Avril Lavigne Mellows Out, Gets Serious
Due Out November
After making a career out of writing hypercatchy pop-punk tunes, Avril Lavigne is taking it down a notch. â€œMy last record was about loud guitars and energy, but this time I wanted to really feel my music,â€ explains Lavigne, 24, lounging around a Los Angeles studio with her husband, Sum 41 frontman Deryck Whibley. To meet that goal, Lavigne has created a stripped-down rock record thatâ€™s driven by acoustic guitars, emo-style lyrics and powerful vocal performances on new tunes like â€˜Everybody Hurtsâ€™ and â€˜Darlinâ€™.â€™ â€œAvrilâ€™s voice was sometimes lost and buried in overproduction,â€ says Whibley, who oversaw the majority of the album (Butch Walker also worked on the set).
Lavigne claims that the new record wonâ€™t feature much in the way of pop-punk anthems like â€˜Girlfriendâ€™ â€“ which helped push her last album, 2007â€™s The Best Damn Thing, to multi-platinum status. Still, the big-lunged chorus of â€˜Darlinâ€™â€™ (â€œThereâ€™s nothing I could do but love you the best I canâ€) is as catchy as anything sheâ€™s ever written.
According to Lavigne, â€˜Darlinâ€™â€™ is a â€œnewâ€ old song â€“ the second one she ever wrote, in fact, back when she was an unknown 15-year-old living in Napanee, Ontario. â€œI can see the family room in my parentsâ€™ house when I hear it,â€ she says. Written quickly between tour stops in a Malaysian hotel room, â€˜Black Starâ€™ started as theme music for a TV spot for Avril-branded perfume. Soon, however, it became one of Lavigneâ€™s most ambitious songs, an ethereal lullaby that turns epic with tinkling Coldplay-like pianos and soaring strings.
Lavigne and Whibley recorded most of the set at their LA home â€œin our sweats.â€ And while Lavigne hasnâ€™t entirely given up her bratty ways â€“ â€œWhen Iâ€™m having a bad-hair day, would you tell me you like it that way?â€ she sings on another new track, â€˜Fineâ€™ â€“ thereâ€™s a maturity to the set that surprised even her. â€œLife, thatâ€™s what this record is about,â€ she says. â€œItâ€™s so easy for me to do a boy-bashing pop song, but to sit down and write honestly about something thatâ€™s really close to me, something Iâ€™ve been through, itâ€™s a totally different thing.â€