“Gone,” “Candy,” & “Complete Me” (Instrumental Demos) – Avril Lavigne

Registration: ASCAP (“Complete Me”)
Leaked: July 10, 2011
Recorded: 2009-2010: For Goodbye Lullaby album
Writers: Avril Lavigne, Evan Taubenfeld (“Gone”); Avril Lavigne, Alex Da Kid (“Candy”); Avril Lavigne (“Complete Me”)
Publishers: Almo Music Corporation, Avril Lavigne Publishing LLC (“Complete Me”)


Avril Lavigne spent years working on her fourth album, Goodbye Lullaby – though not by choice. After going for an upbeat, pop punk meets cheerleader sound with The Best Damn Thing, Avril was ready to switch gears again and go in a more acoustic, gentle direction for album #4. Her record was reported to come out in November 2009, and song titles such as “Gone” and “Everybody Hurts” popped up in some interviews. However, her label, RCA, wasn’t happy with her record, and Avril ended up being sent back into the studio to create some radio friendly pop songs. She worked with people like Pharrell and Alex da Kid, but those songs didn’t appear on her album in the end. Finally, after over a year of delays and fighting for her music, Avril’s album Goodbye Lullaby came out in March 2011.

But she wasn’t done yet. She wanted fans to hear some of the gems that didn’t make the album cut, and planned to put out her next album – with these leftovers – very fast. Instrumental versions of “Gone,” “Candy,” and “Complete Me” made their way onto the internet, but the full versions with vocals remain hidden away.

These songs are shrouded in mystery and intrigue. Not much is known about any of them, but one thing is sure: The instrumentals sound promising! Maybe one day fans will get to hear this trio of songs in their complete form.


“Gone”: Evan’s Favorite Song From Avril’s 4th Album

Avril started working on the follow-up to her third album, The Best Damn Thing, in 2008. By summer 2009, she had finished recording it and was getting ready to release it that November. Some of the first songs we heard about included “Everybody Hurts,” “Darlin’,” “Black Star,” and a (still-unreleased) track called “Fine.” She talked about her mature new album to Rolling Stone for their September 3rd issue, revealing that it was more stripped down and focused on her vocals.

“Gone” was first mentioned by Avril’s ex-guitartist, co-writer, and best friend Evan Taubenfeld. He helped write some songs on the album, and talked about her new record during a live chat on September 6th. When asked what his favorite song from the new album was, he answered with a song called “Gone.”

He didn’t give any more details on the song – and caught himself before revealing any more song titles – but “Gone” was planned to be on Avril’s untitled 4th album. And based on Evan’s judgement, it must have been a great track! Fans just had to wait a couple more months to hear it on the new record.


“Candy”: In the Studio with Alex Da Kid

… And then Avril’s album was delayed. Months went by and RCA refused to release Avril’s album. They weren’t pleased with her new, softer direction, expecting something with a bit more pep like her 2007 hit “Girlfriend.” Avril fought for her record, but ultimately ended up going back into the studio to record some radio friendly pop songs. RCA wasn’t going to release her album otherwise.

In summer 2010, Avril was working on some songs with producer Alex da Kid. She posted a video of her studio progress, and towards the end they played a clip of their new “hit single.” Listen:

At the time, they did not mention the song title. However, fans have later determined that the song sounds just like the leak of “Candy.” It is presumed that Avril wrote “Candy” with Alex da Kid during their summer 2010 sessions. It may have even been planned to be a single, so again, this must have been one of the standout tracks.


Goodbye Lullaby

Finally, in March 2011, Avril’s 4th album Goodbye Lullaby was released. It had seen a year and a half of delays, and in that time, many of the songs had been scrapped and replaced with new radio friendly tracks written with Max Martin.

“Gone” and “Fine,” two of the earliest known titles, did not appear on the album. Neither did “Candy” or any other songs Avril worked on with Alex da Kid.

Goodbye Lullaby

Goodbye Lullaby seems to be made up partially of the original, introspective songs Avril had recorded in 2009, and then the rest was newer material she recorded with Max Martin. Unfortunately, many songs were lost along the way, and the album was not quite how Avril had initially intended.

Nonetheless, she had plenty of leftover material, and she still wanted her fans to hear it.


Plans For Album #5

By June 2011, Avril was already talking about album #5, even though Goodbye Lullaby had only been out for 3 months. She told her fans at Avril Lavigne Bandaids:

I already have eight songs! I would like to release the fifth album really quick. This record was more mellow, and the next one will be pop and more fun again. I already have a song that I know is going to be a single, I just need to re-record it!

She didn’t divulge which songs she was working on, but fans speculated that plenty of the Goodbye Lullaby leftovers would appear on the fifth record. Songs like “Gone” and “Fine” were anticipated, as well as the songs she wrote with Alex da Kid in 2010, such as “Candy.”

When at The View for an interview, Avril told fans that she planned to release “Gone” as a single, confirming that she intended to include it on her 5th album.

Avril also confirmed that some of the Alex da Kid songs would be on her next album, though she did not specify which ones.


Instrumentals Leak

On July 9, 2011, a brief instrumental snippet of a song claiming to be Avril’s “Gone” appeared online. Apparently Sony BMG had sent the official instrumental tracks to Music Review; the website had also gotten instrumentals of other official album tracks in the past, suggesting that they’re legitimate.

By the next day, July 10th, the full instrumental versions of THREE songs leaked in full: “Gone,” “Candy,” and another song called “Complete Me.”

“Gone” is the standout among the tracks. It’s led by sweeping strings and a soft tinkle, and has a huge, epic feeling. It could be right at home over the triumphant end of a movie. The overall sound is lush, grand, and gorgeous. In contrast, “Candy” has a heavy drum beat and peppy style reminiscent of “Girlfriend.” It even has cheering sounds in the background, giving it a rallying, positive attitude. And in contrast to both of the first two songs, the third, “Complete Me,” is more like the mellower tracks on Goodbye Lullaby. It’s led by acoustic strumming and simple piano, a sad ode to loss, but it builds up to the end. This is also the only previously unknown title of the three.

Despite early reservations about the authenticity of these tracks – were they actually Avril’s songs, or just fan-made fakes? – fans gobbled up the instrumental leaks. Fans were also excited that these would someday be released officially. Avril had said so, and the fans believed that. We just needed to wait a few months, and the full, vocals-included versions of these songs would be released with her 5th album.


Avril Lavigne: “Complete Me” = “Hello Heartache?”

More than two years passed. Despite being excited about quickly releasing her fifth album back in 2011, Avril ended up starting over. She worked with The Runners, then went into the studio with Chad Kroeger (Nickleback) and David Hodge (Evanescence). In April 2012, Avril announced that she was done, and the album would be released after a short vacation. Unfortunately, her new record label, Epic, was not fully satisfied, and Avril went back into the studio that winter to work on some more songs with new producers. Sounds a lot like the issue with Goodbye Lullaby, doesn’t it?

Her fifth album, called Avril Lavigne, finally came out in November 2013. And it didn’t include any of the Goodbye Lullaby leftovers that Avril had promised two years earlier. There was no “Gone,” “Candy,” or “Fine.”

However, perhaps one of the instrumental leaks did make the cut. “Hello Heartache” is a new song on Avril Lavigne. It’s different enough, but according to ASCAP, that song also goes – or went – by the name of “Complete Me.”

According to ASCAP registration, “Hello Heartache,” written by Avril and David Hodges, was originally titled “Complete Me.”

Hello Heartache

So this (amazing) new song called “Hello Heartache” was “Complete Me”?

To be clear: The song was likely quite different then. First of all, the instrumental music from the leak to the album track have had some significant changes. And, even more telling, the songwriting credit had an addition. “Complete Me” first leaked in summer 2011, but Avril never worked with David Hodges until early 2012. His writing credit means that he must have added or changed something in the song. Avril, too, likely made some changes while working with David.

Besides the music, it is possible that some lyrics changed. The phrase “complete me” never appears in “Hello Heartache,” although the song may have not included those words originally either. Song titles aren’t always mentioned in the song, though it is the norm.

For now, this song is still a bit of a mystery. What the exact changes were remain unknown.


Will We Ever Hear These Songs in Full?

“Gone” and “Candy” have been planned for two albums so far, and scrapped from both. “Complete Me” was written for Goodbye Lullaby, and apparently transformed into something a bit different for Avril Lavigne. As time goes on, it becomes less and less likely that fans will get to hear these hidden gems – at least not on a proper album. Perhaps these songs will appear on some kind of rarities compilation some day, or maybe they’ll leak in full at some point. Who knows.

All three songs sound great, and hopefully fans will have the pleasure of hearing them – with Avril’s vocals and lyrics – some day. We can only hope!

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