What do you think of Avril Lavigne's 'Hello Kitty', racist or just plain terrible?
It’s difficult to know what you should have expected from a song called ‘Hello Kitty’ and its video, but whatever it was it clearly wasn't what Avril Lavigne served up on Tuesday. Some have called it the worst music video ever, others have taken more serious offence and labeled it racist. As for Avril she’s said, "RACIST??? LOLOLOL!!!" Yep we’re all lol-ing with you Avril…or are we?
Skrillex is everywhere these days
Avril Lavigne has gone through quite a few image changes in her career since her ‘Skater Boi’ days. Actually, although some may not want to admit it, there was a period (her second album, Under My Skin), when Avril was verging on being credible as an artist. Then she released ‘Girlfriend’ in 2007 and seemed to fall right back down the annoying pop rabbit hole. Since then, rather than trying to claw her way out, if ‘Hello Kitty’ is anything to go by, she’s pretty much set up home there. Last year Lavigne married Nickleback singer Chad Kroeger, who let’s just say, isn’t the most loved musician ever to sing for Spider-Man. Kroeger is actually listed as a writer on ‘Hello Kitty’, but we can't be sure how much of the blame for it can rightfully be attributed to him.
The odd thing is, ten years ago Gwen Stefani ‘borrowed’ from Japanese culture when she went through her ‘Harajuku Girls’ phase. At the time Gwen was also criticised as being racist, something which she firmly denied. Stefani saw her use of Asian women as part of her entourage, or in the background of her videos as a 'celebration' of the Japanese culture which had influenced her. But to many viewers it looked more like she was using these women as mere ornaments to decorate herself and her music, presenting them as having no personality or differentiating features. Amazingly a decade later Avril’s done the same and she seems just as clueless. In the rest of her Facebook post yesterday Avril said, “I love Japanese culture and I spend half of my time in Japan. I flew to Tokyo to shoot this video specifically for my Japanese fans, WITH my Japanese label, Japanese choreographers AND a Japanese director IN Japan”.
Racism allegations aside, ‘Hello Kitty’ is a terrible video and an equally terrible song. Lyrically it might be one of the worst songs ever written, it’s childish and ridiculous without ever once being funny or remotely clever. It’s hard to understand what Avril’s motivation might have been for this baffling new direction in her sound and image and it's even harder to imagine that the fans that have stuck with her since her early days (and there must be some) would enjoy being so patronised. To put it most plainly ‘Hello Kitty’ is disposable pop rubbish, which feels cheap and utterly tasteless. Even with everything that’s come before, Avril, we really did expect more from you.
One thing ‘Hello Kitty’ has accomplished is that we’re actually talking about Avril Lavigne again, who knew she had a 5th album out? But seriously Avril’s intentions were probably pure, as in she might just have wanted to make what she thought was a ‘fun’ video to a throwaway song, rather than create a racist storm. But someone really should have informed Avril about Katy Perry’s most recent controversy. They also should have told her about Gwen Stefani a decade ago. But mostly importantly someone should have said, Avril you’re better than this, because somethings are just too hard to come back from.
Who'd have thought we'd ever want Avril back on her skateboard