The bad news is, there's no actual Hello Kitty cameo in Avril Lavigne's new "Hello Kitty" music video. And the good news is… well, there is no good news. "Hello Kitty" is mewlingly terrible.
(UPDATE: A spokesperson for Avril has told Yahoo Music: "Not Avril, nor her label, nor YouTube, pulled the video. The video for 'Hello Kitty' was geo-blocked, as VEVO was set to premiere it exclusively Thursday. Fans were ripping the video and posting to YouTube and then getting removed due to the geo-blocking.")
Avril's bizarrely bad new clip hit the Internet Tuesday night, and the claws instantly came out on the Internet, with music fans calling out Avril (and by proxy, her husband, Chad Kroeger, who co-wrote the song) for ripping off Skrillex's side-shaved haircut and Gwen Stefani's "Harajuku Girls" shtick from a decade ago — not to mention for inappropriately appropriating Japanese culture.
The video features the "Here's to Never Growing Up" singer (who, incidentally, is now 29) gleefully snacking on sushi, guzzling sake, oddly switching between exaggerated British and Japanese accents, seemingly screaming a dubstep remix of Styx's "Mr. Roboto," and ransacking a candy shop — all with a posse of her own fembotic, identically dressed Harajuku Girls in tow. It's like a segment of that "Saturday Night Live" skit "J-Pop America Funtime Now," except, unfortunately, it doesn't seem to be a parody.
Billboard, Entertainment Weekly, and USA Today all viciously slammed the video — Billboard called it "an embarrassment in any language" — but we think two tweets, from understandably baffled Franz Ferdinand frontman Alex Kapranos and Grantland writer Molly Lambert, said it all:
I think I just saw a video of Skrillex dressed as Avril Lavigne parodying HarajukuGirl-era Gwen Stefani.— alex kapranos (@alkapranos) April 22, 2014
Avril Lavigne's racist new "Hello Kitty" video is so awful it reaches some kind of like next plateau of terribleness http://t.co/hVGeiuFQsx— Molly Lambert (@mollylambert) April 23, 2014
While Avril has made some over-the-top videos before (observe her zany "Rock 'n' Roll" clip, which featured a Slash parody, a tussle with a bearshark, and a makeout scene with Danica "Winnie Cooper" McKellar), that was just good Sk8tr-girlish fun, with tongue firmly planted in Urban Decay-rouged cheek. "Rock 'n' Roll" was number five on Yahoo Music's countdown of 2013's best music videos; "Hello Kitty" is already a strong contender for 2014's worst.
No word yet from Avril's camp… or if Sanrio will be filing a defamation lawsuit. In the meantime, we suggest if you feel like watching a Hello Kitty-themed video, just check out Lisa Loeb's: