Monday, November 22nd, 2021

Avril Lavigne – Bite Me

Let’s talk this over…


Leah Isobel: These lyrics take every opportunity to slip into a sort of vague juvenile angst, but it’s nice that she doesn’t have to work so hard to justify doing this kind of music in the current zeitgeist. Her relief is audible; she sounds incredible.

Ian Mathers: It actually feels weirdly rare for someone like Lavigne to be making what at least feels like the pretty exact same kind of thing they did at the peak of their prominence — like, you’d expect some kind of drop-off or something, but instead it just feels like Lavigne is still doing that thing everyone loved but we don’t love that thing anymore. Not sure why — it’s fine! Is it just that various others have integrated that pop punk roar and whoosh into their sound without making it their whole genre so now this feels like a throwback. Anyway you could tell me this was an album track from Under My Skin or something and I wouldn’t feel super confident disputing that.

Iain Mew: Hearing “Sk8er Boi” go off at a school disco was one of the earlier moments of cracking my personal rockism. Any notion of authenticity (and sexist and skewed judgments thereof) felt like an utter irrelevance. Listening to “Bite Me,” all of that feels quaint as the gap between her and adjacent pop-punk vanishes not just into the distance of time but into the shadow of all its hard shiny hooks.

Tim de Reuse: One of those returns-to-form that makes no stylistic acknowledgment of the passage of time. If this were released in 2004, that’d be one thing, but we as an audience are not a 2004 audience, and we primarily appreciate this through the lens of nostalgia. Well, we’re supposed to, anyway, but the double-stuffed, overcompressed mix reads much more late-2010s than early-aughts, and doesn’t fit the scratchy vibe of the source material at all. Do they think modern listeners will get bored if the snare drum wasn’t flattened by a steamroller, Looney Tunes-style? It’s like a historical re-enactment you’d catch on the history channel, dramatized so as to desperately compete with the much flashier ghost-hunting shows that bookend it.

Aaron Bergstrom: TIRED: The original Avril has been replaced by a body double named “Melissa.” WIRED: The original Avril has been replaced by what sounds like a bratty teenage robot. It is inconceivable to me that even one real, live human being could have played a part in creating a pop-punk simulacrum this shiny and metallic-sounding.

Edward Okulicz: Snotty, which is necessary for Avril to be great, but unfortunately lacking in sufficient killer melodic hooks. As far as how Avril herself sounds, if anything she sounds younger than she did on Let Go and the cognitive dissonance when considering that is more interesting than “Bite Me,” which really could have been the end result of feeding her first two albums into an AI and asking it to produce very quickly. As far as charisma goes, she’s still got it, though.

Andrew Karpan: Okay, I’m actually here for the Travis Barker revolution in pop music? A real nice the-old-man-still-has-it story, but one that hasn’t quite paid yet, give or take a memorable Willow or Machine Gun Kelly record. “Bite Me,” however, has it in spades: sharp, bratty pop culture that moves, and you can hear on the tip of her tongue, the tip of her tongue, daring us to bite.

Thomas Inskeep: This song is utterly idiotic, and I by-and-large loathe pop-punk (emphasis on the “pop”), but good lord, it’s catchy. I think I like it for its stupidity, instead of in spite of it?

Alfred Soto: Like a minor league Joan Jett, her devotion to pop punk compensates for the pop punk itself, and the purity of her devotion is its own reward. “Bite Me” doesn’t boast nifty melodic convolutions, unusual stresses, or lyrics worth the title, but it’s more taut than the competition.

Alex Clifton: I’m in a stable, loving relationship and this almost makes me wish that I weren’t so I could scream this at some terrible sleazebag as revenge for breaking my heart. However the word “wifey” brings me out of that daydream, mostly because it’s on my top-ten list of “worst words in the world” (other entrants: hubby, curdled, and damp). Still, it’s a fun return to Avril’s roots, and somehow does not feel like a single released nineteen(!) years on from Let Go.

Reader average: [6] (2 votes)

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