While the world of politics flaps about in a disorienting fog of fake news and alternative facts, the more staid province of pop music continues to hum serenely along with disciplined forbearance, self-control, and sound judgment. Aside, that is, from the usual far-flung conspiracy theory involving the faked or fabricated death of a treasured pop icon.
Beginning production this week for the album. Wahoo. Pouring my heart & soul into writing these new songs for you guys. Can't wait !!!! pic.twitter.com/M8vBnkP1D4
— Avril Lavigne (@AvrilLavigne) May 16, 2017
The most recent deluge of wild-eyed conjecture was poked from its Twitter-bound slumber when a shadowy photo was tweeted out in anticipation of a new album currently in the works by Canadian pop sensation Avril Lavigne.
Or, to those of us in the woke inner circle, the tweet was really sent out by covert Avril stand-in, Melissa Vandella. Vandella has after all, it’s alleged, been masquerading as Lavigne since her tragic and expertly concealed suicide in 2003.
Lavigne, as the theory goes, had been growing increasingly mortified by the suffocating pressures of fame she’d been thrust into in the nerve-addled midst of her tender teenage years. On the strength of her 2002 debut album’s politely edgy mall-chase anthems, “Complicated” and “Skater Boi,” the 18-year-old was sidelined by instant ubiquity and, after the passing of her grandfather the following year, the mounting grief ultimately drove her to take her own life.
But rather than poaching a budding songstress to groom as the effective next Avril Lavigne, wily record label executives instead opted to present her successor specifically as Avril Lavigne herself in order to fully exploit the momentum established by her nascent success. And we end up with (positively non-existent) actress Melissa Vandella posing her way through 2007’s catty “Girlfriend” swipe and two Canadian pop tabloid marriages.
These allegations are backed up by Internet armies’ dissections of Avril Lavigne’s facial features, an observed deterioration of her vocal aptitudes, and comparative analyses of handwriting styles from enough old Lavigne notebooks to make A.J. Weberman wince.
Most bracingly, it’s suggested, Melissa Vandella subtly laces lyrics of her own with oblique messages to fans, confessing to the late Lavigne’s suppressed pain and the faceless businessmen’s classified skin swap.
The Role of a Brazilian Fan Blog
If this tale sounds familiar, it might be because death hoaxes are far from alien in the notoriously tabloid-redolent milieu of online pop gossip. Or, it might be because it’s not the first time this particular enigma has circulated throughout the flammable corners of conspiracy Twitter and the back pages of bottomless message board threads. In fact, it originated on a bizarre Brazilian fan blog called Avril Esté Morta in 2011. The theory, which appears as though an intended joke, made its rounds first in South American internet circles for a couple years before satiating the appetites of their illuminati-addled Northern neighbors.
avril lavigne is dead & was replaced by a look alike: a conspiracy theory thread pic.twitter.com/9eearQ2rte
— yeehaw girl (@givenchyass) May 13, 2017
The theory was resuscitated last week thanks to the moody filter of the photo in Lavigne’s (err… Vandella’s?) tweet reinvigorating the suspicions of Twitter’s Avril truthers. It was given a particular boost by a tweetstorm issued by user @givenchyass that spans longer than Lavigne’s purportedly truncated life and has been retweeted over 200,000 times.
It’s worth pointing out that @givenchyass’s current pinned tweet is a similar thread alleging that the late actress Brittany Murphy “was murdered by the government.”
Obviously, there’s no more evidence today supporting even a kernel of the claims put forth by the theory’s paranoid patrons than there was in its (likely satirical) inception. So for those unrelentingly continuing to push such phantasmagoric fibs: “Why do you have to go and make things so complicated?”