Release date: May 2004
Under My Skin is the second studio album by Canadian singer-songwriter Avril Lavigne, released worldwide on May 25, 2004. It was her last album with Arista Records. Under My Skin debuted at number-one on the Billboard 200 albums chart and according to Billboard magazine, was ranked number 149 on the list of top-selling album of the 2000s. It has sold over 10 million copies worldwide.
Having no plans of working with producers or professional writers, Lavigne wrote much of the album with Canadian singer-songwriter Chantal Kreviazuk, to whom she had developed a friendship with in the summer of 2003. Kreviazuk, whose husband Raine Maida's band Our Lady Peace opened for Lavigne's concert in Europe, introduced herself at an after-party for the SARS benefit concerts held in Toronto in June 2003. The following day, Lavigne and Kreviazuk had lunch together, during when Lavigne shared how she wanted the development of the album to be. They wrote songs for almost three weeks at Maida's warehouse in Toronto. Kreviazuk invited Lavigne to continue working in a Malibu, California house she shared with Maida, which contained a recording studio. Many of the tracks in the album were recorded in Malibu.
Kreviazuk suggested Maida produce songs for the album, an ability Lavigne did not know. Maida produced five songs, including "Fall to Pieces", which he co-wrote with Lavigne. Lavigne also invited two other producers: Don Gilmore, who produced three songs, two of which were written by Lavigne and Kreviazuk, and Butch Walker who also produced three songs in three days. Lavigne also co-wrote one track, "Nobody's Home", with Ben Moody, formerly of Evanescence, and the rest with her guitarist Evan Taubenfeld.
On her website, Lavigne states that she had learned a lot since her first record, Let Go: "I was involved in every aspect of making this record. I'm very hands-on. I knew how I wanted the drums, the guitar tones, and the structures to be. I understand the whole process so much better this time because I've been through it. I'm really picky with my sound." Regarding the album's theme, Lavigne stated, "I've gone through so much, so that's what I talk about....Like boys, like dating or relationships".
Under My Skin fits into a variety of musical styles because of Lavigne's mix of pop and rock genre influences, similar to Lavigne's first album, Let Go. Under My Skin has been described as teen-pop, punk, pop rock, alternative rock, pop punk, and grunge.
Lavigne released four official singles for the album. "Don't Tell Me" was the first single of the album, written and produced by herself, Evan Taubenfeld and Butch Walker. It gave Lavigne a nomination at the 2004 MTV VMAs, reaching No. 22 in the Billboard Hot 100, No. 5 in the UK Singles Charts and top 10 in Australia.
"My Happy Ending" was the second single. It was the lead single from the album, written and produced by her and Butch Walker the song returned Under My Skin to number one in Canada for several weeks, and to the top five in the U.S., Germany, the UK, Australia, and other European countries. It was her fourth #1 single in the U.S. Mainstream Top 40 and her second platinum single since "Complicated" (2002). The song became a worldwide hit.
"Nobody's Home" was the third single released from the album, written by Lavigne and Ben Moody, former Evanescence member and produced by Don Gilmore. The song peaked lower in most countries than some of her previous singles.
"He Wasn't" was the fourth single from the album written and produced by her and Chantal Kreviazuk. It was not released in the United States, instead "Fall to Pieces" was released, but was only a radio single.
"Take Me Away" was also a radio-only single first released in Canada and later in Australia.
Under My Skin was her first album to debut at number one on the U.S. Billboard 200, based on 381,000 unit sales. The album was certified double Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America in November 2004. By January 2006 it has been certified triple Platinum.
It also made its debut at number one in Japan, selling 286,894 copies. Under My Skin also went to number one in Canada selling over 63,000 copies, UK, Australia, Spain, Mexico and Taiwan. It also topped the U.S. Billboard Internet Albums. It spent almost 5 months in the New Zealand Album Charts, eventually going Gold, but only peaking at number 7. On April 15, 2007, the album re-entered the UK Albums Chart at number 60. Under My Skin had sold over 10 million copies worldwide.
To promote Under My Skin, Lavigne went on the "Live and by Surprise", a 21-city Mall Tour in the United States and Canada. The venue in each city wasn't announced until 48 hours before the show, which began on March 5, 2004 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the week "Don't Tell Me" was released to radio. Accompanied by her guitarist, Evan Taubenfeld, Lavigne performed a short live acoustic version of five songs from the album. The set also included "Complicated" and "Sk8er Boi" from Let Go. Selections of this tour were released on the Live Acoustic EP, which was released exclusively in Target stores.
Lavigne embarked on a world concert tour during 2004 and 2005 (Bonez Tour) visiting North America, Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America. The 140-show tour began on September 26, 2004 and ended one year later on September 25, 2005. Opening acts for the concerts included Simple Plan and Butch Walker. At some shows, she covered songs such as "American Idiot" by Green Day and "All the Small Things" by Blink-182. The live performance at the Budokan Stadium was covered on the DVD Live at Budokan: Bonez Tour, which was only made available in Japan.