Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Avril Lavigne 'Hello Kitty' Video Is An Embarrassment In Any Language

Jason Lipshutz/Billboard

Avril Lavigne's Hello Kitty Music Video
"Hello Kitty" is the weakest song on Avril Lavigne's fifth studio album, a grating earworm that squeezes Gwen Stefani's Japan fetishization into an even more unseemly package. But in a lot of ways, its music video, which wormed its way onto YouTube on Tuesday (Apr. 22) and then was quickly taken down, is even a bigger train-wreck than the track itself.

The majority of the "Hello Kitty" music video finds the Canadian pop princess parading around with four identical, creepily expressionless Asian women behind her, performing mind-numbingly generic dance moves, in locales like a bedroom, a candy store and a street. When she's not commanding her vaguely offensive troop, Lavigne is clumsily playing guitar, wearing glasses, eating sushi, waving at admirers, taking a single photograph, and… not much else, really. The Skrillex-y hair with pink highlights wins the singer back a few points, but the shameless camera-mugging quickly makes them evaporate.

So, wait, how is the "Hello Kitty" video even more abhorrent than the song, which has a dubstep breakdown so unholy that Keanu Reeves probably battled it in "Constantine"? Well, the music videos previously released from Lavigne's largely dismissed new album have been pretty excellent, actually. The clip for "Here's To Never Growing Up" was an enjoyably cheeky nod to Lavigne's sk8er boi beginnings, while the guest star-laden "Rock N Roll" visual allowed the singer to battle comic-book scum with imaginative gusto (and Billy Zane). Even the video for the schlocky Chad Kroeger duet "Let Me Go" was fittingly overdramatic and well-produced. The first three videos from "Avril Lavigne" varied in ambition, but one could feel the singer trying to accomplish a real effect with each clip, be it nostalgia, appreciative chuckles or the plucking of Canadian heartstrings.

The "Hello Kitty" video tries to do nothing. Its laziness is demonstrated in the first 21 seconds, during which Lavigne holds a plush stack of cupcakes, shakes her hips, stares at the cupcakes, bounces her shoulders, and then, when she sings the line "Someone chuck a cupcake at me"… tosses the fake cupcakes at the camera, her lip movement not matching up to the backing track whatsoever. Cool!

Hopefully Lavigne will release another video from "Avril Lavigne" before that album cycle ends, because that underrated LP cannot die with the pained whimper of this "Hello Kitty" video. Maybe she'll make a video for the Marilyn Manson duet "Bad Girl"; it can't be worse than this, right? Right?

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