Avril Lavigne has released the fourth single from her 2013 self-titled album and it’s a homage to her favourite character, Hello Kitty. The EDM-inspired song features lyrics like “Wake up, got a secret /Pinky swear that you’re gonna keep it” and the video, which is currently only available on Lavigne’s website, is a colour-filled three minutes of sushi, expressionless dancers and of course with Lavigne, some big product placements.
The new video is already getting more buzz than any of Lavigne’s previous offerings from her latest record, even with the hilarious treatment for Rock and Roll featuring cameos from Slash, Billy Zane, Danica McKellar and a bear/shark hybrid.
Unfortunately for Lavigne, many of the responses to Hello Kitty have been negative, with outlets like Billboard and Entertainment Weekly panning the video. Global even did a recap of all the negative tweets about Hello Kitty, some of which are pretty harsh.
I call shenanigans.
First off, I’m not going to begin pointing out how innocuous the lyrical content is for most songs that have held top ten positions on the pop charts at any time over the past five years, because this argument isn’t about bringing other artists down to build Lavigne up. But in all fairness, ‘Hello kitty kitty/ You’re so pretty pretty’ is not the simplest lyric I’ve heard this week, let alone this year.
Secondly, when all four singles from Lavigne’s latest album are compared side by side, the records all stand alone, each with its own unique sound and look. Sure, Lavigne isn’t reinventing the wheel in pop music, but she’s also not duplicating herself, which is more than can be said for many of today’s biggest selling artists.
Point C, and one that I think many forget because of her Benjamin Button-like skill of looking younger with each passing year, Avril is not the newest artist to enter the over-saturated pop world, forced to prove herself in an industry that is quick to pass over talent for the latest shiny toy. She’s been doing this, and doing this well, since the age of 16.
Lavigne demanded a record deal that allowed her to write her own songs before Taylor Swift even picked up a guitar. She’s won eight Junos, eight MMVAs, has scored almost 10 Grammy nominations and was once named Rolling Stone’s Most Influential Woman. If it seems like Lavigne is acting as if she doesn’t need to prove herself, it’s because she doesn’t. She’s had a 14 year career before the age of 30. Haters to the left.
Is Hello Kitty a groundbreaking track? No. Is it reminiscent of Gwen Stefani’s Harajuku days? Sure, but show me a song that can’t be compared to anything else. Does Lavigne deserve more respect for her years of breaking down barriers in the music industry? Hell-o kitty yes. If you’ll excuse me, I must now go listen to this track on repeat.