The wait is finally over, and all [artist id="1228637"]Avril Lavigne[/artist] can say is: "What the Hell." That's the name of the first single from Lavigne's upcoming fourth studio album, Goodbye Lullaby, which is due March 8. The singer has been vocal about how long she's had to wait to get new music to her fans, and on the first salvo from the disc, you can almost taste her pent-up emotions.
Opening with a bouncy retro keyboard riff reminiscent of garage revivalists the Hives and some power-poppy handclaps, the song has the rousing cheerleader energy of some of Lavigne's catchiest hits. It also sounds like a declaration of independence from a former teen star who is storming back onto the scene after her first significant friction with her label and in the wake of a public divorce from ex-husband Deryck Whibley of Sum-41.
"You say that I'm messing with your head/ All 'cause I was making out with your friend," she sings in the opening lines amid a flurry of "yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah" backing chants. "Love hurts whether it's right or wrong/ I can't stop, 'cause I'm having too much fun."
The chorus explodes with a rush of big guitars and beats as she lets loose with the battle cry, "All my life I've been good, but now I'm thinkin', 'What the hell?'/ All I want to is to mess around, and I don't really care about/ If you love me, if you hate me, you can't save me, baby, baby/ All my life I've been good and now, what the hell?"
Though Lavigne has been linked to Brody Jenner — and the pair have gotten matching tattoos — she revels in her freedom in the second verse, singing, "So what if I go out on a million dates?/ You never call or listen to me anyway."
The song got its live debut on "Dick Clark's Rockin' New Year's Eve" and fans got a chance to download it for free for 48 hours after that through Lavigne's Facebook page.
Its infectious groove and peppy vibe are reminiscent of some of the Canadian singer's previous hits, most notably "Girlfriend." And while it may sound familiar to fans, Lavigne promised that the song's energy is not necessarily indicative of the rest of the material on the disc, which she described as a "departure" from her earlier work.
"This album is different. ... I'm older now, so I think that comes across in my music. It's not as pop-rock, and it's a little more mellow and it's deep," Lavigne told MTV News in November. "But my first single is very 'up' and pop-rock. The first single is very much like my older stuff, but the rest of the album is a departure."
Lullaby features production by Whibley; the singer's former guitarist, Evan Taubenfeld; and frequent collaborator Butch Walker, as well as songwriter/producer to the stars Max Martin (Britney Spears, Kelly Clarkson), who co-wrote the first single.
What do you think of Avril's first single? Let us know in the comments!