Then 17-year-old Avril Lavigne made an ever-lasting impact from her debut album ‘Let Go’ released in 2002. Among these songs is the second single titled “Sk8er Boi” which is stylized for ‘Skater Boy.’ Since the release, this song has been a staple in Avril’s live concerts to-date.
Although “Ska8er Boi” did not perform as well as the first single “Complicated,” it did break through to top 10 of Billboard Hot 100 chart. The song reached #8 in the UK, #2 in New Zealand, and #3 in Australia. The song has also sold over 1.8 million copies worldwide.
“Sk8er Boi” was nominated for ‘Best Female Rock Vocal Performance’ at the 2003 Grammy Awards. In 2017, Spin magazine ranked the song at #5 on ‘The 21 Best Pop-Punk Choruses of the 21st Century’ list.
What is “Sk8er Boi” About?
The song, on the surface of it, seems quite simple. A girl, very timid and reserved in nature, likes a boy, who is a punk and a skater. But she does not confess his feeling to him for obvious reasons. The obvious reasons being the two people have polar-opposite characteristcs–at least appearances.
In the lyrics of the song, the two lead their own separate lives, and five years down the line, the girl is a single mom and the skater boy has gone on to become a rockstar. She has nothing but regrets about not confessing her feelings to him and possibly opening a way towards a happy life together.
However, there is a twist. The lyrics can be interpreted as Avril Lavigne being the skater ‘boy.’ This is especially apparent since she is already a pop star, and she is/was the furthest thing from being a girly-girl, which is how the girl in the song is described as.
So, Avril Lavigne could have merely swapped the genders to make the song more interesting, and give it a twist. Further, the starting lyrics of the song state some unnecessarily obvious facts: “He was a boy, she was a girl.” Is this because she wanted to try and convince the audience about her little inside joke?
Watch “Sk8er Boi” Music Video by Avril Lavigne
“Sk8er Boi” Lyrics Meaning and Song Review
Avril Lavigne kicks off the song by stating something obvious and also introducing the two lead roles of the story. He, the boy, the skater, and the punk, and she, the girl, the ballet dancer, and shy. Why did Avril Lavigne have to describe him as a boy and she as a girl? And also add “Can I make it any more obvious?” unless she was really trying to convince her listeners of something she wanted to keep a secret. Maybe, he was not the skater boy. Maybe ‘he’ was the skater girl–Avril Lavigne herself.
The lyrics of the song go on to describe all the differences between these two people. In summary, the two people are polar opposites. However, it was quite obvious for both people, that they liked each other. But the bitter truth is that they did not match each others’ image–which would have been/is/will be a big issue among teenagers, especially among school children.
None of their friends would accept this couple together as her friends would think he is using her, and his friends would think she is way below his league. In a nutshell, this relationship was doomed because of all the external factors.
These conditions never gave enough confidence for the girl to gather enough courage to ask him out. And he would not make the first move also.
The chorus explains how little confidence this girl had in her. Either she or the people around herself have convinced her that he is way above her league, and she needs to step back to earth. Also, his punk nature did not convince her friends that he would be a good match for her. So, she could only muster the courage to say hi’s and byes to this skater boi.
Watch Avril Perform “Sk8er Boi” Live in 2019
Fast forward five years and the girl is divorced with a child. She has no one around her–not even her friends from school. She turns on the TV to see the skater boy on the MTV channel. Things get worse when she realizes that her friends have already booked tickets to the skater boy’s concert. She also tags along and watches her dream boy performing to sold-out crowds.
In these lyrics, a third person enters the storyline. That the girl who is actually dating the skater boy now. However, this could be a mere manifestation of Avril’s past self who loved this boy. We can hear this third-person telling Avril how she was too scared of his image and passed up on a great man. This narrative makes us wonder if this third person is Avril Lavigne herself talking to her friends who stood between them back then.
Finally, Avril Lavigne withdraws the veil: “He’s just a boy and I’m just a girl.”
The saddest part of the song is when this third person or the girlfriend narrates how she and the skater boy wrote a song together about a girl from his school whom he had a little crush on. And he performs this song while Avril watches from the crowd.
Although the lyrics of the song tell us a story, it is quite easy to swap these genders and imagine Avril Lavigne as the metaphorical skater boy. Let us hear what you think about this song in the comments below.
Check out the complete lyrics and further meaning breakdown on Genius.