Release date: March 2011
Goodbye Lullaby is the fourth studio album by Canadian singer-songwriter Avril Lavigne. The album is scheduled for release on March 8, 2011 through RCA Records (Sony Music).
Lavigne began recording in her home studio in November 2008 with "Black Star" only a month after completing The Best Damn Tour. To help promote her first fragrance, Black Star, Lavigne needed a short theme that would be used for the TV spots. "Black Star" was composed in a Malaysian hotel during her tour. The jingle was eventually expanded into a full song, which Rolling Stone later described as "an ethereal lullaby that turns epic with tinkling Coldplay-like pianos and soaring strings."
Recording began with minimal instruments, usually starting with Lavigne singing only to acoustic guitar, with additional instruments added later. Lavigne described the process: "It's stripped down. I love performing that way, so I really felt like it was time to make a record like that. To just make it all about the vocal and the performance, and the vibe, and the emotion." Because she has a studio in her home, Lavigne was able to compose and record at her leisure. She also used the piano to compose the majority of the songs. "The piano is more of an emotional instrument. It stirs up different emotions for me and moves me in a different way than the guitar can." By July 2009, nine tracks had been recorded, including the songs "Fine", "Everybody Hurts" and "Darlin'".
Several of the tracks were written in Lavigne's youth. "Darlin'" was the second song Lavigne wrote as a 15-year-old while living in Napanee, Ontario. Lavigne stated that this album would be different from her previous work, "The other albums I've done, the songs are all over the place. This is the most consistent album all the way through." Lavigne described the album as being about "life". She stated, "It's so easy for me to do a boy-bashing pop song, but to sit down and write honestly about something that's really close to me, something I've been through, it's a totally different thing." Lavigne described the first single off the album, "What the Hell", as "a broad message about personal freedom", calling it her "most pop track on the record", the least personal song from the album and the song most reminiscent of her previous work. Another track, "Stop Standing There", has been described as having an "early- '50s girl-group feel" and "Smile" is about Lavigne's gratitude for special people in her life. "Push" is about relationships and "Wish You Were Here" shows Lavigne's vulnerable side. Lavigne described the track "Everybody Hurts" as "different…but not different to stray away from who I am and what I am." "Goodbye", one of the two songs Lavigne wrote and produced on her own, is about moving on in life. Lavigne stated that "Goodbye" is the most personal song on the album and was the inspiration for the album's title.
The entire track listing for the album was revealed on 21 December 2010, after some were announced in early December. It was also announced that two songs on the album, "4 Real" and "Goodbye", were both written and produced solely by Lavigne herself. The remaining tracks were either written by Lavigne or co-written with longtime collaborators Evan Taubenfeld, Butch Walker and Max Martin. Lavigne stated that her vocals were the most important instrument to her during the album's recording, "typically the lead vocal gets buried in the track and you can't always hear the quality, character, or emotion after a certain point. I wanted my voice to be the main instrument."
Lavigne premiered the lead single, "What the Hell", on Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve on 31 December during a pre-taped segment along with a performance of "Girlfriend". "'What the Hell' is a really fun, upbeat party song, so it worked out really well to play it for the first time on 'New Year's Rockin' Eve." The video for the single was released in January 2011. The album's international promotion started with Lavigne's Japanese tour from 23rd January where she performed "What The Hell" on NHK.