Shit Things in the World: Nickelback

Shit Things in the World: Nickelback

Ah, the internet; the leader of the 21st century cultural revolution. This magical place can single-handedly make-or-break just about anything, we only need to consider the astounding popularity of PSY, Justin Bieber, cats and unboxing videos to see proof of this.

Conversely there are people, bands, places and just about anything you can think of that have been the subject of immense hate encouraged by the anonymity of the internet. Just last week I read this article about an internet hate campaign on an ex-teacher.

Nickelback is one of those bands who were probably disliked by many prior to the internet becoming life itself; but then the hate grows as people are so easily influenced by their fingerprint riddled screens. I myself, have an intense hate for Nickelback, but I’m completely unsure if I came to this conclusion by myself or whether the cultural and peer pressure of the internet ushered me this way. A user in this knowyourmeme post suggests that the hate is ‘internet bandwagon’ hate. I’m not convinced and I think there are real reasons to despise the group. Off the bat, Chad Kroeger’s voice absolutely grinds my gears, he is definitely a one trick pony, and internet told me he looks like the paddle pop lion... and he does....

From what I’ve heard (which unfortunately is basically everything... don’t even ask), Nickelback ed on making slightly different versions of the same album. They’ve got this niche where they just love to sound edgy as they tell you about that girl they fucked or that time they got so smashed and did some CRAZY SHIT. Sometimes life is just SO CONFUSING, then they had sex, they broke into a school (a half a dozen times, apparently), had some awesome sex again. Man, did you know that the guys in Nickelback just get laid all the time? I’m sure given they are probably one of the richest group of dicks in the world that they can get laid plenty, but they’ve been singing about this from day dot, as if there are some definite confidence issues there.

This crazy off the chains Canadian four-piece cater to a very, very specific group of people; they’ve found their money-making niche. You could ask any middle-class 30-50 year old if they were cool in their teenage years, and their response would probably probably be the lyrics to a Nickelback song. Hell, if they like to talk, you’ve got yourself an album. I remember at work once when these guys were rolling through Perth and the buzz around the store was all “Oh my god! I just CANNOT WAIT to see Nickelback tonight!”, it was a really uncomfortable experience, really... All of the radio’s and compact disc players were cranking the NBack and they were starting to get loose in preparation, and it’s probably then I realised just how sad the whole situation is. Did I mention that Nickelback constantly refer to their music as “rock and roll”. If them, their music, and their attitude, is rock and roll, then I don’t want to live anymore.

Your average person at this age no longer desires ‘new’ music, and so I doubt they go hunting for it, but they do listen to the radio and/or watch Video Hits (or whatever, I’m so out of that loop). So the music directors at these various companies hear these guys and you know their eyes are lighting up and they’re salivating, this sound is so perfectly ‘engineered’ to be what people want while maintaining those edgy themes that apparently teeter on taboo – you know the people that genuinely like Nickelback think it’s really cool to listen to them because they talk about sex. Too many times I’ve had the displeasure of passing a car with a ‘Animals’ blasting. In this sense I almost understand how it’s easy to fall into the trap of listening to these chumps, but then something struck me... if they got so big, surely at some point they must have been somewhat good to get signed to EMI/Roadrunner/Universal and have so much money pissed away into marketing.

This IS rock and roll.

I decided to have a look at the critic scores on these bad boys; and I know that a lot of you hate critics and blahblah they’re not real people blahblah, but at the end of the day they listen to music, critically, more than most people do for pleasure. Using my advanced internetting, I’ve found my own aggregate scores for their first two albums (since not on metacritic), and used metacritic for the other 4.

  • 1996 – Curb – 60
  • 1998– The State – 40
  • 2001 – Silver Side Up - 50
  • 2003 – The Long Road – 62
  • 2005 – All The Right Reasons – 41
  • 2008 – Dark Horse – 49
  • 2011 – Here and Now – 51

If we then look at the album sales for these marvelous pieces of art and creativity,

  • Curb  - 500,000 +
  • The State – 2,000,000 +
  • Silver Side Up – 15,000,000 +
  • The Long Road –8,500,000 +
  • All The Right Reasons – 16,000,000 +
  • Dark Horse – 9,500,000 +
  • Here and Now – 2,700,000 +

These numbers are ludicrous, just to give you a ball park for this, Tame Impala’s second album Lonerism, which holds a metacritic rating of 88, is renowned worldwide. The band have toured extensively since it’s October release, yet they have sold less than(approximately) 60,000 copies.

On this basis alone, I ask you to embrace the hate on this pathetic excuse for a musical artist. A quick note for if you actually want to hear Nickelback, tune into 96FM if you want, I’m sure you’ll hear some. After all, they are ‘Keeping real music alive’. Oh, I’d also like to point out that Chris Martin of Coldplay has said how great he thinks Nickelback are...
I mean, Coldplay have had some good songs over the years, but of late I’d almost put them in the same category as Nickelback. They too, direct and "engineer" their music to a specific group of people, and their last couple of albums have pretty much been the same album with a slightly different take.

If you have found any of this pretentious or at all insulting, I’m not that sorry, and neither is the internet. Here is a great video demonstrating how similar a lot of their songs are:

Well actually, just two, but you could easily do this over their catalogue...

Having said all of this, they are the 11th best selling musical artist of all time, and have something like 16 million Facebook fans, so there's clearly something there, all I'm saying is that you DO have a reason to hate them other than the fact that everyone else does.

Also a video of Nickelback being booed off stage

Sean Coffey


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