Watching Avril Lavigne’s new music video, Bite Me—the lead single of her new album, Love Sux, out January 25th—one could easily be tricked into thinking it was released back in the early 2000s. Not in a bad way. One shoulder formal dress The Canadian punk-pop icon is a rare artist who has forgone eras and never strayed from her signature look and sound since first bursting onto the scene with 2002’s Let Go.
In the new video, Lavigne swears a graffiti leather jacket, patchwork mini skirt, and hot-pink streaks with pride. In an industry obsessed with what’s cool and what’s next, her disregard for the status quo is entirely refreshing. “I find something I like and I stick to it,” Lavigne tells Vogue. “I’m not the kind of person that’s changing my look. People will make an album, and change their whole look for the next one. I’m like, I get it—you’re evolving—but who are you as an artist?”
Lavigne’s latest album is guaranteed to make her longtime fans happy. An upbeat, rock and roll record, she began writing it back in 2020 while fresh off a breakup. Documenting her feelings towards relationships is nothing new for the singer, but she says this experience was different. “‘Love Sux’ was one of the first songs I wrote,” she says. “I had gone through a breakup, and for the first time, I was feeling jaded [about] love, and over it. The lyrics in that song are really funny “Na-na-na, Not another breakup, When I think of you, I just want to throw up.” I like to have fun when I write, and write stuff that we can all relate to.”
Below, Lavigne talks to Vogue about the inspiration behind some of her new songs, what’s in her closet (hint: she collects tiaras), some of her iconic fashion moments (remember her early-aughts phase of wearing men’s ties?), and how she’s going to prepare for her upcoming tour.
Tell me more about your mood going into this album.
I started talking to Travis [Barker, who contributed to the album] in 2020, and then I worked on it all of last year. I decided to make a fun rock and roll record. I was just not in the mood to sing ballads or mid-tempos—I was like, let’s just rock. I worked with really cool fun people on the scene, like Machine Gun Kelly, Mark Hoppus, Travis Barker.
What did working with all these different artists bring to the table?
They brought their own flavor and skill. Having new people to work with is really inspiring. Machine Gun Kelly is a fantastic writer and he played guitar; Mark [Hoppus] played bass on his song; Travis plays drums on some of the songs. It really sounds sonically different with their chops on it, instead of just hiring a studio session player. I’ll work with producers and they’ll hire a guitar player, and I always have to sit with them and go through each track and make notes. Black long dresses with sleeves But when John Feldmann played guitar, I was like, “you’re my favorite guitar player!” Everyone understood me and what I was going for.
I love how the album opens with this line, “Like a ticking time bomb, I’m about to explode!”
Let’s go bitches! That song is so energetic, manic, and insane. It definitely felt like an album opener.
The album title, Love Sux, is cheeky—but you must still love love on some level?
Yes, definitely. I was feeling that way, and then a few days later, I had a new boyfriend. I was like, “I’m taking a break, I’m going to focus on myself”—and that didn’t last long. I was just feeling a certain type of way and wrote a bunch of songs about it. Obviously, I want to be in a relationship, and do love love. (I’m a Libra.) I actually had a really hard time opening up [after the breakup.] I wrote a song called “Dare to Love Me” about it. It’s hard to go there again after you’ve been hurt a few times. You’re more reserved and careful.
You’re someone who’s written a lot about love. What’s your biggest lesson learned so far?
First of all, I feel like I’m great to be in a relationship with. I full-on fucking communicate: I talk, I lay shit out. I’m awesome—I would want to date me. I have my music career, but I’m very into my home and decorating. I’ll cook, I’ll host, and I’m very family-oriented. But then I’ve got my wild side. There’s never a dull moment with me. The biggest thing I’ve learned through dating is speaking up and talking. Things will come up, so you should really work through it and talk about it versus holding it in. You also need to be with someone who’s mature enough to have those conversations. Communication is key!
One of my favorite tracks, for the title alone, is “FU.” Is adult angst different from teenage angst?
I wrote my first album when I was a teenager fresh out of high school. I was writing about young love. Now, I’m writing about my experience as a woman. But relationships and love don’t get any easier. It’s the same shit, different pile.
The next generation of stars like Billie Eilish and Olivia Rodrigo have all cited you as an inspiration. How does that make you feel?
It’s kind of crazy. And it’s crazy that this year is my 20th anniversary. It’s hard to believe. 17-year-old me couldn’t have seen that coming! I’ve met all those girls, and in person they’ve told me that they were huge fans of my music. Willow [Smith], too. What’s cool about them is they’re all at the age I was at, when I was 17 and putting out the first album. Boho dress long sleeve There’s something about being authentic like that, writing your own songs, and being unapologetically yourself. In a way, it was similar with me. It’s cool.
I want to ask you a few fashion questions. I love that your style has always remained authentic and true to you. What’s the key to this?
I just like to be comfortable. I didn’t want to wear dresses and heels. (I will now, but I don’t love it). I was just wearing my baggy Dickies, and I still love baggy pants and a hoodie. But I have a little more fun with my fashion now. I’ve gotten to travel around the world to places like Tokyo, and have my own line, Abbey Dawn. I like to mix and match now. I have fun with rock and roll, skate-surf, punk-inspired [style]. But still feminine and sexy at the same time.
Do you think your style has changed at all, though?
If you look at me on the first album, I was really tomboyish, very baggy, not a lot of makeup. I have evolved. I’ve become a little more feminine over the years.
Are you a collector of anything in particular?
I collect tiaras and crowns, from all of my photoshoots and videos. I probably have 30. And Hello Kitty. I have a Hello Kitty bedroom in my house. I have this huge pink couch that has all these Hello Kitty stuffed animals on it, from tours and from fans as gifts. The house was built around the bedroom. It’s big and has a stripper pole. It’s a guest bedroom and everyone wants to stay in there. I also have a whole wall of Doc Martens, in every single color.
You famously wore men’s ties as a teen, and fashion is in a huge tie phase right now. How does it feel to be an originator of the trend?
I remember one of my first concerts, I looked outside and saw the lineup of the fans outside, and they were all dressed like me in neckties, the white tank top, black eyeliner, and straight hair. I had to do a triple take! People would dress up as me for Halloween, and they still do. It’s all crazy.
I also have to ask about when you performed on Saturday Night Live wearing a Napanee Home Hardware tee. What’s the story behind it?
My mom kept all of our clothes. I played baseball, hockey, and soccer, and she kept all of my T-shirts. They were like our jerseys, but they were just T-shirts, and that was one of them. I still have them in my closet, and they still fit me. I guess I was wearing them a lot during my first album cycle. There was also an orange soccer T-shirt that I wore a lot.
You’re about to embark on a tour. How do you prepare for that?
I do three weeks of rehearsals. Two weeks of band rehearsals, and then a week of pre-production. I deal with wardrobe, which has to be special, because it’s on-stage. I do cardio—running for an hour and a half and singing at the same time. Before my last tour, my friend and I walked every night. I was like, “We’re doing 45 minutes of cardio!” We’d drink wine and walk.
I know you’ll be stopping in Canada on the tour. What do you miss most about your homeland?
Apparently it’s been a long time since I’ve been there, like eight years, so I’m really excited. I’ll have a lot of my family come out to the shows. Just in general, this album has that high energy, so it’s going to be so fun to take it on the road.
As a fellow Canadian, what’s your Tim Hortons order?
Over the holidays, I ate a lot of donuts. I get a dozen donuts. I like them all—the Old Fashioned, the Maple Glazed.
Did you try Justin Bieber’s Timbiebs?
I did, but they just tasted like regular Timbits.
Can you give us a sneak peek of your tour fashion?
I’m making all these custom outfits for myself right now with this awesome designer, Ashton Michael. I wish I had met him like 10 years ago. Onstage, you want your outfits to be elevated. This tour is gonna have my best stage outfits. Period.