Pop-punk icon Avril Lavigne is back to making headlines with her new music and boyfriend, MODSUN. Her official return to the music industry was marked when she was featured in “Flames,” a song off of MODSUN’s most recent album, “Internet Killed the Rockstar.” Technically, Lavigne’s return to the music industry happened in 2019 with the release of her album “Head Above Water,” but the album didn’t get a lot of attention compared to her earlier works.
In 2022, Lavigne released the singles “Love It When You Hate Me” (featuring blackbear) and “Bite Me” as promo after signing with Travis Barker’s record label DTA Records, creating an epic pop-punk mashup. On Feb. 25, she officially released her seventh studio album, “Love Sux,” and it’s everything you would expect from an Avril Lavigne album and more.
Right off the bat, Lavigne comes heavy with a hardcore punk song with loud, fast-paced drums and electric guitar. The song is a burst of energy serving as a reminder that the Princess of Pop-Punk is officially back. I wouldn’t want to be in the mosh pit when this song’s playing. Actually, I would, but I’d definitely end up getting elbowed in the head.
Is it really a pop-punk album in 2022 if Machine Gun Kelly (MGK) isn’t featured on it? Their two voices blend together beautifully, mostly because MGK’s voice serves as an amplifier for Lavigne’s iconic sound. I also can’t go without mentioning the “Sk8er Boi” ode in the title with the classic “boi” spelling. Lavigne has said multiple times in interviews that “Sk8er Boi” is one of her favorite songs because it’s one of the biggest markers of her career.
“Bite Me” was the first single released off of the album, and it set the tone for what to expect when listening to the entirety of the album. The theme of love’s trials and tribulations oozes through the lyrics in “Luv Sux.” Love’s hard, but it had to be something great in order for it to end up hurting as badly as it seemed to have. I mean, you must be pretty pissed if you’re going to go to your ex-boyfriend’s house to destroy his things and throw all his clothes into the yard with the sprinklers on.
“Love it When You Hate Me”
This song comes back a bit to Lavigne’s switch from punk in her album “Let Go” to the bubblegum pop we heard in her “Best Damn Thing” pink-haired phase. Just like those two albums, and basically every other song she’s ever released, there’s an underlying emo tone to the song regardless of the genre the sound reflects. Featuring artist blackbear, who is no stranger to singing songs about failed love with popular songs like “Do Re Mi” and “Hot Girl Bummer,” it makes sense that this is one of the most played songs off of the album.
The title track came to deliver. The song does the album justice with its mix of pop-punk drums and bubblegum pop sound in Avril Lavigne’s voice. The song perfectly combines all of the sounds and emotions that the album “Luv Sux” conveys. “Love Sux” is the type of song you jump around to while getting ready before a night out. A radiation of good vibes and ecstatic, hot-girl energy can only lead to a great night.
“Kiss Me Like the World Is Ending”
This song makes me feel like I’m sitting in the back of my dad’s car on my way to an American Youth Soccer Organization soccer game, which is an absolutely amazing feeling. This song definitely would have been on my hot pink MP3 player. With the truth or dare and spin the bottle references, this song definitely would have made it onto a middle school party mix CD and accompanied those really awkward brace-faced first kisses. I don’t think that Lavigne was necessarily trying to go for an awkward first kiss vibe with a song titled “Kiss Me Like the World Is Ending,” but it was middle school, so you get what you get.
If “Let Go” and “Head Above Water” had a baby, it would be this song. It brings the emo energy of 17-year-old Avril Lavigne with the more matured side of her music. The honesty in this song and metaphors brought in to express the suffocating feeling of post-heartbreak emotions creates the type of song you need to put on repeat when it’s finally time to cry and release.
Almost everyone has had the experience of being with a person who insists they’re going to change and then without missing a beat continues to do the exact same things. If you haven’t experienced this, good for you, because just like it says in the lyrics, this type of toxic repetition will have you constantly questioning whether you’re insane. Relatable songs always have to be appreciated — especially when they sound as good as this one does.
At this point in listening to the album, I just want to know who hurt Avril Lavigne this badly. These songs were all written when she wasn’t signed to a label and didn’t have a manager, so any inspiration that went towards writing this album had to be pure emotion. Those emotions are cohesively flowing through the album from the “Déjà vu” to “F.U.” transition. The songs go from hurtful toxic repetition to calling it quits after being hurt for the last time. This is the song you should listen to after you finish crying to “Avalanche.”
“All I Wanted”
It’s about time one of the musicians that Travis Barker works with featured Mark Hoppus, lead vocalist for Blink-182, on one of their songs. These two iconic voices combined bring together the 90’s punk rockers with those of the 2000’s. If anyone doesn’t like this song, I don’t know what to say except you’re simply wrong.
“Dare to Love Me”
This song has permanently made its way onto my shower playlist. Scream-singing this heartfelt song about someone daring to love you, but only saying those terrifying three words if it’s the truth, all while the shower water drips down your face like you’re in the rain, is the only acceptable way to fully appreciate the sound and emotions of this song. I know I’m not the only one who does that, so skip the cool act and just do it.
“Break of a Heartache”
If this song reminds you of other punk-pop artists like Machine Gun Kelly, YUNGBLUD or some of the better Olivia Rodrigo songs, I wouldn’t be surprised. Lavigne set the tone for new pop-punk artists, so I don’t want to hear the drums in this song sound a lot like “Title Track” from “Tickets to My Downfall.” This song is all Avril Lavigne and it is the best, explosive ending I could have asked for.
No matter what you’re hoping for from “Luv Sux,” you will not be disappointed. There’s something for everyone on the album regardless of your favorite pop-punk era or Avril Lavigne album. People seem to be agreeing with me seeing as it peaked at number one on iTunes album sales chart. Don’t worry about another hiatus coming from the singer, because she already has more projects in the works. She’s currently working on a 20th anniversary “Sk8er Boi” movie that she’ll be helping to write and produce. She has also hinted that there will be a lot of cameos from her fellow musicians.
Alexis Barrick is a fourth-year English major with a minor in Journalism. AB910606@wcupa.edu