let Go, Christina Saraceno of Allmusic called "Sk8er Boi" a "terrific power pop bounce", highlighting the song as a "track pick".[2] Brendan Schroer of Sputnikmusic praised the track, writing that Lavigne "brings another injection of infectious vocal work, peppy but not overbearing."[11] Nick Reynolds of BBC Music called it "brilliant", considering the song "a classic high energy pop song with crunchy guitars and a great hook." He also praised its tale, calling it "as slick and clever as an episode of Buffy. It bowls you over with its energy and sticks in your mind."[14] Pat Blashill of Rolling Stone agreed, calling it "seventeen-year-old Lavigne's signature moment," further adding: "Over a rush of nouveau-punk guitar chords, she narrates a funny story line, but none of it would matter if Lavigne didn't have a voice, equal parts baby girl and husky siren, that seems capable of setting off car alarms several city blocks away."[15] Christina Saraceno of Allmusic wrote of Lavigne that "Sk8er Boi" "she shows her lyrical shortcomings."[2]

Commercial performance[edit]

The song followed the success of Lavigne's debut single, "Complicated", which topped many charts worldwide and reached the top-ten in others. In Australia, "Sk8er Boi" debuted at its peak position, number three, and remained a further week there.[16] In New Zealand, the song managed to spend 9 weeks until it reached the peak position, number two, on 8 December 2002.[17] In Brazil, the song managed to reach the top position, becoming her second consecutive number-one single.[18][19]

In the United States, "Sk8er Boi" debuted at number 72 on the Billboard Hot 100 issue date 14 September 2002,[20] while on the issue date 2 November 2002, the song peaked at number 10.[21] It became Lavigne's second consecutive top-ten hit.[12] The song also topped Billboard's Top 40 Mainstream airplay chart.[22] As of July 2013, Sk8er Boi had sold 755,000 digital copies in the US.[23] In the United Kingdom, the song was also a success, reaching number eight on the UK Singles Chart on 28 December 2002.[24]

Awards and nominations[edit]

"Sk8er Boi" was nominated and won many awards. In the 2003 Grammy Awards edition, Lavigne received 5 nominations, including Best Female Rock Vocal Performance for "Sk8er Boi", but lost it to Sheryl Crow's "Steve McQueen". The song won "Favorite Song" at the 2003 Kids' Choice Awards, "Choice Music Single" at the 2003 Teen Choice Awards and "Best Pop Song" at "Socan Awards.[25]

Year Award Ceremony Award Result Ref.
2002 J-Wave Awards Song of the Year Nominated [26]
2003 45th Grammy Awards Best Female Rock Vocal Performance Nominated [27]
2003 MTV Video Music Awards Best Pop Video Nominated [28]
2003 MuchMusic Video Awards Best International Video By A Canadian Won [29]
People's Choice Favourite Canadian Artist Won
2003 Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards Favorite Song Won [30]
2003 Radio Disney Music Awards Best Song to Air Guitar Won [31]
Best Video That Rocks Nominated
SOCAN Awards Pop/Rock Music Award Won [25]
2003 Teen Choice Awards Choice Music: Single Won [32]

Retrospective[edit]

In a 2011 AOL Radio listener's poll, "Sk8er Boi" was voted Lavigne's fourth best song.[25] Robert Copsey of Digital Spy listed Lavigne's 7 best singles of all time, placing "Sk8er Boi" at number 4, saying: "Lavigne proved she was more than a one-hit wonder with her second single 'Sk8er Boi'. Despite the rebellious spelling of the title it turned out to be another solid effort, telling the tale of a girl who rejects a baggy-clothed boy who eventually goes on to be world-famous."[33] Bill Lamb of About.com placed the song at number 2, writing: "It has been derided in the past as being too naive lyrically. However, with the benefit of hindsight, it seems perfectly pitched to her audience and the point in her career. The power pop hook of the song sticks strongly in your head. Later perky pop excursions still pale next to this one."[34]

Music video[edit]

Lavigne, wearing her famous tie, sings on top of a car on the street.

The music video was directed by Francis Lawrence and premiered on 22 August 2002 on TRL.[35] The video shot to number-one on TRL on its second day of the countdown.[36] The video was considered the third 'Best music video of the decade' in the UK by BT Vision,[37] while ET Canada ranked the video at number 2 on her "Top 10 Best Music Videos".[38]

Synopsis[edit]

The video centers around an impromptu concert held by Lavigne in a Los Angeles street intersection. It begins by showing multiple people of Lavigne's band promoting the concert in advance via graffiti, flyers, email and posters. Lavigne and her band arrive at the location and begin performing on the roof of their cars; a crowd quickly gathers. Towards the end of the song, police cars and a helicopter arrive to disperse the crowd, while Lavigne uses her guitar to break the car windscreen. Lavigne then throws the guitar onto the road and looks up at the helicopter, where a shot was taken for the single's artwork.[39]

The impromptu concert was filmed in the intersection of 7th St & S Spring St in Los Angeles.

Cover versions and appearances in other media[edit]

In 2003, Paramount Pictures optioned the song for adaptation into a feature film, hiring writer/producer David Zabel to adapt its words. The film would focus on the two teens from different backgrounds and the social constraints in which they find themselves. [22] However, as of April 2008, the film has apparently been abandoned or is in development hell.[40] Eurodance group Cascada recorded a dance cover of the song for the European and Japanese editions of their 2007 album Perfect Day.[41] The song was featured on the Australian compilation album Hits For Kids 5 (2004).[42]

A cover version of the song by Angela Michael appears in the video game Elite Beat Agents for the Nintendo DS.[43] The song is also included in SingStar Pop, a PlayStation 2 game[44] and another cover version is featured in Rock Revolution by Konami.[45] The song was also used in a montage of funny rollerskates and skateboard clips in an edition of America's Funniest Home Videos. "Sk8er Boi" was featured in the television series Cold Case (Season 3, "The Promise", 2 October 2005).[46] In 2008, HBO included the song in the episode "Get Some" of the miniseries Generation Kill. The song is sung by Cpl. Josh Ray Person as he is urinating in the desert.[47] Filipino rock singer Kean Cipriano covered the song for his performance in the second season of Your Face Sounds Familiar, in which he impersonates Lavigne. Filipino pop singer Justin Alva covered the song for his performance in the third season of Your Face Sounds Familiar, in which he impersonates Lavigne.

Track listing[edit]

Australia CD single
No.TitleLength
1."Sk8er Boi"3:23
2."Get Over It"3:27
3."Nobody's Fool" (live in Vancouver for Z95)3:58
United Kingdom and Mexico CD single
No.TitleLength
1."Sk8er Boi"3:23
2."Get Over It"3:27
3."Nobody's Fool" (live in Vancouver for Z95)3:58
4."Sk8er Boi" (music video)3:38
France CD single
No.TitleLength
1."Sk8er Boi"3:23
2."Get Over It"3:27
Australia, United Kingdom and United States CD promo
No.TitleLength
1."Sk8er Boi"3:23
Japan CD promo
No.TitleLength
1."Sk8er Boi" (live from Buffalo)4:10
United States vinyl promo
No.TitleLength
1."Sk8er Boi" (side A)3:23
2."I'm with You" (side B)3:44

Charts[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/sales
Digital Single
Australia (ARIA)[81] Platinum 70,000^
Brazil (Pro-Música Brasil)[82] Platinum 100,000*
New Zealand (RMNZ)[83] Platinum 10,000*
United Kingdom (BPI)[85] Gold 503,000[84]
United States (RIAA)[86] Gold 755,000*
Video Single
United States (RIAA)[87] Platinum 100,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone
double-daggersales+streaming figures based on certification alone

(*) Note: The Platinum-award in the US are for the songs "I'm with You" and "Sk8er Boi" combined in a video single format.

Release history[edit]

Region Date Label Format
United States 27 August 2002 (2002-08-27) Arista Records CD, digital download
Australia 28 October 2002 (2002-10-28) Bertelsmann Music Group, RCA Records
Europe 6 December 2002 (2002-12-06)

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External links[edit]