After a rough patch, Avril Lavigne returned to her roots — and found love in the process.
For the first time in a decade, Avril Lavigne found herself truly alone. No bodyguards. No managers. No companions. Recently divorced and reeling from the poor sales for her introspective album Goodbye Lullaby, Lavigne sold her Los Angeles home and flew to Paris during the spring of 2012. Her goal during the three-month stay: Learn French from a tutor. But it was also time to take stock.
“I wanted to spend some time alone,” says the 29-year-old Canadian. “I could go for walks and go to the grocery store. I had a lot of great healing, and I was very independent. I got to get in touch with myself again.”
When Lavigne returned to L.A. to write her fifth, eponymously titled album (Epic Records, $13), out next month, she tried to make sense of her present by looking at her past. The lyrics and sound of songs “Here’s to Never Growing Up” and “Seventeen” are a throwback to the irreverent punk-pop of Lavigne’s 2002 debut, Let Go.
“I find myself constantly making references to that age: ‘When I was 17, I did this. When I was 17, I did that,’ ” says the singer. “One of my favorite lines is, ‘Stealing beers out of the trailer park,’ because I totally did that!”
Lavigne was keen to turn up the guitars again, so she invited Chad Kroeger from Canadian rock bank Nickelback to collaborate on a song. “Immediately, we hit it off,” Lavigne says.
That’s an understatement. Kroeger not only proposed to Lavigne within a few months but also ended up co-writing most of the album.
“ ‘Let Me Go’ was one of the first songs we wrote, and we changed the end of the song later on,” Lavigne reveals. “We didn’t want to be singing on a song together, going ‘Let me go.’ So we changed it into a positive song. Now the song ends with, ‘Don’t let me go.’ We’ve made the song so that it is now about the journey of love through one’s lifetime.”
Lavigne’s own voyage ended back in France, where she and Kroeger were married in July. Not bad for a girl who once sang a hit song with the chorus, “So much for my happy ending.”
“I’m really happy to be releasing music 10 years later and still getting played on the radio,” Lavigne says. “And to have a new love is very exciting.”