LOS ANGELES — Avril Lavigne's upcoming second album is called Under My Skin, but it's the title of her debut that best sums up the premise of her new video: Let Go.
"Before shooting the video, we discussed how anger is not the opposite of love," director Liz Friedlander explained Wednesday on the "Don't Tell Me" set, a crowded downtown street. "Letting go and not thinking about it is the opposite of love. And we discussed the shift from something being all-consuming to letting it all go in the end."
After talking with Lavigne, Friedlander, who is best known for Blink-182's "Adam's Song" and Michelle Branch's "Everywhere" videos, wrote a treatment based on the notion of letting go.
The clip opens with Avril waking up to find a man leaving her bed and sneaking away. After taking her anger out on her apartment, she follows him around the city, directing the song's bitter lyrics toward him.
"Don't think that your charm and the fact that your arm/ Is now around my neck will get you in my pants/ I'll have to kick your ass," she sings. "Get out of my head/ Get off of my bed/ Yeah, that's what I said" (see "Avril Lavigne To Show Fans What Lies Beneath On New Album").
Toward the end, she stops chasing him and directs her words to the camera.
"She goes on a little journey," Friedlander explained, as Lavigne signed autographs for onlookers nearby. "We start in a small, claustrophobic room, we break out into a hallway, we break out into the street and then we end. Earlier today we did a shot where she goes up and away on a crane 30 feet in the air, so she's kind of over the city."
"Quite literally above the bullsh--," is how Friedlander's treatment puts it.
"It's like when you need to tell somebody something, and you keep yelling and yelling at them, and the moment of peace is when you realize you can just let them walk away," the director continued. "You don't need to say something."
The video tells the story of the song, but the plot will be subtle and mixed in with shots of Lavigne singing and playing electric guitar on the street.
"The inspiration quite literally came from the lyrics and the sound of the song," Friedlander explained. "It was such a brave song, with sincere sentiments about a specific relationship, that I just wanted to capture a lot of really honest moments of her singing."
Along with walking and performing along the street, Avril will sing the song's bridge in several scenarios, such as while sitting in a parked car and peering out an office window. "That's the part where the guy stops and looks around and she's not on the street. Then he starts seeing her all over the place," Friedlander said.
"Don't Tell Me," which was produced by former Marvelous 3 frontman Butch Walker (Sevendust, Bowling for Soup), is the first single from Under My Skin, due May 25. Chantal Kreviazuk, Don Gilmore (Linkin Park), Our Lady Peace singer Raine Maida and former Evanescence guitarist Ben Moody are among the collaborators featured on the album (see "So Where's Evanescence's Ben Moody? Ask Avril Lavigne").
Lavigne launched a mall tour Thursday in Minneapolis (see "Avril Lavigne Sells New Songs At Mall Tour Opener") and will perform at the Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards on April 9.