Album Review: Avril Lavigne - 'Love Sux'

An absolute Easter egg for all of us who were raised on pop punk; the self-proclaimed ‘motherfucking princess’ Avril Lavigne released Love Sux on February 25th. Twenty years after the release of her moody seminal debut Let Go, it appears that the enigmatic Canadian is heading back to her roots. Immediately, I was transported to my childhood bedroom, dancing around manically and shouting along with the angsty lyrics and thrashing guitars. Due to the resurgence of all of our old emo and pop punk bangers on social media outlets such as TikTok, it is apparent that we are all craving a bit of Y2K nostalgia. Hearing our cries, Lavigne delivers.



Love Sux is as angsty as the title suggests. Twelve songs, delivered in thirty four minutes; each track is short, punchy and an outburst. Opening track Cannonball is exactly what it sounds like. "Like a ticking time bomb, I’m about to explode" Lavigne shouts, her vocals sounding as strong as they did when she was a seventeen year old skatepunk starlet fresh onto the scene. Delivering her lyrics at a rapid pace, she does truly ‘come in hot’ just as she states in the chorus. Albeit, not the best song on the album, it acts as an appropriate opener for the rest of the album. It showcases her feisty attitude, as well as the clearest indication that the old, pink-highlighted-hair Lavigne is back, following a brief genre change in her 2019 acoustic-led introspective album Head Above Water.


One thing that is noticeable about this album is its seamless transitions from one track into the next. No song in particular feels shoehorned into the album at an inappropriate time. In fact, the smooth transitions of the tracks make the album an easy listen, and certainly reminded me of the satisfaction of not having to get up and press a button to skip a track in my old CD player. Cannonball into Bois Lie featuring Machine Gun Kelly and then into Bite Me is slick and it is clear to see that this album is ferocious and boy-bashing. Lavigne also chooses appropriate featuring artists for her tracks; as previously mentioned, Kelly’s verses act as the ex-boyfriend role of the song, and despite him being a divisive figure in the music community, it is unfair to suggest that Kelly’s experimental venture from rap into pop punk hasn’t brought at least some of pop punk back into mainstream music. However, his narrower vocal range would allow room for a different artist feature for the song to still work. Another notable feature in the album is Blink-182 frontman Mark Hoppus, a well-respected member of the pop punk community. Lavigne has shown that she knows her target audience.



Titular track Love Sux and Déjà vu are the most fun tracks on the album. Albeit, there aren’t always the most mature lyrics, when compared to Lavigne’s previous power tracks, particularly taken from Head Above Water. Having said this, pop punk doesn’t always NEED to be mature. Taken at face value, this album is a riot of teenage angst, despite Lavigne’s own age. It is fair to say that maybe all of us long-standing Lavigne fans don’t want her to grow up. When she is producing fun and fresh albums like Love Sux, sometimes all that is needed is a good sing-along to shouty lyrics about breakups.


However, Lavigne does her usual of including one of two tracks baring her emotional vulnerability, and here, these come in the shape of Dare to Love Me and Avalanche. In terms of placing, these two tracks come towards the end of the album, acting as a consolidation for the outbursts of angst. However, she closes the album with Break of a Heartache; "Oh, come on, motherfucker, let’s go" she opens with, in quintessential Lavigne foul-mouthed fashion, quickly returning to her feisty and fun attitude.


"Lavigne is right - love does suck"

Overall, Love Sux isn’t packing the emotional punch that we know that Lavigne is capable of, however, it does provide us with some light hearted, classic Avril bangers. Sounding fresh out of 2004, this album is a reminder that pop punk is still very much alive and relevant. And after having listened, Lavigne is right – love does suck.


Jodie Averis

 

In article videos courtesy of Avril Lavigne and MTV via YouTube. Featured image courtesy of Avril Lavigne via Facebook.