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Avril Sets Date For Clap-Happy New Album

Avril Lavigne has penciled in an April 17 release for her new RCA album, “The Best Damn Thing.” As previously reported , the first single is “Girlfriend”; it will arrive March 5 at U.S. radio outlets, and its accompanying video will premiere Feb. 26 on MTV.

With its handclaps and bad-girl vibe, the track is reminiscent of Toni Basil’s “Mickey,” as Lavigne pushes past rival ladies to demand attention from a new guy: “She’s like, so whatever / you could do so much better,” she sings of her competition.

Two other tracks previewed by Billboard.com follow in a similar style: “I Can Do Better” is a fast and punky kiss-off with Blink 182-ish guitar riffs, and the title cut finds Lavigne proclaiming she is the “best damn thing your eyes have ever seen.”

Elsewhere, “When You’re Gone” is a power ballad with a piano and synth introduction, and “Everything Back But You” mines Rancid-style pop/punk for another diss of a cheating boyfriend. “The Best Damn Thing” will also include “Keep Holding On,” previously released on the “Eragon” soundtrack.

“I wanted to make sure the songs were fun — fun for the fans and myself,” Lavigne said in a December post on her MySpace page. At present, the artist is in the midst of tour rehearsals but details have yet to be announced. Meanwhile, Lavigne has teamed up with Del Rey Manga, an imprint of Random House, to publish “Make 5 Wishes”, the company’s first American manga. The first volume of “Make 5 Wishes” will be released shortly before “The Best Damn Thing”; the second volume will come out in July.