Because Sometimes It’s Fun to Listen to Brats

This song has been earworming me all morning (NB: 30 second clip):

Girlfriend – Avril Lavigne

And it’s my own damn fault, because I referenced Avril Lavigne in something I wrote. Stupid of me, I know.

That said, I like the song, even though (or possibly because) at this point in life it is wildly outside my own frame of reference. The chances of some young thang applying the content of the song to me are roughly the same as me getting hit by a meteor, and even if one did, what I would do is patiently explain the difference between me and, say, Zac Efron. And if that didn’t work, Krissy would just beat the crap out of her. Problem solved. But it’s still catchy. Which is all I ask out of Avril Lavigne, really.

Here’s the video, in case now you can’t get it out of your head until you listen to the whole thing. It has 84 million views, which suggests that we’ll be hearing this song from now until the end of our days. Prepare yourself.

39 Comments on “Because Sometimes It’s Fun to Listen to Brats”

  1. I think the 84 million views might be attributable to the fact that the video was posted over a year ago. :)

    Get with the program Scalzi. It’s like you’re not down with the teeny boppers or something.

  2. The song’s the subject of a copyright suit from what I remember. Maybe I’ll look up the progress on Pacer when I get the chance.

  3. Oh, that clip was ridiculously catchy – it will be the anthem of every girl in 50 countries for the next 20 years. I envy her publishing royalties.

    I took the baby boomer solution to get that hook out of my head: The Faces’ “Pool Hall Richard”. If that doesn’t work it’s Black Sabbath’s “Supernaut”. That riff will obliterate anything.

  4. Matthew Dyer:

    “It’s like you’re not down with the teeny boppers or something.”

    I think we’re all grateful for that one, Matthew.

  5. Next post: Differences between John Scalzi and Zac Efron, ooooooor difference between Zoe Perry and Avril Lavigne (or Vanessage Hudgens) (or maybe one of the girls on Gossip Girl)?

  6. changterhune – Before you hear lies from Chang Terhune himself, we thought we’d tell you the truth: without us, his old action figures, he’d be nowhere. He loved science fiction from way back and began reading it at an early age, but it was through us that he acted it all out. That’s what led to the writing. He watched a lot of science fiction shows like Star Trek, U.F.O, and movies, too. But we were always there to do his bidding. And it’s like they say: you always forget about the little people on your way up. Oh, the 70’s and early 80’s with him were good times! He’d use these blocks and make all the crazy buildings for us to be in his stories. I gotta say the kid’s imagination was pretty damn fertile. Oh, he had friends, but they just weren’t into it like him. He was like the Lance Armstrong of action figures. And of science fiction. At first, when he began writing in the eighth grade, we didn’t mind. He still made time for us. And we knew that when he was holding us in his sweaty little hands and he got that far off look in his eye, he’d come back to burying us in the back yard or - god forbid! – blowing us up with firecrackers. But it was worth it for a part in one of those stories. We loved him for it. He kept us around even when we were minus a leg or two - or even a head. In that mind of his, he found a use for all of us. Then he discovered girls. October, 1986. It was like the end of the world. One day we’re standing in the middle of this building block creation he’d pretended was some marble city on a planet near Alpha Centauri and the next we were stuck in a box in the closet. Not even a “See ya later!” Nope, it was into the closet, then we heard some high-pitched girly-giggles then silence. We didn’t see him for years. We got word about him once in a while. Heard he took up writing, but it was crap like “The Breakfast Club” only with better music. We couldn’t believe it. Not Charlie. What happened to those aliens with heads he’d sculpted out of wax? Spaceships? Those complex plots? All gone. For what? You guessed it: Girls. Emotions. “Serious fiction.” I tell you, it was like hearing Elvis had left the building. During our two decade exile in the closet, we heard other things about him. He went to college. He wrote a lot, but not much he really liked. We knew it even then. It was like he didn’t dare write science fiction. Some of us had lost hope and just lay there. Others kept vigil, hoping for a day we didn’t dare speak about. Then we heard he’d stopped writing in 1996. Did he come to reclaim us? No. He took up music for ten years or so. He took up yoga. Once in a while, he’d visit us in the closet. But it was half-hearted. His mind was elsewhere. Then one day, he really did come back for us. One second we’re in the dark and the next thing we know we’re in a car headed for Massachusetts. Suddenly we got a whole shelf to ourselves out in broad daylight! Then he bought a bunch of others form some planet called Ebay. He’d just sit and stare at us with that old look. But why were we suddenly back in the picture? He had a wife now, who didn’t mind that he played with us. So what had happened? Turns out he’d never forgotten about those stories. He’d been thinking about all of us and the stories he’d made up and then remembered he’d been a writer once. From the shelf we could see him typing away. Before long he’s got a whole novel together! Then he’s working on another one. Word is there are two more in the planning stages! Some short stories, too! It’s good to see him using his imagination again. Its good to know he never abandoned us. He returned to his true love of science fiction. We hear the stories are pretty good. Someday we’ll get one of the cats to score us a copy of the manuscript. Man, it’s good to be out of the damn closet! --- I'm smarter than you I'm harder than you I'm better than you I'm just raw I'm hotter than you More popular than you More clever than you And goshdarn it, people like me I'm smarter than you I'm harder than you I'm better than you I'm just raw I'm hotter than you More popular than you More clever than you And goshdarn it, people like me
    Chang, imbued with specialness

    I can’t figure out whether I should monkey, pogo or go back to sleep to this song.

  7. So there I was…2 days before me and my wife were taking our daughter to her first concert. And you guessed it. It was a Avril concert in San Jose. But then something bad happened. Avril had a sore throat so she canceled all the west coast shows. And yes I was looking forward to see how they did live.

  8. Avril wastes her talent on bubble gum crap. She has displayed at various points in the past (such as covering Metallica’s “Fuel”) that she has the chops for real rock.

    I wish she would make some. We need more real female singers in the Rock world.

  9. This song may well be the one that forces me to turn off the in-game music in Burnout: Paradise, where it’s one of the ones that is in rotation.

  10. Haplo Peart:

    She has plenty of time to go into rock when she’s no longer in her early 20s and teen girls cease to be a profitable market for her. In the meantime, why begrudge her the ability to financially set herself up for life?


    Hate to say, I’ve never been fond of that particular Matthew Sweet song.

  11. I really hate this song because when it goes into it’s chorus I just think the song writer is retarded or living in some fantasy land. Then I imagine some poor girl trying the line out and getting punched in the face by the guy’s actual girlfriend. The video really doesn’t help the song any.

  12. Yes, it would be an ill-advised thing for teen girls to live their lives according to the precepts of Avril Lavigne.

    Mind you, she is playing both girls in the video. For an extra dose of subtext!

  13. Ah, Avril. I’ve heard that song on the radio several times and didn’t know who was singing. Is it just me, or is there a certain resemblance to the 80s pop masterpiece Mickey?

    I accept no responsibility if John posts the Mickey video later today or tomorrow.

  14. So… just how *are* you putting all these multimedia links into “Your Hate Mail Will Be Graded?” Do we get a bonus DVD? Are there tinyurl links so we can still go back?

  15. She did versions of it in a bunch of languages, too. I really like to Japanese one for some reason. :-)

  16. For another possible earworm song, one that also concerns what will probably be the other end of the obviously ill-fated relationship Avril is trying to arrange in “girlfriend”, check out:

    “Potential Breakup Song” by Aly & AJ.

    “I want my stuff back”. How else could a “I don’t like your girlfriend. I think you need a new one.” relationship end?

    – yeff

  17. Yeah she plays both parts which is interesting though I think they failed to make either part really work story wise in the video. The poor down trodden book worm to the goth reject doesn’t inspire me to sympathize with either. Now if the girlfriend had been some hot bitchy cheerleader stuck in the mud to the carefree goth alt girl desire to be with the poor goth guy stuck with this totally wrong girl maybe there would be something there. But I just end up feeling vaguely sorry for the wrong girl (the bookworm) and oddly amused that girl power in the video’s subtext is all about stealing men from other girls… which is neither here nor there in the long run but amusing to me.

    Also the video director is making a sad call back to a Mariah Carey video where she played both parts, danced in movie theater and fought her other self in the bathroom, the song was “Heartbreaker”.

    If you can’t tell I’ve thought way too much about this song. =/

  18. I loves me some bubblegum. The only thing I like better than plain bubblegum is bubblegum with chocolate inside. And also maybe some broken glass:

  19. Um, I am slightly abashed to admit that I have The Best Damn Thing on the playlist I listen to while running. Because I need me some teeny bopper grrrrl power motivation when running. I also have Squeeze Toy on that playlist.

  20. Most of the the brats I’ve heard only sizzle with the occasional whistling if they’re about to burst their casing.

    What? We’re not talking about bratwurst?

  21. Just to illustrate how much all pop sounds alike, this is an amazing mashup of all 25 #1 billboard pop songs from 2007, including Miss Lavigne.

  22. You. Are. EVIL.

    I’ve been listening to this over and over again for over two hours now. It’s like zombies in my brain or something.

  23. The fact the that video for “Girlfriend” isn’t a remake of the video for “Mickey” is failure on a fairly massive scale.

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