- Album Title: Head Above Water
- Release Date: February 15, 2019
- Label: BMG
- Writing & Demoing Dates: Fall 2015 - May 2017
- Recording Dates: May 16, 2017 - May 2018
- Status: Finished recording and mixing in May 2018; ready for release
- First Single: "Head Above Water," out on September 19th
- Second Single: "Tell Me It's Over," out December 12th
- Expected Sound: Will showcase vocals; piano-driven; more lyrically complex, clever, and poetic; inspired by singer-songwriters like Ed Sheeran; more rock and punk; back to her roots (country, gospel, jazz); emotional ballads
- Expected Themes: Lyme disease, empowerment, divorce, love; more themes and topics than she's written about before; dramatic, raw, powerful, personal, intimate, an emotional journey
- Collaborators: J.R. Rotem, Zane Carney, Travis Clark, Stephan Moccio, Lauren Christy, Bonnie McKee, Chad Kroeger, Dan Ellis, Dave Immerman, Ryan Cabrera, Melissa Bel, Justin Gray, Johan Carlsson
Avril Lavigne released her self-titled 5th album in November 2013. It had several delays, with Avril going back into the studio to record more radio friendly material. By the time she finally did finish recording it, she had a huge number of songs to choose from. It was a similar situation to the Goodbye Lullaby album, in which she also had plenty of leftover tracks. In both cases she said she had enough songs for two albums, and said she would love to release the remaining tracks soon. So far we haven't heard the Goodbye Lullaby leftovers ("Gone," "Candy," "Fine"), and the Avril Lavigne extras also remain to be heard.
Avril Lavigne ended up being half made up of some of Avril's more indie rock, introspective songs, and the other half was more radio friendly pop rock, similar to her earlier albums. Despite the pop songs on the first half of the record, Avril initially seemed to be heading in a new musical direction and had a full album worth of indie rock songs before going back into the studio. Fans would love to hear those songs, and Avril expressed interest in releasing them. Will those ever come out? Or will her 6th album be all new material?
In April 2015, Avril revealed she'd been battling Lyme disease for months. She was left bedridden, but that time gave her a chance to look at her career with a clear point of view. Avril made the negative positive, and out of her year-long illness she got a fresh perspective on what she wants to do with the rest of her career.
Avril says that besides a few singles ("Fly," released in support of the Special Olympics, and another song she wrote about her battle with Lyme disease), her next music projects will be a Christmas album and her sixth studio album. Avril has been writing and recording since fall 2015, with writers like her ex Chad Kroeger and Zane Carney.
In early 2017, Avril began sharing song lyric hints, suggesting that future songs may be titled "Warrior" or "Crush." On March 1st, she announced that she has signed with BMG. She is nearly done writing, and the next step is to find a producer. This album will go back to her country, jazz, and church roots and will tackle subjects beyond love and breakups. Avril promises to release the album in 2017. The first single will likely be a song she wrote about her Lyme disease. On May 16, 2017, Avril officially began production for the new album. J.R. Rotem has been producing for the album.
In January 2018, Avril describes the album as "next level," "an emotional journey," and the one she's worked the hardest on in her career. She also characterized it as being personal, dramatic, raw, intimate, powerful, strong, and unexpected. In April, Travis Clark of We The Kings talked about his collaborating with Avril on three of the new songs, one of which may be the lead single. That month, both he and Avril described the new music as powerful, piano-driven, showcasing her vocals, and being an album of strength. In May, Avril finished recording the album, though she may have worked with songwriter Bonnie McKee after that - based on an Instagram post in June.
With the album done, in July 2018 Avril shot the album cover under water. In August, she spent 7 days filming the music video for her upcoming single. She indicated that the song and music video will be out in September, with the album expected out by the end of 2018.
On September 6th, Avril shared a long, heart-wrenching letter announcing that "Head Above Water" would be her first single, out on September 19th. It was the first song she wrote while she had Lyme Disease, at a time when she was bedridden and in her mother's arms.
"Head Above Water" came out on September 19th along with a lyric video. A week later, Avril performed the song for the first time on Jimmy Kimmel Live. On September 27th (Avril's 34 birthday), the music video for "Head Above Water" was released.
On October 30th, Avril announced that the album is titled Head Above Water, and it will be released in February 2019! In early November, Avril began teasing lyrics to a new song. On December 5th, Avril announced "Tell Me It's Over" would be the album's second single, to be released the following week. Two days later, Avril revealed the cover art for Head Above Water, as well as its full 12-song tracklisting.
On December 12th, Head Above Water became available for pre-order. It's set for release on February 15, 2019. That same December day, second single "Tell Me It's Over" was released along with a music video.