Avril Lavigne returns to her roots, the blonde ones and punk ones, with “Love Sux”

Gemma Strauss

I hope you brought your black eye-liner and “f*ck you” attitude because Avril Lavigne’s new album “Love Sux” will take you straight back to the early 2000’s punk-rock craze. This energy-infused album is packed with 12 anthemic songs with hooks that were written for you to scream to in your car. The project is classic Lavigne, meaning it is chock full of aggressive drumming and skilled riffs. Produced by punk-rock legend and Blink-182 drummer Travis Barker, “Love Sux” is a predictable but much appreciated album for all the rebels (and rebels at heart).

Marking two decades of her distinctive sound, Avril Lavigne released her new pop-punk album “Love Sux,” on Feb. 25. (Image courtesy of Stereogum)

Starting the tracklist off with a bang, “Cannonball” is a throwback to Lavigne’s 2002 debut album “Let Go.” The song sets the tone for the album with a sh

redding riff and the shouted “mother f*ckers let’s go!” at the beginning. Maintaining the momentum from “Cannonball,” Lavigne slams listeners with her highly anticipated duet with hip-hop and rock icon, Machine Gun Kelly, on “Bois Lie.” This song is simple in structure but nevertheless catchy due to its conversational nature, as it eventually morphs into a heated conversation between Lavigne and Kelly singing as fictional exes. The conflict is about who wronged the other more with Kelly singing “okay, I’m losing all my patience” and Lavigne replying with “God, you make me anxious.” The song solidifies the punk sound of the album, but is only an opening act for the lead single “Bite Me.” 

“Bite Me” starts with a more complex, hearty chord progression, and despite the uncanny resemblance to Lavigne’s 2007 hit “Girlfriend,” can stand on its own. The hook is especially catchy with Lavigne singing “and we’ll be together never, so baby, you can bite me” in an extra bratty tone. Contrary to the album’s order, I would argue that “Bite Me” is the “taste test” song on the album. If you’re not a fan of its intensity and lyrical style, you probably won’t enjoy the rest of the album. After “Bite Me,” we get the 2nd out of the three features on the album, this time with blackbear, who is most known for his hit 2020 song “hot girl bummer.” “I Love It When You Hate Me,” showcases blackbear’s influence on the track, as it features a modern trap beat that accompanies Lavigne’s consistent rock sound.

“Love Sux” is a celebration of the sound that shot Lavigne to fame, but it’s predictable and repetitive nonetheless. (Image courtesy of Jay L. Clendenin)

The next few songs on the album, “Déjà vu,” “F.U.” and “All I Wanted (feat. Mark Hopkins)” are not memorable and sound relatively the same. The title track, “Love Sux” is another repetitive and whiny song about the pain of heartbreak. However, after 20 minutes of the aforementioned punk sound, listeners get a refreshing glimpse of her softer side with “Dare To Love Me.” This track is the most stylistically different track that we have gotten from Lavigne in a while. The song starts out very quiet and slow, but eventually crescendos into yet another punk anthem, though better than the repetition seen in prior songs. 

Lavigne has been burning the punk persona at both ends for two decades, but as she has gotten older, her music has sounded the same, which is strangely impressive, yet unrelieved. The last song on the album is just that; good but nothing special. “Break Of A Heartache,” resolves the hatred and rage that Lavigne felt throughout the rest of the album. Spitting “so I’m gonna walk away, I’ll walk away, at least I’ve got the balls to say I don’t wanna cry like that,” Lavigne realizes that no matter how great this relationship could be, it’s ultimately not going to be worth the inevitable hurt. The song rounds out the break-up album with a bang, but as with the album itself, nothing spectacular.

Despite the tiresome sound of the album, if the punk-rock heartache sound is your jam, “Love Sux” is available on all streaming platforms.