I have a confession to make. I used to be a Nickelback fan.
Emphasis on “used to”, because I was young and didn’t know any better. Also I really only liked “How You Remind Me” because well, the rest of “Silver Side Up” was pretty forgettable.
As part of my ongoing musical education prior to starting a band, I started listening to all kinds of music lately, good and bad. Nickelback was the latest cab off the rank and the results of this aural experiment left me with enough of a rage-boner that it warranted a blog post. I’ll be doing more of these in the months to come, with artists I like, hate, find tolerable, and so on. I’d call this “Music Mondays”, but you know how I feel about schedules.
So without further ado…
The idea was go objectively look at a band I used to like and now find rather generic, and find out why they’re so god-damn hated amongst music fans. My argument is basically “there’s plenty of other generic rock bands out there, why does Nickelback, of all forgettable bands, cop so much flack?”
It should really be called “Chad Kroeger and Friends”, because let’s face it, can you name all the members of Nickelback? I know I can’t. So you basically have Chad Kroeger, Chad’s Hair, and a buncha dudes he picked up during a visit to the pub.
We see a lot of Chad and his hair, and the general feeling I get is that he’s just douchey. He’s a walking Summer’s Eve product line, though I imagine rubbing Chad Kroeger on your pink bits will result in a far less-than-clean vagina.
Y’know what? I could theoretically get into Nickelback if I had amnesia, completely forgot what music was, and the only CD available was “Nickelback’s Greatest Hits”. It’s not bad, by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s far too generic for me to like. Too generic, too safe, too forgettable. But then I listen to a band that thinks death metal goes really really well with surfer-rock, so I’m not the best person to ask here.
Here is the basic formula for a Nickelback song:
Strummy acoustic bit > Distorted bit while the drummer suddenly realizes he was meant to come in several bars ago > acoustic bit but now the bass plays along > Distorted bit > End.
There. I have sent you on the road for forgettable rock superstardom, dear reader. Use these skills wisely, young Padawan.
Even for a generic rock band, they have some standouts. Here’s a rundown of what I listened to during this:
How You Remind Me
This is pretty much all she wrote. They released this, and then added lyrics and other chords to make other songs.
In this ditty, Chad’s Hair gets angry and if you squint close enough at the music video, you may even see spittle.
I gotta ask though, what’s with the weird synth-y bass effect? C’mon guys. Either leave the synth to Nine Inch Nails or Garbage and just continue on with your crappy crap, or actually include it in your music in a meaningful way.
I’m pretty sure this is the only Nickelback song that features a solo or two.
See “How You Remind Me”. It’s the same song.
Okay, so this one isn’t too bad. If anything, because the music video features a bunch of celebrities who probably had a mortgage payment due at the time.
the real irony here is the line “I’m gonna sing those songs/that offend the censors”, because these guys are the tamest rock band in music history. The Beatles had more notoriety for their bowl hair cuts than Nickelback ever did. Maybe if we took them for a DeLorean ride back to 1955 they’d turn some heads.
Okay. This is a joke, right? The fuck are you trying to pull, Nickelback? Is this just a race to the bottom for you? What the fuck happened?
Basically I ended the experiment here because the song and the video clip damn near killed me. When I die, I want this played at my funeral because I’m taking all you motherfuckers down with me.
“LOOKITTHISPHOTOGRAFF”, Chad’s Hair mumbles over a warm acoustic guitar. At least that’s what I think he says. I’m not even sure anymore. The only clue is that he holds up a picture frame in the music video:
If Green Day’s “Time of Your Life” is the song played when you leave university, then “Photograph” the song you play when you’re looking back at the age of 45 wondering what the fuck they’ve done with their life. A sentiment that I’m not sure Chad’s Hair can really relate to.
THE MUSIC VIDEOS
They look pretty, that’s for sure. But that’s about all they’ve got going for them. You’re looking at some of the driest, formulaic videos ever released by a major label. “Too Bad” and “Someday” are basically the same video with relationship dynamics switched for variety, and every other video has someone creepily trying to caress someone else from behind.
And then there’s “Photograph”, which feels way too much like one of those ‘literal music videos’ to be taken seriously.
Don’t expect wonders here. But if you ever wanted to see the Pokemon-like evolution of Chad’s Hair, then they’re worth a watch.
I’m still not sure why they’re hated so viciously. Are they seriously worth the trouble of starting a petition to keep them out of the UK? Or Australia? This is the sort of shit the Helen Lovejoys of the world do for Marilyn Manson concerts, except worse in the fact that Nickelback isn’t even offensive. At least Ol’ Mismatched Eyes managed to cause some controversy. Nickelback on the other hand parades around in this “big, tough, rockstar” image but once the leather jackets and sunglasses come off, they’re just a bunch of little kids playing with daddy’s guitar.
The sticking point here is Chad’s Hair, and the douchebaggery he represents. Nobody gives a shit about the other bandmates, really.
Nickelback, as bland as they are, do what they do reasonably well. They’re not bad musicians, but they’re not exactly looking to switch their game up anytime soon. I guess the most amusing thing that comes out of the amount of hatred they inspire is the fact that without it, Nickelback would not exist. If you all shut the hell up, then there’d be no more Nickelback.
But then, what would we have to bitch about that doesn’t involve politics, any form of “ism”, or social justice?
BEST DESCRIBED AS
“Mom rock for moms who hate mom-rock”
I DESCRIBE THEM AS
“The ‘Greedo Shot First’ of Rock Music”