Don’t get me wrong. Love Avril. The ties? Great stuff. She married the Nickelback guy? Defensible, if only because it birthed the term “Chavril.” But having unleashed her latest music video ‘Rock N Roll’ upon us, we may have to reconsider our editorial stance on the pride of Napanee.
The song is whatever. It’s hooky and mindless and a little over-produced. It’s one of those tracks your bro sneaks onto the cottage weekend playlist and you all sing along just to bug your one friend who is way too cool to even enjoy it as a joke, but then it starts to seep into your brain and before you know it you’re belting it out in the shower.
But, holy shit, this video is awful. After kicking off with the can-I-make-it-anymore-obvious Sony Xperia product placement that might be clever if Avril could convincingly act like she actually doesn’t care, the “post apocalyptic, rocked out comic book adventure” that unfolds jumps from meme to meme, reference to reference so laboriously, it’s a miracle Avril had the strength left to raise her middle finger to the sky. Billy Zane, the fake moustache, Tarantino ‘Grindhouse’ car chase, the killer lobster, Slash’s November Rain solo, the dog: they all feel like Easter Eggs without a basket. The song-stopping Winnie Cooper make-out skit makes the Shoppers Drug Mart pickup scene in Drake’s “Started From The Bottom” look like it was written by Armando Iannucci.
I get it. It’s silly and goofy and not meant to be taken too seriously. And I’m the last person to care about besmirching the legacy of Tank Girl or whatever. It’s just that the manner in which these “jokes” are carried out makes me worry about the future of comedy. Do people think these blatant references are funny? It’s a joke because you mentioned it? “BearShark? That’s hilarious! I ALSO saw that on Reddit!” The Internet has warped the concept of a joke for too many people.
But why do I care? The more I read this back, the more I imagine Avril reading my gripes and laughing. “Gotcha!” she’d holler from atop her throne of Grumpy Cat skulls. I’ve so obviously fallen into the trap of her refrain: “We don’t need no one to tell us who to be.” I’m so predictable.
The more I think about how much I hate this, the more I love it. Maybe I hate myself. Maybe I AM too wrapped up in “the hipster bullshit.” Maybe Avril IS the motherfucking princess and I still love it.