The logical next step after the late-'90s/early-'00s teen-pop explosion was a more rock-oriented but every bit as market-tested version of the same basic template. Enter Avril Ramona Lavigne, a saucy Canadian teen whose ability to smash punky angst into a poppy package brought her great success in 2002, when she released her debut on the strength of single "Complicated." Her first album, Let Go (Number Two, 2002), released when the Ontario singer was 17 years old, sold more than 6 million copies and earned the singer-songwriter eight Grammy nominations. Alongside "Complicated"(Number Two, 2002), the album included singles "Sk8r Boi"(Number 10, 2002) and "I'm With You"(Number Four, 2003), as well as the Number 64 "Losing Grip"(2003). Lavigne has affixed her on-cue snarl and Valley-girl-inspired vocal to pop culture's center ever since.
Lavigne was raised in Napanee, Ontario, and sang locally as a child and early teen while growing up in a Christian home. She signed with Arista Records at 16, leaving school and moving to New York to begin work on her debut. The hit-making songwriting/production trio the Matrix worked on "Complicated," which led Let Go to multiplatinum status, while the song's video helped turn the singer's tank-top-and-necktie look into a brief craze.
For her follow-up, Under My Skin (Number One, 2004), Lavigne worked with Evanescence member Ben Moody, Butch Walker, singer-songwriter Chantal Kreviazuk and her own touring guitarist Evan Taubenfeld on the songwriting. (One song Lavigne co-wrote, but was later cut from the album was "Breakaway," which became the title track of Kelly Clarkson's multiplatinum album of the same name.) The hits weren't as big, but Lavigne still charted solidly with "Don't Tell Me" (Number 22, 2004), "Nobody's Home" (Number 41, 2004), and relationship rant "My Happy Ending" (Number Nine, 2005). Ironically, Lavigne, who's been known to clash with the paparazzi, did find a happy ending, marrying fellow Canuck rocker Deryck Whibley of Sum 41 in July 2006.
The following year's The Best Damn Thing (Number One, 2007) was a return to the peppier Let Go style after the more somber Skin, yielding the chanty hit "Girlfriend" (Number One, 2007), which stayed in the Top 10 for about half a year and prompted a lawsuit from James Gangwer and Tommy Dunbar of power poppers the Rubinoos, who heard a more-than-superficial resemblance to their own 1979 song "I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend"; the suit was settled in January 2008. Other singles from the album — which featured production by Whibley, Walker, Levine, Rob Cavallo and Dr. Luke — included "Keep Holding On"(Number 17, 2007), "When You're Gone" (Number 24, 2007), and "Hot" (Number 95, 2007).