fri 24/03/2023

Album: Avril Lavigne - Love Sux | reviews, news & interviews

Album: Avril Lavigne - Love Sux

Album: Avril Lavigne - Love Sux

Pop-punk princess misses opportunity to be crowned queen

Back in June, there was a Tik Tok of a woman with eyeliner and a skinny tie miming to the 2002 hit, “Sk8er Boi”. They say trends come in 20 year cycles, which makes sense given the current pop-punk revival we are in. For zoomers, it’s nostalgia for a time they just missed. For millennials, it’s unfettered longing, summed up by the aptly titled When We Were Young Festival (headliners include Paramore and Bring me the Horizon). It was therefore not surprising hearing “Sk8er Boi” on Tik Tok.

But it was surprising that the woman was not just anyone, but the pop-punk princess herself, Avril Lavigne. The video was made as promotion for her seventh album, Love Sux.

It is certainly a well-timed album, which is often quite fun too. But overall the project feels like a lost opportunity.

Love Sux is Avril Lavigne going back to her roots. She’s re-studded her jacket and dug up her skinniest tie. Your enjoyment of Love Sux will thus fully depend on your relationship to the pop-punk of the early Noughties –  ie. power chords, massive choruses and the drumming of Travis Barker.

As the title suggests, these are songs about love and heartbreak in the emotional register of a teenager. The chorus for “Love Sux” goes “Na na na I don’t want to get up, lying in my bed, thinking love sucks” and the melodramatic “Kiss Me Like the World Is Ending”, speaks for itself. One might cringe at Lavigne, now 37, for such lyrics. But ultimately the juvenile language feels as much as a convention of the genre as a distorted guitar. Sometimes the platitudes sound just right, but it would be refreshing to hear lyrics that dig deeper than: “I say I’m fine, but I’m not fine on the inside”, as sung on “Avalanche”.

Love Sux is a lost opportunity to merge the current wave of pop-punk with the old. In the early Noughties, Avril Lavigne was one of the few women in a scene that was overwhelmingly male. Now there’s a generation which she has directly inspired, Olivia Rodrigo and WILLOW cite her as an influence and even indie artists like Snail Mail and Soccer Mommy speak highly of her. It would have been interesting to hear her collaborate with the women that her music spoke to and inspired.

Instead we get duets with Machine Gun Kelly and blackbear, two dudes who embody what was boring with pop-punk to begin with. A duet with Mark Hoppus of Blink-182 further cements this as nostalgia cosplay – which is a shame because it didn’t have to be.

Your enjoyment of Love Sux will thus fully depend on your relationship to the pop-punk of the early Noughties

rating

Editor Rating: 
2
Average: 2 (1 vote)

Explore topics

Share this article

Add comment

newsletter

Get a weekly digest of our critical highlights in your inbox each Thursday!

Simply enter your email address in the box below

View previous newsletters