Singer's fifth full-length will include pop-rock tunes, piano ballads and a Marilyn Manson collaboration.
First, a clarification: when Avril Lavigne kicks off her new single "Here's To Never Growing Up" with the line "Singing Radiohead at the top of our lungs," she is not talking about "The Gloaming."
"'Creep'!" she exclaims when asked about the line. The explanation makes sense: like the 1992 Radiohead classic, "Here's To Never Growing Up" features a fat, sweeping hook that's more fun to sing along to with a handful of other people by your side. The lead single from Lavigne's forthcoming fifth album, due out this summer, was released on late Monday night (Apr. 8), and previews what the 28-year-old singer-songwriter describes as a highly eclectic new full-length.
"The record's really diverse," Lavigne tells Billboard. "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."
The still-untitled new LP is a departure for Lavigne in the sense that the album marks her first new record for Epic after leaving RCA Records. But the follow-up to 2011's "Goodbye Lullaby" will likely be a radical thematic change from its predecessor: that album, led by the single "What The Hell," was a more pensive effort that was co-produced by the singer's ex-husband, Sum 41 frontman Deryck Whibley. "Goodbye Lullaby's" commercial performance was also underwhelming, selling 363,000 copies to date according to Nielsen SoundScan (Lavigne's best-seller is her 2002 debut "Let Go," with 6.8 million copies sold).
"It was a different time in my life, and there wasn't as much upbeat pop stuff," says Lavigne of "Goodbye Lullaby." "Basically, this album I wanted to still have those types of songs -- emotional, heartfelt ballads, but I also wanted to make this record a little more upbeat and feel-good. And that's also the place that I'm in in my life."
Lavigne's newfound happy-go-lucky attitude can partially be chalked up to her relationship with Nickelback frontman Chad Kroeger, who popped the question last August. "We met in the studio, so our relationship started off by writing songs together," says Lavigne of Kroeger, who co-wrote "Here's To Never Growing Up." The anthemic track was tapped as the lead single to Lavigne's next album for one simple reason: Antonio "L.A." Reid, the Epic head who discovered Lavigne at the age of 15, absolutely loved it.
"He came into the studio and I played him a bunch of tracks, and when 'Here's To Never Growing Up' came on, he stood up and was applauding," Lavigne recalls. "I wanted it to be the single, and I didn't say anything to him -- I just played him all the music, and he was excited about this one. I wanted to write something that was a feel-good song, a summer song."
The lyric video for "Here's To Never Growing Up," made up of fan-submitted photos and videos, was unveiled on Tuesday, after Lavigne received over six thousand submissions. Next up is an official video for the track, as well as the completion of the album which it will call home. "I'm in the studio still, because even though my record's done I want to write another song," says Lavigne. "I'm gonna write a couple songs by myself, because that's important to me.