Avril Lavigne is the self-titled fifth studio album by Canadian singer-songwriter Avril Lavigne, released on 1 November 2013 by Sony Music Entertainment. The album is a follow-up to her 2011 effort Goodbye Lullaby and was developed short after its release. Lavigne collaborated with numerous producers including Martin Johnson of Boys Like Girls, Peter Svensson, David Hodges, Matt Squire and her husband Chad Kroeger of Nickelback.
In both musical and lyrical aspects, the album represents a departure from her previous production, including a more pop and upbeat sound, but also featuring power and piano ballads. A pop-rock album, Avril Lavigne also incorporates other genres such as electronic music, industrial and punk rock. The album also features two collaborations: Lavigne's husband Chad Kroeger and American singer Marilyn Manson.
The album received generally favorable reviews from music critics, who praised its carefree, feel good vibe, while also calling it one of her best albums. However, some criticized the "rebellious" attitude in some tracks, calling it forced and unnatural. The album impacted moderately on the charts, reaching the top-ten in over twelve countries while peaking at number 1 in China and Taiwan.
Three singles were released from the album worldwide. The first, "Here's to Never Growing Up", garnered moderate success, reaching the top-twenty in Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States. The second, "Rock n Roll", received less impact, while the third, "Let Me Go" was somewhat better on the Canadian Hot 100 chart. Lavigne also released a controversial video for the Japan-only promotional single "Hello Kitty". To further promote the album, Lavigne embarked on her fifth tour, Avril Lavigne On Tour.
Avril Lavigne sold worldwide more than 850,000 copies as of 2014.
Background, development and releaseEdit
Three months after the release of Goodbye Lullaby, Lavigne announced that work on her fifth studio album had already begun, with eight songs written so far. Lavigne stated that the album would musically be the opposite of Goodbye Lullaby, with a release date rumored for sometime in 2012. Lavigne explained, "Goodbye Lullaby was more mellow, [but] the next one will be pop and more fun again. I already have a song that I know is going to be a single, I just need to re-record it!" In late 2011, Lavigne confirmed that she had moved to Epic Records, which is now headed by L.A. Reid, who signed Lavigne to Arista Records in 2000. In August 2012, it was reported that Lavigne had completed work on the album, stating on her Twitter, "That's a wrap boyz @hodgesmusic and chad @Nickelback !!! Woohoo. Super stoked for this record."
In September 2012, Epic Records chairman L.A. Reid told Billboard that Lavigne "just completed" the album and that she enlisted her then-fiancée Chad Kroeger for a song. "She worked with Chad Kroeger, who is now her fiance, and they did a really good record," says Reid. He also revealed, "We're in the mixing process now and I expect to release it very soon. I'd like to get it out this year, but time seems to be flying. If we don't, it will be top of the new year." The same month, French website Charts in France announced that the album would be released in March, however, in April 2013, the singer announced that she was still working on the album, stating, "I've been working on this record for a year, so it's been quite a while," she said. "As soon as I played [producer LA Reid] the song, he wanted to put it out right away". The Canadian singer with his latest album (Avril Lavigne) has sold about 615 000 copies.
"So I'm actually still in the studio - I'm still making my record. I still have one more song left to write that I'm going to do by myself because I love to do that. It's important to me. But it's just - it's all happened so fast, and I'm so excited."
On 8 August 2013, Lavigne revealed the cover art for the album via her Instagram account. The cover features a closeup of her face against an all-black background, with her eyes ringed in smeared eyeliner, while her hair is pulled back tight on her head. In an interview at the radio station WRVE, Lavigne confirmed that the album would be available to pre-order on 24 September 2013 and would be released later on 5 November 2013. The official track listing was later revealed on 5 September, while the entire album streamed on iTunes and her official website on 29 October. Avril Lavigne sold worldwide more than 620 million copies.
Recording sessions began in November 2011, and took place over a period of almost two years, concluding in July 2013. One of the first confirmed producers and writers for the album was Nickelback's frontman, Chad Kroeger. The first song they wrote was "Let Me Go", a breakup ballad. "We started off [in March 2012] just getting to know each other, and then we really bonded through music," Lavigne said. Eventually, Lavigne and Kroeger became romantically involved in July 2012, and a month later they got engaged. Kroeger co-wrote 10 songs on the album, being the producer of three, and co-producer of four. They promised power ballads, piano ballads, string arrangements and a duet. Lavigne also worked with Evanescence former member David Hodges, commenting, "I’ve just spent 17 days working with Chad Kroeger and David Hodges. And the three of us have been writing a lot of songs together. A lot. And recording and having a really good time, having a really great time. They’re very talented musicians and it feels good for me to be around people like that".
Boys Like Girls frontman Martin Johnson also worked with Lavigne on the album, co-producing five songs, including the lead single "Here's to Never Growing Up". In a Billboardinterview, Lavigne revealed that she worked with Marilyn Manson on a track called "Bad Girl". She said about the collaboration, "It’s a heavier tune and I thought his voice would be perfect on it, so I hit him up. I called him and he came over to the studio and he really liked the track and he just put some vocals down on it. He was a pro and he did an amazing job. I really appreciate him as an artist and I love his style and I really respect him and his art, and I thought it was really cool to have him on this record".
In an interview for 4Music, Lavigne teased a female collaboration, but it didn't make to the album. Because Lavigne had written so many songs for her fifth album, she was considering releasing two back-to-back albums. This is the second time that Lavigne has mentioned writing enough material for more than one record, the first during the production of Goodbye Lullaby. "I kinda wanna do the back-to-back records because I've worked so hard on writing a ton of songs and I just wanna make it perfect. And then because there were so many it was like, 'OK well what makes sense?'," she commented.
Composition and themes Edit
|“|| We've got these pop-rock tunes, and then these piano ballads with orchestras. I have a heavier song that Marilyn Manson's on called 'Bad Girl,' and then I've got a song called 'Hello Kitty' that sounds like nothing I've done before. 'Here's To Never Growing Up' is one of the rock tunes on it, but it's all over the place
— Lavigne talking about the album's diversity.
In an interview for Nylon, Lavigne stated that the album was "more artistic" than her previous efforts, explaining, "This time it's not just all songs about relationships and dudes. I just wanted to write songs and make something that was a little more artistic. I wanted to go down that road, I wasn't trying to write a big radio record." While discussing the album's style forEntertainmentwise, Avril opined, "The album is really all over the place. There are piano songs which are just piano and vocals, some very raw, emotional pieces. There are a few summer songs, it’s nostalgic." Regarding the album's lyrical meaning, she commented, "Lyrically I pushed myself to talk about different subjects I haven't talked about before. I didn't want to be so simple. I tried to really express myself and go deeper." [...] "There's a bunch of summer songs then a couple of songs which are pretty nostalgic, about looking back like ‘17’. I guess I didn’t mean for it to turn out like that but it’s good."
While discussing the songs on the album, Avril revealed, "I'm really excited about the song 'Hello Kitty' that I've written for this record, because I'm obsessed with Hello Kitty and it's really fun and the sound is different," she said. "It sounds like nothing I've done before, and I even throw a little bit of Japanese in it". She also described the song called "Rock n Roll" as "LOUD, impressive and it stands for so many other things than just music – that’s really what it comes down to - and it’s a song that I’m just putting the final touches to now". She also called her duet with Marilyn Manson as "heavier" and "rock". While responding what was her favorite song on the album, Lavigne answered, "'Give You What You Like,' 'Hush Hush' and 'Bad Girl.'"
The album's opening track "Rock n Roll" is an upbeat, pop-punk song, about a boisterous declaration of rebellion on which Lavigne puts up her "middle finger to the sky" to "let 'em know that we're still rock and roll," while the second track, "Here's to Never Growing Up", is a celebration of being forever young. The third track "17" was considered a "fizzy, buzzing look back on adolescence," over a "steady" beat, "long acoustic" strums and "yelping" vocals. The fourth track, "Bitchin' Summer", is a mid-tempo song where she and the object of her affection are like "high school lovebirds" and she’s picking him up at the liquor store. "Let Me Go", the fifth track, is a duet with Lavigne's husband and Nickelback's frontman Chad Kroeger, and was described by Lavigne as a " the journey of love through one's life, going from one stage in one love into finding the right one." The sixth track "Give You What You Like" is a sensual-sounding ballad about the exchange of physical pleasures to combat loneliness.
The seventh track "Bad Girl" finds Avril teaming up with Marilyn Manson in a rock, industrial and nu-metal, with Manson singing about his pervy "daddy" fantasies while Avril invites him to "do whatever" and more. "Hello Kitty" sees Lavigne flirting with electronic music and techno pop, while also featuring a dubstep breakdown. Lyrically, Lavigne pointed out that the song "is about her love of the Japanese brand" but also has a "flirtatious" meaning. The ninth track, the pop-rock "You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet", finds its protagonist rounding "third base and headed for a home run," while the bouncy "Sippin' on Sunshine" with lyrics about the sunshine being delivered by way of a kiss. The breakup track "Hello Heartache" has a background vocal hook crawling "la-la-la" and a skittering backbeat, while "Falling Fast" guardedly celebrates new love with "hushed" rock elements and "crystallized" melody. The album's final track, the piano-driven "Hush Hush", emits a rush of feelings—regret, anger, desperation, nakedness, and finally, faint hopefulness.
The only promotional single "How You Remind Me" was released in Japan on 11 December 2012, as a digital download on the One Piece Film: Z soundtrack. It was released on 19 December 2013 as a digital download in the UK. The song was included in the Japan, Taiwan, China Tour Edition of the album as one of the bonus tracks.
On 9 April 2013, the album's lead single, "Here's to Never Growing Up", produced by Martin Johnson of the band Boys Like Girls, was released. The song was critically acclaimed and was the album's most successful single. The track peaked at number 20 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the US, also reaching the top-twenty in Australia, Canada and the UK, while reaching the top-ten in Ireland and Japan. A lyric video featuring submitted photographs of fans "never growing up" was released onto Lavigne's official Vevo account the same day as the release of the single. The song's official music video was later released on 9 May 2013.
The second single, "Rock n Roll", premiered on Lavigne's official YouTube channel on 18 July 2013 and was released on 27 August, with the music video premiering a week earlier on 20 August, while the lyric video for the song, featuring fan-made videos submitted through Instagram, was released onto Lavigne's official Vevo account on 12 August 2013. The song received very limited commercial success, being a success in Japan, where it reached number five. However, it only managed to peak at number 37 in Canada, number 45 in Australia, number 68 in the UK and number 91 in the U.S.
"Let Me Go" featuring Chad Kroeger was confirmed as the album's third single. It premiered on the radio station KBIG on 7 October 2013. It was officially impacted Contemporary hit radio in Italy on 11 October 2013. It was later made available for purchase on iTunes along with its music video on 15 October 2013. Worldwide, "Let Me Go" was more successful than "Rock n Roll", reaching a peak of number 12 on the Canadian Hot 100 chart and the top-forty in Austria. Elsewhere, it also achieved moderate impact in the UK and the US.
On 27 February 2014, Lavigne revealed on her Twitter page that she would be releasing two singles in two different territories. Later, she revealed that "Hello Kitty" was going to be released in Asia, shooting its music video in March 2014. Lavigne also revealed the cover art for the single and its music video was released on 21 April 2014. Its music video was heavily criticized by critics, with Billboard labeling it "abhorrent" and "lazy". Its depiction of Japanese culture was met with widespread criticism, which has included suggestions of racism, with Lavigne denying it. "Hello Kitty" debuted at number 75 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, due to the popularity of its music video.
Avril Lavigne received generally favorable reviews from music critics, according to Metacritic, which assigns a weighted mean rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, receiving an average score of 65, based on 9 reviews (which indicates "generally favorable reviews"). Stephen Thomas Erlewine of Allmusic gave the album a rating of 3.5 out of 5 stars, calling "one of Avril's livelier and better albums; it's all about the good times, no matter how temporary or illusionary they may be." Erlewine also wrote that the "hooks are stronger, better than so many of Avril's songs since her 2002 debut, 'Let Go'." Jason Lipshut of Billboard praised the album for "encapsulate everything worth loving about the 29-year-old's long-running artistry," highlighting that "unlike 2011's 'Goodbye Lullaby,' which featured moments in which Lavigne sounded unsure of herself, the singer is fully in control here." Nick Catucci of Entertainment Weekly was also positive, praising Lavigne for "revealing her grown-woman wisdom," noticing that the album "reminds us that maturity sometimes means doubling down on what’s expected of you." Sputnikmusic wrote that the album "couldn’t be a better representation of her career up to the present day. It’s fun, easily digestible pop for the masses, featuring the soaring choruses and melodies that made us fall in love with her over the past ten years."
Sam Lansky of Idolator lauded the album as his "favorite pop album of the year,"labeling it "the Avril-iest album of Avril’s career. It’s brimming with character, jagged with contradictions, deeply nostalgic, occasionally annoying, likably bratty and mostly great." Laurence Green of music OMH praised the album, writing that "the eponymous effort goes a long way to restore the singer to her rightful place as a purveyor of some of the most carefree, feelgood pop around." Craig Manning of Absolute Punk acknowledged that, "It’s not going to be a new favorite album for anyone other than Avril Lavigne’s most ardent admirers, but a handful of great summer mixtape songs and a few other exercises in mindless pop fun are still enough to make 'Avril Lavigne' the eponymous singer’s best record in nine years." Caroline Sullivan of The Guardian echoed the same thought, calling the "bratty nostalgia trip", "the best thing she's done in years." In a more negative review, Chuck Eddy of Rolling Stone found out that the album features "soggy ballads, sometimes vaguely goth or R&B, and tries in vain to keep up with Taylor Swift," but praised "Hello Kitty" for feeling "truly playful." Kyle Fowle of Slant Magazine also found the exploration of life-affirming mantras and boasts of rebelliousness "forced, as if she's trying to capture an attitude, and craft a persona, that she no longer lives.
Avril Lavigne debuted at number five on the Billboard 200 chart, selling over 44,000 copies, becoming Lavigne's fifth straight top 10 album. However, it was her lowest peak and first-week sales. In its second week, the album dropped from number 5 to number 26. In Canada, the album debuted at number four, with sales of 8,500 copies. By debuting inside the top-five, Lavigne managed to have all of her albums debuted on the chart in the top five. In Japan, the album debuted at number-two, becoming the second album by Lavigne to peak in this position, the other being Goodbye Lullaby (2011). As of 15 December 2013, the album has sold over 119,766 copies in Japan.
In the United Kingdom, the album only debuted at number 14, becoming her first album to miss the top-ten in the UK. It remained for two weeks on the charts, becoming her fastest to leave the charts. In Australia, the album debuted at number 7, selling only 2,829 copies and remained on the chart for only two weeks. In China and Taiwan, the album debuted at the top of the charts.
To further promote the album, Lavigne embarked on her fifth tour, "Avril Lavigne on Tour", starting in Asia, followed by South America. In the United States, Lavigne will serve as opening act on the Backstreet Boys tour, "In a World Like This Tour".
|1.||"Rock N Roll"||Avril Lavigne, Peter Svensson, Rickard B. Göransson, J Kash, Chad Kroeger, David Hodges||Svensson, Göransson, Martin Johnson, Kyle Moorman, Brandon Paddock||3:27|
|2.||"Here's to Never Growing Up"||Lavigne, Johnson, Hodges, Kroeger, J Kash||Johnson, Moorman, Paddock||3:34|
|3.||"17"||Lavigne, J Kash, Johnson||Johnson, Moorman, Paddock||3:24|
|4.||"Bitchin' Summer"||Lavigne, Matt Squire, Kroeger, Hodges, J Kash||Squire, Kroeger||3:31|
|5.||"Let Me Go" (featuring Chad Kroeger)||Lavigne, Kroeger, Hodges||Kroeger, Hodges||4:27|
|6.||"Give You What You Like"||Lavigne, Kroeger, Hodges||Kroeger, Hodges||3:45|
|7.||"Bad Girl" (featuring Marilyn Manson)||Lavigne, Kroeger, Hodges||Kroeger, Hodges||2:56|
|8.||"Hello Kitty"||Lavigne, Kroeger, Johnson,|
|Johnson, Moorman, Paddock, Hodges, Kroeger||3:17|
|9.||"You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet"||Lavigne||Chris Baseford, Kroeger||3:14|
|10.||"Sippin' On Sunshine"||Lavigne, Johnson, Kroeger, Hodges, J Kash||Johnson, Moorman, Paddock||3:30|
|11.||"Hello Heartache"||Lavigne, Hodges||Hodges||3:49|
|13.||"Hush Hush"||Lavigne, Hodges||Hodges||4:01|
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