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Avril Lavigne - Love Sux (Album Review)

Tuesday, 08 March 2022 Written by Emma Wilkes

Photo: Ryan McFadden

This was always going to happen. Pop-punk is basking in a nostalgia-fuelled resurgence, with fans past and present running back to worship at the altars of Mark Hoppus, Hayley Williams, and of course, Avril Lavigne. 

Now on her seventh studio album, Lavigne’s comeback could not be more neatly timed but, in reality, the timing is apt to a fault. Without even listening to ‘Love Sux’ it’s easy to see dollar signs spinning in her eyes—she helped build this sound, so why not get Travis Barker on the phone and cash in? The music itself does nothing to nullify this assumption. ‘Love Sux’ is profoundly inauthentic and devoid of originality.

The primary problem is that it doesn’t feel distinctly like an Avril Lavigne record. Even at their most inoffensive, its lyrics are so generic that they could have come from any young pop star’s mouth.

Love It When You Hate Me (“Don’t call me baby/I love it when you hate me”) and the teeth-rotting Kiss Me Like The World Is Ending (“On my last day, all I wanna do is/Look in your eyes and fall asleep next to you”) are among the list of worst offenders. 

It’s harder still to believe this is an Avril Lavigne album when the Avril on record sounds like an exhumed past self, which might be the only way to plausibly explain why the record sounds so juvenile, with its saccharine talk of crushes and broken hearts. At its worst, it’s cringeworthy, hitting its lowest ebb when she imagines herself as someone’s ‘wifey’ on lead single Bite Me. 

The musical template on ‘Love Sux’ does its lyrics no favours. Its squeaky clean riffs have an adequate amount of bouncy energy but feel eerily familiar in ways they shouldn’t. F.U. may as well have been an offcut from Paramore’s ‘Riot’ era, while Bois Lie sounds like Stand Atlantic on a bad day (even before Machine Gun Kelly begins his nasal whining). Worse still, it’s overproduced to high heaven, with the vocals more computerised than human at points, leaving things blindingly shiny in all the worst ways. 

‘Love Sux’ attempts a redemption arc by saving its strongest tracks till last, but it’s too little too late. The sunny Hoppus collaboration All I Wanted and the hypercaffeinated Break Of A Heartache are the catchiest things on offer but, unfortunately, they can’t redeem the album. This whole exercise feels like we’re being sold a product, and not even a catchy hook can detract from that. 

Avril Lavigne Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Sat May 06 2023 - MANCHESTER O2 Apollo
Sun May 07 2023 - LONDON O2 Academy Brixton
Tue May 09 2023 - LONDON O2 Academy Brixton
Wed May 10 2023 - LONDON O2 Academy Brixton

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