AVRIL LAVIGNE IS STILL TREMENDOUSLY ANNOYING (AND MAYBE FUN)
Let’s face it, Avril Lavigne’s job, more than anything else, has always been to simply go out there and do exactly what she’s told, and for the past decade, she’s evidently been told to be annoying. There’s never been a time when Avril Lavigne wasn’t annoying. That’s the common thread with her; her annoyingness.
She’s exactly like Ann Coulter in that way. Avril Lavigne is the Ann Coulter of Pop Princesses. She does what she’s told (which is to be a smug little annoying brat), gets paid to annoy us and then, that’s it, she goes back to coloring in the wallpaper or pulling her husband’s hair or whatever it is she does in her spare time. In a way, it’s feasible we actually have no idea who or, for that matter, what the real Avril Lavigne is because the routine has been going on for so long.
When her debut album Let Go dropped in 2002, I had suspicions she was less a human and more a kind of object that had been invented by some maniacal record executive to simply be the profitable counterpoint to Britney Spears. Like an actual object that had to be recharged every night and that didn’t have feelings. After all, Britney and Avril’s music are basically from the same pop cultural institution and, at that point, Britney was still smiling and being cute and polished. None of the darkness had fallen out of her yet, so Lavigne’s job was to just be comparatively badly behaved.
She’d mouth off in interviews with clearly untrue stories about how she’d karate kicked a girl in the teeth for looking at her the wrong way or she’s burp into a walkee talkee and then giggle about it. She had (salon crafted) punk rock hair and bad ass punk rock clothes, even if they were brand new and purchased from a sparkling new boutique in some mall in West Hollywood and then painstakingly distressed for her by her minions. She sang about adolescent pain and how she wanted to steal thatskater boy or whoever he was away from his girlfriend. It was all so precise and easy and… annoying.
Then Britney had her breakdown and Avril couldn’t compete with genuine, severe rebellion so, what, she got married or something? Yeah, exactly, who cares? Here’s the music video for Avril Lavigne’s new song, “Rock n Roll”, the second single on her forthcoming studio album:
Now, it’s a brand new day in pop land, and here we are with yet another incredibly infectious, cute pop song that yearns for us, begs us, pleads with us – I mean, she’s practically offering to PAY us – to believe she’s somehow edgy and self aware; that she’s in on the joke that is her public persona. She’s got the hair again, the sassy self-referential phone call, the animated Tank Girl references, the rebellious curse words, and, of course, the requisite attention whore, lesbian kiss with Danica McKellar (complete with meta narrative based on The Wonder Years – hello? Ok, but, why THAT show?).
When you think about it every single element of this music video is either an oddly selected, languid reference to some random cultural entity, or it’s an insistent, self-mocking gesture that is meant to make up for some past embarrassment. Too late Avril Lavigne. You’re too late. I’ve been sick of you for so long that it feels like home.