Considering its issues with the letters ‘V’, ‘R’, and ‘L’, it’s surprising how well Avril Lavigne has done in Japan. Clearly something about her rocky poppy boppy sound and her cute but grungy (but still cute) persona seems to have won them over. I can’t imagine why.
The management behind Avril (or Aburiru as she’s known there) have clearly clocked on to this, and with big shiny dollar signs obstructing the vision of their rational human eyes, proceeded to create a candy coloured monstrosity of a video that pulls off the unprecedented feat of being both racist and boring.
We open on Avril, wearing Poundland’s Katy Perry fancy dress offering. She is flanked by her Japanese ‘friends’. When I lived in Japan I started to mistakenly get the impression that Japanese women are actual thinking feeling people. I have western artists like Avril and Gwen Stefani to thank for showing them for the dead-eyed automatons they truly are.
The song begins ‘Minna saikō arigatō kawaī’. This thoughtful and haunting lyric translates as ‘Everybody best thank you cute’. Let it never be said that Avril’s song writing peaked with ‘He was a punk; she did ballet. What more can I say?’ Remember hearing that and thinking ‘Ah yes – that old trope! Punks and ballerinas … a tale as old as time itself. No need to expand, Avril – we’re all on the same page.’ But I digress. In case that game-changing opener hadn’t already convinced us of Avril’s creds as a reel mu$ic1an, we see her pouting and strumming a guitar while in the background a pillar wears a faux fur girdle. It’s silent and lifeless, so for a second I thought it might be a Japanese woman, but I checked and it’s a pillar.
I was sold. Until an outtake later revealed that Avril initially got confused and started trying to strum a phallic cake prop.
We shouldn’t be too hard on her though, because a closer inspection of her hair reveals that she has been recently lobotomised.
Post-op Avril seems pretty perky , even if her eyes are a bit glazed, and proceeds to cavort around while behind her the Japanese robots she has enslaved wildly attempt to perform the flag Semaphore signal for ‘Mayday’, but to no avail. Avril has craftily taken away their flags.
Who can blame them? The ear assault goes from bad to worse as we make a startling diversion into drum ‘n’ bass. Time was that all shit pop contained a rap verse. Back then it may have seemed annoying and tokenistic, but now that I have to listen to interludes that sounds like Skrillex was drugged and forced to make music out of AOL internet dial tone, I grow nostalgic for the good old days.
Like all other people on earth, Avril Lavigne doesn’t know how to dance to drum ‘n’ bass, and gently flails like an unhappy salmon until we revert back to safe innuendo-laden pop, where she sings things like ‘Come and play with kitty and me’ and ‘I got something you need to see’.
She’s talking about her vagina you guys!
Running low on cat-themed references for her lady parts, Avril moves on to a sushi bar in the hopes that raw fish might provide some inspiration.
But not before a spot of subtle product placement.
Excellent bottle shot. If only they’d put as much thought and effort into the rest of the video.
Sushi man sushis to drum and bass while Avril looks on clapping and girning like an inebriated toddler.
The whole sequence last about 15 seconds and serves no purpose other than to successfully showcase Hakutake Shiro sake. It’s as if whoever art directed this was given the theme of ‘Japan’, fell asleep for ten weeks, woke up and went ‘Shit! We’re shooting tomorrow and the whole budget’s already been blown on flying to Tokyo and stapling shag carpet to a stool … er …. sushi?’
With no money left or any sort of plan as to how this whole embarrassing romp is going to end, the makers of the video just film Avril and her robot army walking down a Japanese street waving. With the mentality of a bored sixteen year-old Instagramming her own feet, they put this in black and white for literally no reason.
What look to be real Japanese women trot behind them trying to get in shot, which could actually be sort of fun, but they’re barely visible because why would we want to see actual Japanese people when we we’ve got unsmiling stereotyped robots dressed as saucy oompa-lumpas?
You know how Asian people love photos n shit? Avril does. Which is why it’s time for a little more PRODUCT PLACEMENT PRODUCT PLACEMENT FUJIFILM FUJIFILM OMFG ITS ONLY BLOODY FUJIFILM.
Avril figures out how to use a camera and basically shits herself with excitement.
Then, as more and more women join the procession, Avril’s insidious plan becomes clear …
Like some kind of demonic pied piper of Harajuku, Avril is leading them away from their loved ones so they too can be transformed into mindless drones, endlessly forced to gesticulate awkwardly to ringtone pop music.
And with the awful truth revealed, this bubblegum clusterfuck of a video draws to a close. Slow clap. Vomit. Slow clap. Cry. Laugh. Cry. Repeat until mentally cleansed.
Stills featured are property of Epic.