Rice University’s Student Newspaper — Since 1916

Tuesday, February 07, 2023 — Houston, TX

Review: ‘Love Sux’ is a delightful return to Avril Lavigne's pop-punk form

love-sux-courtesy-dta-records
Photo courtesy DTA Records

By Hadley Medlock     3/1/22 11:22pm

Rating: ★★★½

Top Track: “Déjà vu”

Listen up, everyone, because the princess of pop-punk has done it again. Avril Lavigne released her seventh studio album, “Love Sux,” and it’s everything I wanted and needed. It literally transported me back to my angsty early teenage years, but this time I can actually relate to her problems. I might have been sick in bed before listening to this album, but it had me up dancing around my room even before the second song. Even at 37, Lavigne’s vocals are as strong as ever and feel like they were plucked from the 2000s. A far cry from the slower ballads in her often forgotten 2019 album, “Head Above Water,” which even I only listened to in the midst of writing this review, Lavigne’s “Love Sux” experiences a delightful return to her pop-punk form. 



The record opens with the song “Cannonball”, which sets the mood and propels us into for the rest of the album as she starts by screaming, “Motherfuckers, let’s go!” It’s an energetic and fun opening for her return to pop-punk and what she describes as a song about being a fierce bitch. While not my favorite song, it was a great choice to open her album. 

In the title track “Love Sux,” Lavigne delivers a punchy, upbeat breakup jam for listeners to jump around their rooms to. It’s catchy, a little brutal and easily one of the standouts of the album. It’s such a typically-Lavigne song that it was hard not to love it. Similarly, I really loved “F.U.” in which Lavigne is finally fed up with a man not listening to her like he should. 

“Bois Lie” was a fun call-and-response song with Machine Gun Kelly, who has recently released pop-punk music I thought was an appropriate feature on this album. I can’t lie though, I thought it was a little cringy. While I do agree that boys lie, I can’t say this song really had me singing along — though if it was just Lavigne, my mind might be changed. My favorite collab of the album, though, was “Love It When You Hate Me” with Blackbear. I thought his voice made more sense with Lavigne’s, and I preferred his solo section to the back and forth between Lavigne and MGK.

I wanted to like “All I Wanted,” but (I’m so sorry Blink-182 fans) Mark Hoppus’s feature on the song ruined it for me a bit. His entrance into the song was a little jarring, and somehow his voice just didn’t seem to fit in the song. 

Lavigne showcases her vulnerability on the sole ballad of the album, “Dare to Love Me,” which offers a nice break from the other heavy-hitting, boy-bashing pop songs. “So don’t tell me that you love me if you don’t mean it,” Lavigne laments as she asks someone to just dare to love her. “Avalanche” was another break from the action of the rest of the album, though while it had noble intentions with the subject matter, it wasn’t necessarily a standout for me. 

My favorite song from the album, though, was probably “Déjà vu.” Not to be confused with the Olivia Rodrigo song of the same name, Lavigne takes a more brutal approach to the concept of déjà vu. It caught me off guard with gentle instrumentals that immediately pivot to Lavigne yelling, “Am I insane expecting you to change?” with some rocking guitar in the back. She even says she’ll buy a Range Rover just to run the guy over. This song was super catchy, fun to sing in the mirror when I was getting ready for bed, and a lot of the lyrics gave me a good laugh. 

While I still don’t think anything can top Lavigne’s song “My Happy Ending,” this album definitely gave it a noble try. The flow of the album is stellar, each song leading into the next seamlessly. and also gives a good balance of singing about both hating men and begging for love. While the album didn’t necessarily give us anything new stylistically from Lavigne, they say “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” “Love Sux” is a delightfully nostalgic throwback to Lavigne’s golden era of Y2K, which I think we all need a little of right now. And she’s so right, love does suck. 



More from The Rice Thresher

A&E 2/6/23 3:02am
Review: Noah Kahan’s 'Stick Season' hits home at sold-out Houston show

Few artists can capture specific experiences with lyrics that still feel relatable. Noah Kahan accomplishes this in spades with his third album “Stick Season,” released last October after the titular track went viral on TikTok in 2020. “Stick Season” was inspired by Kahan’s tiny Vermont hometown, where he wrote the album during the pandemic. Kahan describes the landscape there as a “wasteland” once winter creeps in — the opposite of Houston’s evergreen city life, although our humid climate is rather sticky. Despite the album’s somewhat niche New England setting, its broader themes of isolation and homesickness are universal experiences, as evidenced by the crowd screaming along to every word throughout the show.

A&E 1/31/23 11:19pm
Review: ‘Honey’ is a bittersweet confession

Recorded in the woods of North Carolina, Samia’s second studio album “Honey” is a confident, self-aware and unique addition to Samia’s growing discography. Dark and dreamy, “Honey” is an honest reflection on heartbreak, angst and feeling lost. 

A&E 1/31/23 11:18pm
Review: ‘ROE’ grapples with history, humanity and heartbreak

“Roe” was born in 2015, 42 years after its namesake, when playwright Lisa Loomer was prompted to write a script for a project about a critical moment in American history. Since then, Loomer has adapted the script in rhythm with the ever-changing landscape surrounding reproduction rights in America. The most recent update, after the 2022 Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, is an obituary for Roe v. Wade, and it premiered by Stages in Montrose.


Comments

Please note All comments are eligible for publication by The Rice Thresher.