Upon its release, The Best Damn Thing received generally positive reviews from music critics, who praised Lavigne's transition from grungey alternative rock music to more pop-punk and bubblegum music, with it being catchy and very radio-friendly. However, the main criticism of the album was the lyrical content, which some found too rough or brutal. The album debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200 with first-week sales of 289,000 copies. The album also debuted atop the charts in Austria, Canada, the United Kingdom and many other countries. Alternative Press listed it as one of the albums that best represented the pop-punk scene in 2007.
The Best Damn Thing had sold over 6 million copies worldwide and it is Lavigne's third best-selling album. Four singles were released from the album. Its lead single "Girlfriend" peaked at number one on the US Billboard Hot 100, making it Lavigne's most successful chart single to date. The single also reached number one in twelve other countries across the world including Australia, Canada and Japan, making it one of the best-selling singles of 2007 worldwide. The second and third single of the album, "When You're Gone" and "Hot" were moderate hits worldwide, with the former reaching number 24 on the US Billboard Hot 100. Last single "The Best Damn Thing" reached the lower end of the charts. To promote the album, Lavigne performed at many TV shows and award ceremonies, including the 2007 Teen Choice Awards and the 2007 MTV Europe Music Awards, as well as a musical guest on Saturday Night Live. Furthermore, Lavigne embarked on a concert tour, entitled The Best Damn World Tour, starting on 8 March 2008, and ending on 6 October 2008. Footage from the concert at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto were recorded and released on a DVD titled The Best Damn Tour: Live in Toronto.
In an interview with MTV, Lavigne discussed how the writing process for The Best Damn Thing was straightforward, as she opted to write about fictional experiences that she felt were more widely relatable. She intended to have fun when recording the album, commenting, "Some of the songs I wrote didn't even mean that much to me. It's not like some personal thing I'm going through. They're just songs". Many of the sessions involved ordering take-out and drinking alcohol, with songs such as "Girlfriend" and "I Can Do Better" being written while inebriated.
The songs were described as sounding like Toni Basil cheerleading for Blink-182, with Lavigne praised for her ability to combine bubblegum melodies with punk rock riffs. Lavigne described the record as "fast, fun, young, bratty, rock, aggressive, confident, cocky in a playful way...all the good stuff". Many of the songs on the album did not have a deep meaning to Lavigne, with her stating "It's not like some personal thing I'm going through. They're just songs." It was produced by Dr. Luke, Butch Walker, Lavigne herself, and Lavigne's husband at the time, Sum 41 singer Deryck Whibley. Travis Barker of Blink 182 and +44, recorded some of the drums for the album as did Josh Freese when Lavigne and her party could not reach Dave Grohl.
On 18 February 2007, clips of "Everything Back But You", "I Can Do Better" and "When You're Gone" were released on AOL Music. The track "Alone" (the B-side of "Girlfriend") was made available for download on the iTunes Store in New Zealand and Australia on 29 March. The whole album made its radio debut on Ottawa radio station HOT 89.9 at 6:00 pm on 14 April 2007.
Chris Willman of Entertainment Weekly and Theon Weber of Stylus Magazine gave the album a "B" rating, while Willman praised Lavigne for "providing the best darn rock & roll album teen girls are likely to hear all year", Weber described the album as an "enormous, senseless, superficial, selfish, and cocky past the point of absurdity, but it's never wrong." Christian Hoard of Rolling Stone praised the album for being "totally fearless about targeting pop radio and rather expert in its execution." Tim O'Neil of PopMatters was positive towards its uptempo songs, calling it "strong pop-punk turns", while considering the ballads "regrettable". However, O'Neil praised Lavigne for making "the brave decision to measure artistic maturity with no one's yardstick but her own." In a more mixed review, Jon Pareles of The New York Times wrote that "as an album, 'The Best Damn Thing' is too relentless to be heard end to end", while Sal Cinquemani of Slant Magazine was more critical of the album's unexpected move, calling it "a big step back for an artist who was just starting to grow up."
In Japan, it debuted at number two. In its second week of release, after Lavigne's Music Station performance, it reached the number-one spot, selling 120,000 copies. This is her second number-one album in Japan. In its chart run, it sold 900,000 copies and was the third best selling album of the year, and the only non-domestic album in the top twenty-five. In Spain, The Best Damn Thing debuted at number nine, lower than Under My Skin, which debuted at number one. The album debuted at number one in over twenty countries and sold 784,000 copies in its first week worldwide. Overall, the album charted at number one in ten countries.
In October 2010, Lavigne was featured in Maxim for the November issue. During the interview she revealed that she had finished Goodbye Lullaby after two and a half years. However, in November, Lavigne announced that her album had been completed for a year, citing her record company as the reason for the album's delays. Lavigne stated that her record company wanted something more upbeat to keep up with mainstream radio, "Radio's very rhythmic and urban and dance today. I think they wanted me to do something more like that, but that's not what my vision was for this album".
Lavigne described the album as being about "life". She stated, "It's so easy for me to do a boy-bashing pop song, but to sit down and write honestly about something that's really close to me, something I've been through, it's a totally different thing." The album serves as a return to Lavigne's older musical style and is largely acoustic. With the exception of the album's lead single, Lavigne describes the songs on the album as different from her earlier material, "I'm older now, so I think that comes across in my music, it's not as pop-rock and it's a little more mellow and it's deep". She said, "[For] this record, I just really, really wanted to sing.... I just wanna have silence around me, and have these acoustic songs and really deliver." In November 2010, British producer Alex da Kid, who worked with Lavigne beginning in August 2010, stated that some songs on the album will have a hip-hop sound, "We've got some things that are hip-hop leaning, and we've got some things that are more pop/rock leaning". In December, it was announced that the songs produced by Alex da Kid would not be on the album but Lavigne stated, "we're gonna do something with that stuff, I'm just not sure what yet".
Lavigne described the first single off the album, "What the Hell", as "a broad message about personal freedom", calling it her "most pop track on the record", the least personal song from the album and the song most reminiscent of her previous work. Another song, "Stop Standing There", has been described as having an "early- '50s girl-group feel" and "Smile" is about Lavigne's gratitude for special people in her life. "Push" is about relationships and "Wish You Were Here" shows Lavigne's vulnerable side. Lavigne described the song "Everybody Hurts" as "different...but not different to stray away from who I am and what I am." "Goodbye" is one of the two songs Lavigne wrote and produced on her own. She says it's about moving on in life and leaving something secure. Lavigne stated that "Goodbye" is the most personal song she has ever written and was the inspiration for the album's title.
Avril Lavigne first appeared in summer 2002, touting an addictive debut single (the spunky pop/rock gem 'Complicated') and a skatepunk image that purposely clashed with the polished glamour of mainstream pop. Lavigne, who was 17 at the time, quickly rose to teen idol status, selling several million copies of her debut album, Let Go (the best-selling album by a female artist in 2002), while inspiring a genuine fashion craze with her penchant for tank tops and neckties. As the decade progressed, so did Lavigne's marketable sound, which took a contemplative turn on the sophomore effort Under My Skin before reaching an aggressively upbeat tone for 2007's The Best Damn Thing. Born into a devout Christian household in the small town of Napanee, Ontario, Lavigne sharpened her vocal talents in church choirs, local festivals, and county fairs. She began playing guitar and writing songs in her early teens, focusing her early efforts on country music and contributing vocals to several albums by local folk musician Steve Medd. 2b1af7f3a8