Released = 2014
Recorded = 2013
Artist = Avril Lavigne
Album = Avril Lavigne
Quote=" 'Hello Kitty,' a dubstep track that seems to acknowledge its own tokenism by adopting a 'J-Pop American Funtime Now!' sheen"
work = Entertainment Weekly
author = Catucci, Nick
date = 29 October 2013
title = Avril Lavigne's new self-titled album
accessdate = 20 February 2014
Length = 3 minutes, 18 seconds
Label = Epic
Producer = Martin Johnson
"Hello Kitty" is a song by Canadian singer Avril Lavigne. It will be released as the fourth single from her fifth studio album Avril Lavigne in 2014. It was written by Lavigne, Chad Kroeger, David Hodges and Martin Johnson, while the song was produced by Kroeger, Hodges and additional production by Brandon Paddock and Kyle Moorman. Musically, "Hello Kitty" is a electro-pop song, featuring a dubstep-influenced drop. The song was influenced by her obsession with all things related to Hello Kitty.
Background and composition
Three months after the release of Goodbye Lullaby, Lavigne announced that work on her fifth studio album had already begun, with eight songs written so far. Lavigne stated that the album would musically be the opposite of Goodbye Lullaby, with a release date rumoured for sometime in 2012. Lavigne explained, "Goodbye Lullaby was more mellow, [but] the next one will be pop and more fun again. I already have a song that I know is going to be a single, I just need to re-record it!" It was written by Lavigne, Chad Kroeger, David Hodges and Martin Johnson, while the song was produced by Kroeger, Hodges and additional production by Brandon Paddock and Kyle Moorman. The song was engineered by John Hanes, musical mixed by Serban Ghenea and additional programming was held by Paddick and Moorman.
In an interview, Lavigne said about her collaboration with Kroeger; "I have a song called [Hello Kitty], which I wrote about [Hello Kitty] because I'm obsessed, and it's a really fun thing that I've never done before. It kind of has a kind of glitchy, electronic feel to it and it's... the only one on the record that sounds like that. It's really different and a lot of my friends I've played it for really like it. I'm having a lot of fun with that one." Lyrically, Lavigne told Digital Spy; "'Hello Kitty' was such an interesting topic and subject [...] It was really exciting for me. I didn't want it to sound like anything I'd done before. I wanted it to sound over the top so I ended up hiring a new producer to help me with it." She was later asked about the double meaning abut the song, to which she responded "Obviously it's flirtatious and somewhat sexual, but it's genuinely about my love for Hello Kitty as well." Additionally, she said at MuchMusic "It's really fun [and] it's about a slumber party and loving the kitty."
Nick Catucci from Entertainment Weekly exclaimed "“Hello Kitty,” a dubstep track that seems to acknowledge its own tokenism by adopting a “J-Pop American Funtime Now!” sheen (and whose title may or may not enclose a double entendre that in any case I’d rather not entertain)". Craig Manning from AbsoultePunk said "The biggest leap of faith is made on “Hello Kitty,” a trippy patchwork of EDM and pop that pays loving tribute to Lavigne’s sizable Japanese following." Bradley Stern from Muumuse had discussed the song in an extended review, and explained; "“Hello Kitty” is an off-the-walls EDM-infused stomper. Conjuring Gwen Stefani‘s bouncy, Japanese-minded Love. Angel. Music. Baby (plus a Fashionable Dubstep Breakdown for good measure!), Avril lets her love affair for the beloved Japanese mascot go wild across pulsing beats and sputtering electronica as she shouts outs hilarious commands: “Like a fat kid on a pack of smarties / Someone chuck a cupcake at me!”" He also referred Lavigne's nature towards the song as "insane".
In promotion for the parent album, Lavigne hosted a hashtag on twitter called "#3daysuntilavrillavigne", to which a fan asked which song would she like to release as the album's fourth single, Lavigne replied: "Hello Kitty" or "Give You What You Like". In February 2014, Lavigne revealed that she would release two more songs, one of which would be "Hello Kitty" as an Asia-exclusive release and "Give You What You Like", as the album's fourth and fifth singles.
The music video for "Hello Kitty" was filmed in Japan and premiered on Lavigne's official website on 21 April 2014. It was removed from her YouTube channel amid criticism that it was culturally insensitive and lacked energy. Although an official spokesperson stated that the song's video was never officially released and was stated to go live that Wednesday It was reuploaded to her official VEVO/YouTube channel on 23 April. Lavigne defended the video against allegations of racism toward Japanese people, stating: "I love Japanese culture and I spend half of my time in Japan. 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."
Nick Catucci from Entertainment Weekly called the song "weird", along with "Bad Girl". Despite praising her "techno-pop" influence, Jason Lipshutz from Billboard felt that "it's a bold stab at a genre outside of Lavigne's oeuvre (here, dark-edged techno-pop), but it never comes together. By the 20th time "Hello Kitty, you're so pretty" is declared, the listener's attention is already on the next track." Laurence Green from MusicOMH judged "trashy EDM moment Hello Kitty; laced with snatches of Japanese lingo, feels like a weird misstep more suited to a Britney Spears album than the predominately rock-centric sounds present on the rest of the record." Julia Leconte from Now explained that Lavigne's song titles "17", "Bitchin’ Summer" and "Hello Kitty" are some of the reasons why the singer and album, in particular, have not matured in time, in contrast to her debut album in 2002. A reviewer from the publication Yahoo! Music stated that it was a horrible dubstep attempt.
The song and video have been criticized for its portrayal of Japanese culture by many, the over-sexualization of the Hello Kitty icon and for its jokes pertaining to overweight children. A reviewer from Sputnikmusic remarked that "Hello Kitty" is "laughably bad" and "insipid", and criticized Lavigne's attempt at trying to draw in a younger crowd. Stephen Thomas Erlewine from Allmusic exclaimed "Hello Kitty" "bypasses bubblegum so it can settle into the embarrassing". Craig Manning from AbsolutePunk said "It's a left-turn that most probably won't appreciate (I myself probably won't ever listen to it again), but it briefly takes the album to an extremely adventurous and idiosyncratic place, single-handedly spicing up a dull midsection in the process". While reviewing and stating that most of the album was "soggy", Chuck Eddy from Rolling Stone felt that "Hello Kitty" was the most playful song and called it a "J-pop-via-Kesha". Robert Corpsey from Digital Spy was mixed to positive in his review, saying "the juddering electro-pop beats of 'Hello Kitty' serve as an ode to her you-know-what as well as her sizeable Japanese fanbase. As a curveball, it works brilliantly; but as an attempt to make her sound current in today's EDM-pop dominated charts, it falls considerably short." The Michigan Daily gave the song a negative review, referring to it as an "obligatory 2013-dubstep mess created for the sole purpose of attempting to follow a trend."
"Hello Kitty" debuted at number 84 on the Gaon Singles Chart and at number 70 on Download International Chart with 4,038 copies sold in its first week.
Written by Avril Lavigne, Chad Kroeger, David Hodges, Martin Johnson Electric guitar by Martin Johnson Engineered by John Hanes Mixed by Serban Ghenea Produced by Martin Johnson Additional production and programming by Brandon Paddock, Kyle Moorman Additional vocal production by Chad Kroeger, David Hodges Recorded by Brandon Paddock, Kyle Moorman, Martin Johnson