Intensities in Ten Suburbs

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Hot One Alert: Avril Lavigne – “Girlfriend”

Posted by Andrew Unterberger on February 17, 2007

Aw yeah

This is exactly the sort of song that Avril Lavigne needs right now. After unleashing a triptych of three of the best-crafted, most energetic youth-pop singles of the 00s (“Complicated,” “Sk8ter Boi” and “I’m With You,” in case you somehow managed to avoid 2001 and 2002), Avril’s follow-up efforts were lukewarm at best, and her latest single, “Keep Holding On” (from the Eragorn soundtrack) was about as cold as it gets.

Luckily, Avril has brought back the hotness. From the first few seconds of “Girlfriend,” it’s clearly that something has definitely changed–there’s none of the breezy piano and guitar intros that kicked off her Under My Skin singles, the songs that waited forever to kick in. Rather, Avril immediately goes straight for the kill–one clap and a guitar chord and we’re off, “HEY! (hey!) / YOU! (you!) / I DON’T LIKE YOUR GIRLFRIEND! / (NO WAY, NO WAY!) / I THINK YOU NEED A NEW ONE!”

The most obvious reference point here is, surprisingly, The Pipettes–the nu-girl group sensation from last year that rallied indie girls and set indie boys’ hearts aflame with their Spectorian cheerleader chants “Your Kisses are Wasted on Me” and “Pull Shapes.” The same cheerleading influence is undeniably apparent in “Girlfriend,” from the call & response chorus to the “Mickey” drumbeat that punctuates it, and detractors of this song will undoubtedly strike at it for being a pale imitation of the admitteldy fairly original sound The Pipettes cultivated.

And while it’s sort of hard to believe that either Avril or co-writer Lukasz “Dr. Luke” Gottwald have been listening to a group that it seems like no one outside the internet has ever even heard of, it still is definitely something of an imitation. However, something about those Pipettes singles never really clicked for me–they’re great, sure, but they feel too distant, and not quite obvious enough for what truly great, explosive pop should be. And explosive is really the only way to describe “Girlfriend,” which bursts out of the gates and maintains that feeling for 3:36. Blender already called it “the perfect pop-punk single,” and though “Girlfriend” is at least generations away from anything really resembling punk, the necessary attitude is at least there–find me a line half as good as “She’s, like, so whatever / you could do so much better” in either of those Pipettes songs, and I’ll show up with a skirt and pompoms to your next homecoming game.

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2 Responses to “Hot One Alert: Avril Lavigne – “Girlfriend””

  1. David B. said

    Intro – good.
    First verse – LAME.
    Chorus – HOLY SHIT AWESOME.

    From there it’s all TOTP.

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