It’s (always) Punk Rock and Roll for Avril Lavigne

Love Sux is Lavigne’s first album since 2019, and comes nearly 20 years after her smash debut let go, which gave us hits like “Complicated.” While his latest project, Head above water, was a thoughtful reflection on her battle with Lyme disease, this one finds her back in her rebellious pop-punk roots. One listen and you’ll want to iron your side bangs and line your arms with rubber bracelets again. The 12-track LP is packed with breaking anthems and great energy that comes across in hyper drumming, mind-blowing electric guitar, and fuck-it-yourself lyrics. “I don’t have time, motherfucker, don’t ruin my life,” she warns potential suitors in “Break of a Heartbreak.” Blink-182 lead singer Mark Hoppus and Machine Gun Kelly feature on the record, and she wrote it with artists like Travis Barker, who started the label she’s now signed to, and her boyfriend. ModSun.

If Avril Lavigne, now 37, were to ever make a comeback, there’s no better time than now. Year 2000 and emo nostalgia is at its peak, aesthetically and musically. The hottest celebrity couples are Barker and Kourtney Kardashian and Kelly and Megan Fox. (Both pairs were at Lavigne’s concert the day the album was released.) Platform boots, rocker throws and leather pants are back. Younger artists like WILLOW, Olivia Rodrigo, The Linda Lindas and Meet Me @ the Altar bring their own twist to the genre. And the explosive excitement over the When We Were Young festival lineup — which includes OG favorites like My Chemical Romance, Paramore, and Lavigne herself — has only confirmed that we yearn for this era more than ever.

“I feel like pop-punk is a spirit, it’s an attitude, it’s middle finger up,” Lavigne says. “It’s aggressive music where you can just say what you want, you don’t have to hold anything back. It’s a lot of fun, and that’s always been the spirit, the tone and the mood of all my concerts. over the years, although my style or my music has shifted a bit.

That’s the thing with trends: those of us in the mainstream have dabbled in punk, outgrown it, and are only revisiting it now; “But for me,” Lavigne shrugs, “I’ve always been nice to do that.” When she first hit the scene, naysayers would say Lavigne wasn’t writing her own music or just co-opting the punk rock sound and skateboarder aesthetic, but two decades later, she’s still standing tall.

At the age when most girls go to proms or learn to drive, Lavigne was doing Let go. When released in 2002, it would reach number two on the chart. Billboard 200 chart— somewhere alongside Eminem, The Chicks, Ashanti and Michelle Branch — and earned him eight Grammy nominations, including Best New Artist. His next two albums, 2004 under my skin and 2007 The best fucking thingboth debuted at number one.

In the early 2000s, when the hottest girls in music were female pop stars like Britney, Christina and Beyoncé, Lavigne established herself as the tomboy girl next door. The Napanee, Ont., native stood out in a white tank top, military cargo pants and loose ties. She sang of posers that pissed her off, the cursed love between skaters and ballerinas, and the yearning for attention and love, all with the palpable angst, innocence, and desperation of a teenager.

Diana J. Carleton