The last vestige of Avril Lavigne’s “punk” bona fides, however thinly veiled and market-tested they were in the first place, evaporated the day she released the bubble-gum cheerleader anthem “Girlfriend” back in 2007. So the singer’s de-evolution into total parody on the techno-punk nightmare “Hello Kitty,” the latest single from her album Avril Lavigne, isn’t necessarily worth lamenting on its own, dubstep-marred (de)merits. It’s a Miley Cyrus world, after all; the rest of us are just living in it.
No, it the song’s music video, which finds Lavigne literally playing like a kid in a candy store, that’s truly eyebrow-raising, taking cultural mis-appropriation to cringe-inducing levels. In some kind of attempt at paying homage to Japan’s outrageous Harajuku street fashion, the singer’s Madonna-inspired bustier, garters, and fingerless gloves are paired with pastel hair extensions and a hideous pink tutu covered in three-dimensional cupcakes. It’s hard to tell if the Gwen Stefani reject of a track and its accompanying video are craven attempts at a pop crossover hit or if she’s pandering to the Asian market, but it’s telling that when Lavigne stops to take a Polaroid of her posse of expressionless Japanese slave-dancers, they can only muster a patronizing smile for the erstwhile pop star.
Lavigne will join the Backstreet Boys’ U.S. tour as a “very special guest” starting May 22 in Seattle, WA.