Avril Lavigne’s Goodbye Lullaby Due Out In March

Singer will debut first single, "What the Hell," on New Year's Eve.

[artist id="1228637"]Avril Lavigne[/artist] fans have been waiting patiently for the follow-up to 2007′s The Best Damn Thing, and after two years of recording and delays, they will finally get their reward.

Lavigne’s fourth studio album, Goodbye Lullaby, is slated for release on March 8, 2011. The disc will feature collaborations with producer/songwriter Butch Walker and pop mastermind Max Martin as well as her former guitarist Evan Taubenfeld and ex-husband, Sum 41′s Deryck Whibley.

Among the tracks slated for inclusion are “Smile,” described as a rocker that “expresses her gratitude for special people in her life,” an exploration of relationship dynamics called “Push,” the vulnerable ballad “Wish You Were Here,” a ’50s-girl-group-inspired tune called “Stop Standing There” and the title track, “Goodbye,” on which she “finds the strength to close one chapter of her life and move on to the next.”

Lavigne is slated to debut the album’s first single, “What the Hell,” on “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve” on December 31. She described the song on her website as “an unabashed embrace of fun and freedom.” After veering into a more pure pop sound on Best Damn Thing, the singer told Billboard earlier this year that her new album will have a “somewhat more raw” sound.

While fans have likely been bummed out by the delay, Lavigne assured them that they were not nearly as frustrated as she’s been. In a harsh letter posted to her followers last month, she lashed out at unnamed label bosses for delaying the effort. “I’m done with my 4th record!!!” she announced on November 11. “Well, actually, I have been done for a year … and now my record company have finally decided to release it. OMG … How nice! Thanks guys … This has been a really difficult record for me to create and to release,” she wrote.

“Not only is this the most meaningful and special record I have written, it is sincere, honest and close to my heart. But for the first time, I experienced a bunch of bureaucratic BS … People do their best work when they are doing what they want, love and is natural for them, not when you are forcing them to be something that they are not.”

It’s not like Lavigne has been totally off the radar since her last album. She contributed the lead single “Alice” to the soundtrack to Tim Burton’s “Alice in Wonderland” remake in March. She also appeared as a guest judge on “American Idol” earlier this year and made her dramatic big-screen debut in 2007′s “The Flock.”

Are you looking forward to Avril’s new album? Tell us in the comments.

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