Avril Lavigne – Love Sux
Released: February 25, 2022
Has this been the album we’ve been waiting all these years for? Avril Lavigne burst onto the scene in 2001 with ‘Complicated’ and ‘Sk8er Boi’ during a time when music was full of Britneys and Christinas dancing to choreographed moves and singing upbeat, sappy pop tunes. The Canadian teen at the time felt like a breath of fresh air, with her alternative personality of bratty, angsty, tell-it-like-it-is business. It felt… more relatable to girls across the world.
Since then, her presence in the music industry has helped in shaping the pop punk evolution, particularly with follow-up records, Under My Skin and The Best Damn Thing. ‘My Happy Ending’, and ‘Girlfriend’ has long remained a favourite with fans even to this day. As the years went by, her recent releases have still garnered huge success for the pop punk princess but just didn’t have the same level of tempo as earlier releases. Take 2019’s Head Above Water. She pulled out a killer pop ballad on the leading title track, and while there were a few decent songs sprinkled throughout, most of the album did fall a little short.
Love Sux in the meantime, is Avril Lavigne’s seventh LP and marks her resurgence in the alternative/pop punk scene. I’ve been waiting for this album to drop ever since we hit up John Feldmann back in 2020 where he revealed to us first that he was working with the singer on her new album. She’s fucked off the mainstream label bosses, flipped the finger and turned to renowned producer John Feldmann and Blink-182 drummer Travis Barker to help guide her back to her truest self. On the surface, the album could be considered somewhat of a concept record about love, relationships and those difficult emotions that are ever so hard to process. However, when you get around to listening, this album is a return to form for Avril and a genuine pop punk record through and through.
‘Cannonball’ doesn’t waste any time in getting to the point. In fact, you could say the song is “ticking like a timebomb…” she’s ready to fucking explode, motherfuckers! Charging in with a frivolous high-energy punk rock mentality, this feels like 2004 Avril towards the end of Under My Skin teamed with the brash, overconfidence of The Best Damn Thing. ‘Bois Lie’ continues this vengeance and brings back her unique staple of spelling, alongside her raw yet relatable tell-it-like-it-is demeanour. An upbeat pop punk anthem for telling a guy exactly where to put their lies, she’s teamed up with Machine Gun Kelly, who brought back the genre into the spotlight in 2020. I can tell you one thing though — given the song’s cheap, low value lyrical content, ‘Bois Lie’ is super infectious, top tier pop punk and better than any emo girl anthem around.
While ‘Bite Me’ acted as the very first taste of an older Avril Lavigne towards the end of 2021, it very much proved the opposite. Sure, she’s obviously aged through the years, but this song tells you otherwise. It was the perfect single to mark Avril’s return to the genre. Featuring a luminous hook (“HEEEY YOOOUU!”) and one of her best written verses ever, ‘Bite Me’ takes centre stage on this come back. With Barker at the helm (who even makes an appearance in the video), the song brings all the personality of The Best Damn Thing and vocally, it just… feels like she’s barely aged. Pop punk is truly the fountain of youth.
Second single ‘Love It When You Hate Me’ is a fresh perspective from the musician that Avril is in 2022. This time teaming up with emo rapper Blackbear, musically it feels more aligned with the emo pop era of this new age. She’s still managed to pop off a shimmering rocky chorus, while also bringing back summer pop rock vibes reminscent of the 2000s.
However, this entire release revolves around Love Sux, and the title track is more than impressive. Leading in with the line, “are we having fun yet?” I could also ask you the same thing when listening to this album. Straight up, this sounds old school as hell, bratty Avril Lavigne at her finest yet she’s also brought a spirit that is as radiant as Joan Jett on ‘Bad Reputation’. Overall, the tune ties the theme of love sucks together, it’s extremely infectious and sits up there with fellow title track ‘The Best Damn Thing’. This song is set to become a huge fan favourite, particularly amongst my fellow Millennial 30-something year old’s. Sing it loud, girls!
Where ‘Love Sux’ talks about the bullshit we gotta go through with boys, ‘Kiss Me Like the World is Ending’ sings about the euphoria and feelgood emotions of falling in love. It’s hella cheesy although super enjoyable to sing along too. Bringing with it summery roadtrip away vibes, I can’t help that this song in particular was inspired by her current romance with MOD SUN, whose relationship apparently blossomed during the creation of Love Sux. I can’t say anything bad about this track — it’s bound to give anyone a sense of euphoria.
‘Avalanche’ deserves a standing ovation here. It takes a slower change of pace on the album and reintroduces Avril’s mellow guitar rock we were introduced with on Let Go. The staggering acoustic guitars on the verses will throw you back to ‘I’m With You’, amongst Feldmann’s trademark super-polished production. Hiding her radiant rebel personality for a hot minute, ‘Avalanche’ sees the Canadian musician soar and bare true emotion in times of need. It’s a universal rock anthem about being okay not to feel okay all the time yet still fits in theme with the overarching lyrical content of her seventh LP. If any year deserves an Avril Lavigne revolution, 2022 is it and arrives with this in helping to celebrate 20 fucking years of Let Go!
Love Sux doesn’t fall short of energetic pop punk tunes, that’s for sure. ‘Deja Vu’ ramps the ‘tude up to a 9 amidst those loud, riotous riffs. Although it brings a ‘Don’t Tell Me’ 2.0 demeanour, the song also feels more like current Avril Lavigne, albeit poppier than ever. But holy shit, it works so well. ‘F.U.’ and ‘Break of a Heartache’ does much of the same; these three tracks don’t offer anything new from the singer, but they’re brilliant filler tracks that still contribute to Love Sux just as much as the heavy hitters.
A top favourite of this record for me is ‘All I Wanted’. Luring us in with a nostalgic moment of a younger time, we witness her collaborating with Travis Barker’s Blink-182 bandmate Mark Hoppus and — Blink fanbois are going to have an absolute field day on this one (Browny included). ‘All I Wanted’ is the 2000s pop punk duet our former emo teenage hearts dream of. Hoppus surprises us all by intervening in the middle of the first verse, which cements the wholesome notion that this is the idyllic duet of young summer love. It screams the best of Blink-182’s Take Off Your Pants and Jacket, giving new generations a taste of this iconic record with a 2022 refresh. The duo nailed this, and it’s by far the standout collaboration on this album. If anyone from DTA Records is reading this, you really need to make ‘All I Wanted’ a single!
The sole ballad of the record, ‘Dare To Love Me’ sees Avril dare to open up her heart and be truly vulnerable in love. It’s a beautiful, heartfelt ballad about showing vulnerabilities because you know.. Love Sux, and it’s hard opening your heart to someone new. Even throughout all the loud punk jams on the album, this slow burner doesn’t feel out of place at all. As a renowned pop singer, Avril is a solid singer with inspiring ballads and this one is held high alongside prevous hit ballads ‘Head Above Water’ and ‘Keep Holding On’.
Wow. Musically, I can’t even fault this record, one bit. But if you really want to know, did I come across any weak links? Sure, we probably could have seen her tackle deeper lyrical content besides love and anti boy bashing. But we all know, this area is synonymous with her brand. While there aren’t really any new advances from Avril Lavigne, Love Sux is purely a throwback to the golden years and marks her highly anticipated return into the spotlight. It’s her playing her favourite kinda music, and who doesn’t love watching someone gush over something they’re hugely passionate about? For the first time since The Best Damn Thing, she has fucking nailed an entire album — with help from an A-grade team, John Feldmann, Travis Barker and the ultra-talent that is MOD SUN. Every single track flies into one another seamlessly. Love Sux is a flawless pop punk record. From start to finish, it flows magnificently, and has the listener holding on to the final note.
Avril Lavigne – Love Sux tracklisting:
2. Bois Lie (feat. Machine Gun Kelly)
3. Bite Me
4. Love It When You Hate Me (feat. Blackbear)
5. Love Sux
6. Kiss Me Like the World is Ending
8. Deja Vu
10. All I Wanted (feat. Mark Hoppus)
11. Dare to Love Me
12. Break of a Heartache
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