The Listener

Too neat but it has hooks aplenty: Avril Lavigne's Love Sux reviewed

5 March 2022

9:00 AM

5 March 2022

9:00 AM

Grade: B

Yay, life just gets better and better. World War Three and now this. More petulant popcorn pre-school punk in which Avril spells words stupidly and tells ‘bois’ how much she weally, weally hates them but acksherly weally loves them.

This was momentarily captivating on the magnificently catty glam-rock thrash of ‘Girlfriend’ 15 years ago. Trouble is, Avril is now 37, older than the Prime Minister of Finland – and there’s something a little unbecoming in a mature woman still hanging around the school bike sheds and shrieking at those bois: ‘When I think of you I wanna throw up!’ Shouldn’t she be writing about pre-nups, the onset of the menopause and the spiralling cost of divorce lawyers?

Still I quite liked this for a bit. The sanitised punk thrash is all very neat and not really punk at all, unless you think Blink-182 (unwelcome collaborators on this album) are the essence of that 1977 raw urban shouty zeitgeist. But it has hooks aplenty, especially on the pouty title track and the fun but dimwitted opener ‘Cannonball’. Then there’s ‘Bite Me’, in which she tries to come on as tough yet beguiling but isn’t half as alluring as the totally fit Prime Minister of Finland.

The lyrics are terribly crowded and dumb, which is her shtick, and a nod to rap. And she gives us a song called ‘Kiss Me Like the World Is Ending’… Which would be what, Avril? A quick peck on the cheek and a frantic dash into the fallout shelter with a Geiger counter, checking all the while that your gums aren’t bleeding?

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