April 25, 2007

Avril, D’You Have to Go and Be So Uncomplicated?

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Okay boys and girls, I thought about it for a really long time and I’ve decided that I kind of, sort of, entirely hate Avril Lavigne and her whole shtick. Although I have no qualms about overeagerly unleashing avalanches of adoration for anything out of the blue (Splenda, headbands, Arrested Development, In Touch Weekly, etc.), I’ve always been hesitant about overstepping the boundary between irritation and loathing. That’s not to say my list of irritations is not painfully thorough and disturbingly specific (skinny jeans on men, tights worn as pants, licorice Altoids, public displays of affection, etc.). Even then, my sentiments were seldom fueled by the burning rage of pure hatred. However, one could reasonably argue that the inability to experience emotional depth is a direct consequence of my inherently shallow personality.
But then I watched Avril’s “Girlfriend” music video. As she screeched her grating, masturbatory declarations of, “Don’t pretend I think you know I’m damn precious” followed by, “Hell yeah / I’m the motherfucking princess,” I questioned how any married, adult could justify such a spectacle. Of course, lyrical gold came only a few lines later when Avril cooed, “She’s like so whatever.” Wow. What does that even mean, except maybe that someone really wanted to find a word that rhymed with “better.” Now for the worst news of all: This song marked Avril’s highest debut on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
Huh?? Were people actually gobbling up this inane filler with glee? Considering the jarring ruckus of Avril’s stage persona, I also wondered why everyone seems to have become fixated on the paradoxical phenomenon of a mainstream rebel. And that’s why I hate Avril. Any celebrity, musician or otherwise, can profit from being boisterously obnoxious but Avril’s personal brand of hypocrisy cuts like the pitchy twang of her singing voice. She is more annoying than edgy and more manufactured than distinct. Like her fans, themselves swathed in a pricey jungle of Urban Outfitter indie chic and parroting the derivative drivel of their beloved songstress, Avril is an abridged, snack-sized imitation who lacks substance, yet still fervently proclaims otherwise. In the “Girlfriend” video, Avril mocks the formulaic conservatism of her redheaded counterpart only to deliver the song’s chorus outfitted in a pair of iconic “Look-at-me-I’m-a-celebrity!” Christian Louboutin heels.
And things only get worse from here. What you may not know is that Avril has also recorded several different versions of “Girlfriend” in other languages, perhaps out of con$ideration to her international fans. Overcome by a case of morbid curiosity, I decided to sample the Chinese version and to be perfectly succinct; it was like hearing a part of my soul die. If you’re still curious, a simple web search will enable you to stream multiple cringe-worthy sessions of Avril’s language defilements available in Spanish, Portuguese, Japanese, Italian, German, French and Chinese.
So Avril gets to join other notorious recipients of my infrequent ire such as those cancer-like Shopaholic books starring the annoyingly incompetent Becky Bloomwood and her slew of fake problems. But maybe I am just being cynical. Maybe we do need the irreverent levity of Avril’s pouty musical tantrums or Becky’s whiney white collar redundancy. Still, I can’t imagine how Avril will stage the inevitable future show-and-tell narrative of her career to future progeny without undermining her parental authority: “This is when mommy decided to encrust her eyelids in glitter, don a pink tutu and declare that she was a rock princess.”
Well gentle readers, our time together has come to an end. Though my overdramatic lamentations on all things trashy might have alluded to the superficial inclinations of my own character, I must argue that being serious all the time is seriously overrated. So enjoy yourselves, have fun and try to remember: just because you go to an Ivy League doesn’t mean that you have to be a feminine hygiene product.