Kristina Bumphrey / StarTraks 1 / 12
Kristina Bumphrey / StarTraks 1 / 12

Remember Avril Lavigne? Long ago, she had a hit with "Sk8r Boi," then married Nickelback's Chad Kroeger, thus ensuring the safety of the Canadian dating pool. It turns out that she's like the David Hasselhoff of Japan, which might explain the video for Avril's aurally unpleasant dubstep-style single, "Hello Kitty." Behold a veritable explosion of Japanese kitsch complete with candy stores, giant cupcakes, a Tokyo-as-anime backdrop and blank-faced schoolgirl-esque dancers in pink tights and suspenders.

The onetime "Complicated" pop-punker calls the mostly single-entendre song, co-written by Kroeger, "flirtatious and somewhat sexual."

Leaving aside aside that Gwen Stefani did this a decade ago, and that Avril, at almost 30, is too old to be singing (a generous word) about her "kitty," slumber parties and a "fat kid on a pack of Smarties." The problem is, on the surface, the video plays like cultural appropriation, and bad cultural appropriation at that.

Reviewers have not been kind.

"Incredibly cringeworthy," pronounced one. "I have seen hell," wrote another. We prefer the review offered by our dog, who barked at the video's opening notes and promptly left the room.

Avril, for her part, doesn't get the controversy surrounding the video.

"RACIST??? LOLOLOL!!! I love Japanese culture and I spend half of my time in Japan," she tweeted. "I flew to Tokyo to shoot this video specifically for my Japanese fans, WITH my Japanese label, Japanese choreographers AND a Japanese director IN Japan."


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