"Smile" is a song by Canadian recording artist Avril Lavigne, taken as the second single from her fourth studio album, Goodbye Lullaby. Written by Lavigne with its producers Max Martin and Shellback, "Smile" was released on 11 April 2011 to Australian radio stations and then on 17 May to U.S. radio as the second single. The song received favorable reviews from music critics, who described the track as a "sassy and catchy pop song". A music video directed by Shane Drake was filmed in April 2011 and released on May 20. It has charted inside the top-thirty on the Australian, Japanese and New Zealand charts.
Lavigne wrote the song with its producers, Max Martin and Shellback. "Smile" pays tribute to the special someone who was able to win her heart and put a grin on her face. Backed up by a punchy drum rhythm and electric guitars, Lavigne offers even more reasons why most normal guys would run in the other direction, then praises her guy for sticking around. Lavigne asked her fans via Twitter what the next single from Goodbye Lullaby should be, giving the choices between "Push" and "Smile". Lavigne confirmed that "Smile" was to be the second single from the album though reports suggest Lavigne was fighting for a "Push" release. The singer's record label, RCA Records, announced that "Smile" will be sent out to Polish radio in April, with the same expected to happen in other territories such as Canada, New Zealand, Asia, and the UK. She posted photos to her Twitter of the set of the music video, filmed on April 21.
Due to the many uses of profanity in the song, different clean edits have been released. The official clean edit which is played on most radio stations replaces "Crazy bitch" with "Crazy chick", removes "Shit", and replaces "You're fucking crazy" with "You like it crazy". Another edit is the same, but instead of removing "You don't really give a shit", it is replaced with "You don't really give it up." Finally, the iTunes edit completely blanks out all profanity, as well as "Blacked out". Some radio stations and music channels also remove "What did you put in my drink?"
Nadine Cheung from AOL Music said positively: "The new song represents Lavigne's best qualities as a pop star, while the tune incorporates talk-singing as well as the bold melodic choruses for which the 26-year-old is known." Andy Greenwald from Entertainment Weekly said that: "The sassy 'Smile,' with its talk of doctored drinks and blackout tattoos, restore Avril to her rightful place ahead of Katy Perry and Ke$ha." Scott Shelter from Pop Crunch was largely positive, rating it 9 stars (out of 10), saying that: "'Smile' is yet another catchy pop song from Lavigne, who's been scoring hits for nearly a decade now, far longer than most would have predicted when she hit the scene as a spunky teen with songs like 'Complicated' and 'Sk8er Boi.'" Another positive reaction came from Lewis Corner editor of Digital Spy, who rated it four stars out of five. He commented that in the lyrics, she still maintaining her teen-brat persona rather worryingly at the age of 26" while naming the chorus "electric guitar-driven power-pop". He concluded that the song is "another effortlessly catchy soft-rock chant-along that is a welcome return to form".
Josh Langhoff from PopMatters was more mixed, saying that: "More problematic is 'Smile' and its bold pro-roofie stance." Marcus Gilmer from The A.V. Club was positive, saying that: "Lavigne exhibits some of the old spunk on 'Smile,' dropping a litany of curse words and asserting her right to be "a crazy bitch" who does 'what I want when I feel like it.'" Robert Everett-Green from The Globe and Mail said that: "Smile would have us believe that Lavigne is still ready to be really bad and kiss the wrong guy and maybe not even wash her hair for a day." Jon Pareles from The New York Times commented that: "In 'Smile,' she slings four-letter words through a tale of rock craziness and love at first sight."
Margaret Wappler from Los Angeles Times explains that "On 'Smile,' Lavigne celebrates black-out nights, possibly with her ex-husband Deryck Whibley, the kind that results in a new tattoo. She proudly calls herself crazy and out of control, before leading into a chorus that’s all gushy about love. Al Fox from BBC Music said that: "the spiky, unstable Smile, shoehorns in more needless swear words than a week’s worth of late-night Hollyoaks." Dan Weiss from The Washington Post commented that "'Smile' is the only other Lullaby tune where she fully savors her role as the estranged divorcee godmother of the Keshaverse." Chris DeLine from "Culture Bully" explained that: "the song is energic and has a pop hook". While opining that: "The energetic track pales in comparison, however, picking up on a trend that persists throughout the entire recording."
After officially being released as a single, "Smile" debuted on the Australian Singles Chart and New Zealand Singles Chart. In Australia, it debuted at number forty-two on 2 May 2011 and has peaked at number 25. The song has sold over 100,000 units of digital copies in Australia. In New Zealand, the song debuted at thirty-three on 25 April 2011 and peaked at number thirty. In the United States, the song debuted at 94 on the Billboard Hot 100 the charting week of July 16, 2011, rising to number sixty-eight in its fifth week. The song has sold over 500,000 units of digital copies in the United States. The song peaked at 186 on the UK Singles Chart after her Britain's Got Talent performance, then fell out of the chart the next week, making it her lowest charting single to date in the United Kingdom. It was never released on radio in the United Kingdom, Germany and some other European countries.
Lavigne performed the song, while promoting the album, on Walmart Soundcheck, on "2DayFM", and also on T4. Lavigne has performed the song on the German show Schlag den Raab on 4 June 2011. The song was also recorded on Lavigne's concert on the aol.com website, to the AOL Sessions, with no release date announced yet. Lavigne performed a medley of the song and her previous single "What the Hell" on the British show Britain's Got Talent on June 1, and at the America's Got Talent 6th session on July 13.
She then flew to Japan to perform the song at TV Asahi’s weekly music program, Music Station, on February 3, 2012.
The music video was shot on April 21, 2011, and was directed by Shane Drake. Lavigne uploaded videos on her YouTube account of the set of the video. On May 16, she posted a video titled "Ready, Set, Smile!". On May 17, she posted another video, titled "Smile & Style". On May 18, she posted the third video, titled "Graffiti Guitar", and the fourth video, "Avril Lavigne - 'Smile' Behind the Scenes" was viewed more than 120,000 times in less than 24 hours. Lavigne premiered the music video on May 18, 2011 on her VEVO account.
The video begins with Lavigne in a white room. She shakes a can of spray paint, and sprays a smiling face on the camera. Lavigne decorates the walls around her with The Black Star Tour posters, and various miscellaneous words and designs. She plugs a red electric guitar into an amplifier, and begins to sing the first verse. She makes her way outside into New York City. Lavigne walks over to people looking upset or distressed, and takes a piece of a broken heart represented by glass lying by them. When she takes the piece, they begin to smile. The video switches between those locations; Lavigne in the white room and in the city, the same theme recurring throughout the duration of the video.
Jeff Lapointe from MTV News was positive and says that "Lavigne is back to her heavy mascara and punk-like teenage look on a studio set which she decorated herself with color spray bombs, posters and a few props." Lapointe also says that the video is "energetic and love struck." Jamie Peck from MTV Buzzworthly commented that Lavigne is "learning to deal with things in a more grown-up fashion." Robbie Daw from Idolator wrote that "she’s a foul-mouthed pop tart with a heart of gold!." Daw perceived that "those couple-breaking-up-at-a-cafe references to Debbie Gibson’s 1988 “Foolish Beat” video." A positive response came from Billboard's writer Jon Blistein, who says that "It's simple, sweet, and unlike "What the Hell," wonderfully void of blatant product placement." The website Terra was mixed, saying that Lavigne is stuck in the year 2000 in the video and that "she is still trying to play dress-up like she did back when 'Complicated' made her peak."
iTunes Store digital downloadEdit
- "Smile" (Radio Edit)
UK digital download / CD singleEdit
- "What the Hell" (Bimbo Jones Remix)
- "Smile" (music video)