‘Failed English’ by AVIV is a sardonic slice of pop mastery

Canadian pop prodigy AVIV has just released Failed English: a perfectly pitched piece of retro-flavoured indie, delivered with a bitter twist.

All seems above board in the opening bars of Failed English, the latest release from 15-year-old Toronto native, AVIV (who hasn’t nursed a bad case of teenage heartbreak in their time?).

But when the chorus hits, AVIV introduces a new and unexpected flavour to the mix. Amid the saccharine guitar chords is a gut punch that makes you realise that this ain’t no lover’s lament. It’s actually more like a “screw you”, but delivered with a breezy smile.


This kind of ability to see through the bullshit of broken promises has marked her oeuvre until this point and on Failed English, that dichotomy between sweet and sour has been ramped up to the max.

Opening with a boppy bassline and AVIV’s laid-back vocals marking out the melody, a sadder scene is painted. But when the lush guitars land in the chorus, complete with a chiming entrance, AVIV delivers the real message: “I hope life sucks for as long as you live”, before offering “but somehow I still wish you the best.” 

The ironic juxtaposition of the music and lyrics, however, never threatens to derail the inherent catchiness of Failed English. It works on a personal and relatable level, yet has the anthemic melodic power to resonate with a festival crowd.

Failed English is out now via Virgin Music. Check out the video below: