Lavigne was asked by Artist Direct
what got her into the sassy mood for this song. She replied: "Well, 'What the Hell' is more pop rock and a lot of my sassy, like you said, style. It's lighter and fun and the rest of the album is more raw and vulnerable and it's deeper and stripped down. My vision, production wise, for this album, was that. I wanted acoustic guitars and for it to be stripped down with pianos. I wanted to go there
more. All my records are pop rock and upbeat, and I was ready to do something a little different. As far as lyrics and the subject matter, it is a bittersweet. I didn't know what I was going to write; I just knew what I wanted the production to sound like and what I wanted the style to be. Then, the lyrics just come and it was bittersweet lyrically."