Forget your values, your frame of references, and anything you know to be true. Avril Lavigne‘s magnificent video for her new song “Rock N Roll” is a postmodern triumph. Lavigne breaks down our suppositions about structure, framework, music, and the very nature of reality, all while inviting us to “[j]ust put up a middle finger to the sky/Let them know that we’re still rock ‘n roll.”
After an obnoxiously long 30-second plug for Sony that undermines our very concept of what we’ll sit through in order to get to the good part, the video launches us into a battle over the fate of rock and roll, or something. Lavigne is the hero, there is a villain in a gasmask, and also Billy Zane is there. Okay but seriously. What the fuck is going on here?
Another character is quickly introduced as we jump back and forth between settings:
Winnie Cooper Danica McKeller. She appears to be the sidekick to our quasi-heroine.
This is when Lavigne hits a baby with a cafeteria tray, which challenges our preconceived values about hitting babies:
Avril and Winnie Cooper make out. I am feeling very queasy given the lack of a structure I can relate to, but resistance is futile.
At a funeral for a dog, a guitar comes forth from the dog’s coffin.
Our heroine fights a Sharkbear, who blithely proclaims “Motherfucking Avril Lavigne.”
Billy Zane flies away on a Segway. It is deeply symbolic.
Although good has prevailed over evil and rock and roll is alive and well because Avril Lavigne exists, I’m left unsettled and confused. I don’t even know what I just watched. Touche, Avril.