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Guys, can we stop taking the p*ss out of Avril Lavigne

By Attitude Magazine


I think we need to have a serious chat about Avril Lavigne.

Now, as you’re probably aware, Avril’s had a bit of a rough time in recent weeks. Her latest music video, Hello Kitty, was branded “racist” in some quarters, with critics chastising the apparent fetishization of Japanese culture and the promo’s poor production values (The Independent said that Hello Kitty “will make your eyes and ears bleed”… ouch).

On top of this, Avril has been mocked for some very unfortunate, but completely hilarious, meet-and-greet photos from a show in Brazil. After fans shelled out over £200 for the pleasure of meeting her, Avril apparently instilled a “no touching” rule. The resulting snaps are marked by awkward, self-conscious distance between popstar and fan, with Avril looking physically uncomfortable.

Now then, I feel that Avril might be an easy target. She’s been a popstar for an impressive 12 years now, but interest in the pop-punk princess has dwindled a bit in recent years. And then there’s her marriage to Nickelback’s Chad Kroeger, which doesn’t exactly help her shake off that “sound of 2002” image.

For a certain generation, though, Avril’s music is full of nostalgia. Something about the slightly dated production – like the record scratches in Losing Grip – and the angsty lyrics of her debut album, Let Go, make me want to pop on a pair baggy jeans, get on a skateboard and head down to Camden to buy a Sum 41 hoodie. Songs like Things I’d Never Say and Mobile are full of emotional memories, and have a curious way of finding themselves on Spotify playlists at house parties.

I mean, who doesn’t love to screech along to I’m With You at 3am after too many vodka, lime and sodas? I also defy you to find someone in their twenties that doesn’t know the lyrics to Sk8er Boi.

In fact, talking of lyrics, Avril is responsible for some of the most beautifully clunky lyrics of all time. Let’s take seminal boyfriend-stealing anthem, Girlfriend. Who else would try and rhyme “delicious” and “addictive”, as well as “finger” and “better” during the lolz-a-minute rap section? The shameless basicness of her lyrics is endearing – perhaps more so because they haven’t matured a jot during her 12-year career.

Another thing that hasn’t changed is Avril herself. One could argue that Avril has downright refused to. Whether it’s the tongue-in-cheek references to eternal youth in her tracks Here’s To Never Growing Up and 17, or her insistence on wearing tutus and shedloads of eye make-up, Avril has remained that same girl from the Complicated video with the tie over a wife-beater hanging out in the mall with her friends.

While most popstars, especially those who started young, can’t wait to shed their teen image, Avril has found her niche and run with it… for more than a decade; she’s stuck two fingers up at expectations, getting younger and brattier, if anything. It’s ridiculous yet completely marvellous.

This refusal to mature doesn’t just define her attitude and music; it extends to her magical ability to evade nature’s entropic powers. It’s almost impossible to tell that Av.Lav will, in fact, soon be 30 years old. I’d say it takes balls to release something as tragic as Hello Kitty – which features the lyric “someone chuck a cupcake at me” – when most of your contemporaries are settling down, or at least feeling pressure to. I know that when I’m 30, I want to be able to dye my hair pink and wear a black tutu.

In regards to Hello Kitty, it should be noted that the song and video have been well-received in Japan, where Avril’s still massive – after all, this eternal teenager is also a clever businesswoman. She’s aware of which demographics she appeals to these days – nostalgic pop fans and the Asian market – and her recent album, Avril Lavigne, plays up to this perfectly.

So, while the media moans about supposed racism and awkward fan photos, you’ll find me down at the skate park with Avril and several fit sk8er bois, drinking cans of cider and rocking some serious guyliner. After all, aren’t we all still teenagers, really?

Watch the video for Hello Kitty below:

Lavigne hits back at racism claims over ‘Hello Kitty’ video
Listen to Avril’s original version of Kelly Clarkson’s ‘Breakaway’