Album review: Avril Lavigne – Love Sux

Avril Lavigne rulez on the Avengers Assemble of pop-punk albums, Love Sux.

Album review: Avril Lavigne – Love Sux
James Hickie

The cult of Avril Lavigne is such that people are talking about this seventh album as if the enigmatic Canadian hasn’t released one in yonks, when its predecessor, Head Above Water, only came out in 2019. Hers is a common predicament, though; whenever the 37-year-old returns with a new musical offering, she steps back onto a playing field she helped etch the lines of, her records not just familiar to her fans, but fans of the artists she’s influenced over the years.

Perhaps mindful of the need to compete with her proteges and pretenders, or keen to navigate to pastures relatively new, Love Sux has enough elements to make for a refreshing listen. Don’t panic, though: this is an Avril Lavigne album in all the ways that matter – chugging but shiny, and augmented by the kind of collaborators you expect from an album of this flavour in 2022. Least surprising of all is the ubiquitous Machine Gun Kelly, who adds his sneering tones to the excellent Bois Lie. This formidable act of fan service is completed by Travis Barker being the album’s co-producer – alongside John Feldmann and Mod Sun – with his blink-182 bandmate Mark Hoppus providing a low vocal counterpoint to Avril on the lovely All I Wanted.

So far, so familiar, you might think. And while Avril knows which side her bread is buttered on, Love Sux has the ability to surprise – not so much with huge stylistic shifts but the ease with which a subtle flourish can bring her sound bang up to date. Hyperactive opener Cannonball is a great example, which wouldn’t have sounded out of place on the latest Poppy album. There’s all manner of the energetic offerings you’re yearning for here. But there are the slower soul-bearers too, in the same vein as the classic I’m With You, such as Avalanche, which will appeal to fans of what Olivia Rodrigo is doing. Bow down, people, because the queen is back.

Verdict: 4/5

For Fans Of: blink-182, Paramore, Poppy

Love Sux is out now via DTA/Elektra

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