One thing the internet seems to agree upon: Nickelback sucks. Myself, I’ve said this for years – literally over 15 years actually. I never liked NickelBack, but admittedly – I can’t really claim to know too Nickelback songs. I know that when I do listen to Nickelback, I don’t like them – I just can’t remember their music. The only song I can actually name is “Hero” from “Spider-Man” (2002). Does that even count? That song is not technically a Nickelback song anyways – but rather a Chad Kroeger song….so maybe I’m judging Nickelback too harshly from one song that doesn’t actually represent the whole band. Freddie Mercury wasn’t that great without the rest of Queen, so maybe it’s the same thing with Kroeger. Ok – I don’t believe I just compared fricking Nickelback to Queen. I feel immoral for even suggesting this!
My point with this article: I probably should know the music of Nickelback before I start saying how much I hate it. Right? So….I’m doing an experiment. I’m listening to several of Nickelback’s top songs, taken from this list. As I listen to them, I will write out my feelings. I will be brutally honest too, so if you do like Nickelback – don’t get offended. Having said that – I’m trying to be neutral. I’m also trying to keep in mind my policies on snark and negativity. Hey, who knows – I might actually want to listen to Nickelback after this experiment! Ok, ok, that’s not bloody likely.
Anyways, stick around! It should be fun – if only to watch me squirm. Ok….deep breaths….here I go….
How You Remind Me
The first verse seems ok. It’s not that great, but it’s not all that bad. Getting into the chorus, we kind of get the same thing. It’s not that great….but it’s not all that bad. Just kind of meh.
Soundwise, the guitars sound chained. They sound like they want to explode, but the guitarist just won’t let them. The drums, acoustic guitar, and bass seem pretty safe sounding and watered down as well. This could have been a much harder song, but Nickelback played it kind of wimpy.
Into the last chorus, Kroger yells a line without any accompaniment. It almost seems mathematically formulaic.
Overall – the song is just kind of meh. Like I said, safe and formulaic. The song could be a lot better, but they just won’t let it see it’s full potential.
Final Score for “How You Remind Me:” C-
We start this song with one of my biggest musical pet peeves – a huge breathe as the lead vocalist prepares to belt out a song. This could be taken care of by a studio engineer easily. Again – that’s a pet peeve of mine, so maybe I’m being too harsh on this point.
For being a song called “Rockstar” the melody, and especially Kroger’s voice sound a lot like a new country artist. This does not compute.
Getting into the meat of the song – it sounds like a million other songs lyrically. Materialistic and boringly wishing for fame and fortune. And what’s with the line about the wanting a quesadilla?”
Musically – bleh. I already basically said I hate the melody. It makes me want to bang my head into a wall…seriously. I just want to smack my skull to the beat of the chorus. Hoboy, I really do hate this song! Yes! I hate this song so much! The gloves are off Nickelback. I was being nice until now….but we’re going full steam because you wrote this piece of crap!
Calm down Aaron- you haven’t said anything about the instrumentation. Well – that’s because the instruments are so bland and forgettable I had nothing to say. Seriously….give us a good guitar solo or something! Ugg. This song really sucks.
Final score for “Rockstar:” F-
Burn it to the Ground
Starting out the song – we have a lot more chops than the previous song. It’s not the best instrumentation, but I find myself tapping my feet to it at least. There’s a good guitar riff and the drums are on point.
Lyrically the song is kind of meh. The melody really seems to be absent. More like talking in two or three notes I’d call what Kroger does on this song more as yelling with a pitch than actually singing. Still – I guess it works with the high energy of the song.
After the opening, the instrumentation really doesn’t do too much more. They just play the same notes over and over again, with the same drum rhythm. For having such a strong beginning, this song disappoints more than it delivers.
Final Score for “Burn it to the Ground:” D+
We start with an acoustic guitar – so I’m thinking this might be a nice ballad. Then Kroger comes in full throttle with his forced vocals. Oy – I’m not liking them. They sound like he’s trying to be Eddie Vedder with a cold.
The chorus is so forgettable that at the end of the song I’m wondering if there actually was one. I had to go back to confirm. Oh….there it is. Yawn fest. Actually, that describes the entire song. A giant yawn fest.
The song has so many musical cliches as well as the bland lyrics. I swear – this song sounds like a copy and paste session. Granted – so do most Nickelback songs, but this one particularly brings absolutely nothing new.
I guess it’s not as bad as Rockstar though.
Final Score for “Savin’ Me:” F+
I decided to skip numbers 5-7 on the list of “best” Nickelback songs (a phrase that I’m officially calling an oxymoron). I’m listening to the song Someday – mainly because it’s from an album I’ve yet to explore yet. Maybe they changed. Yeah…no, they did not.
I’m not even going to bother with the details on this song, because I’d just be repeating myself. Someday sounds like a Nickelback song. Like all Nickelback songs before it and all Nickelback songs after it. It’s boring and forumulatic. It’s a song just not worth my time. Seriously I’d rather listen to Vanilla Ice’s “Ninja Rap II” than listen to Someday again.
Final Score for “Someday:” D-
This song can’t decide if it wants to be a country song or a rock song. Seriously, the verses are definitely new country, but the chorus sound like a rock song.
I can’t actually hate this song. It’s about looking back at your younger days. We’ve seen this very topic in songs like Chicago’s “Old Days,” not to mention “Summer of 69” by Bryan Adams – and really as long as there’s a personal connection – the message never gets old.
I’ll dare say that this song would actually work really well if they went full country with it. It’s not the most intellectual song, but it’s a bit comforting – until we reach the chorus which jars us out of our comfort zone.
Oh, by the way – Chad Kroger admits he didn’t finish high school. This explains soooooo much.
Final score for “Photograph:” C
Leader of Men
Ok – I decided to go with an early song, from their second album. I probably heard this on the radio a lot, as I was still listening to the radio in 1999. I might have been ok with the song back then – to an extent. It certainly wasn’t my favorite song, but I probably didn’t switch to a CD when it played on my radio station of choice.
Nowadays – I hate this song. They sing the same notes over and over and over and over and over and over and….yeah! Seriously, there’s other notes out there Chad! Use them! Holy crap, it’s more annoying than the song that never ends!
What’s really sad about this song, it sounds like a lot of the later songs. This means Nickelback has not grown musically. Not at all. They certainly have explored a more country sound, but they don’t really seem to evolve. That’s just sad.
Final Score for “Leader of Men:” D
So – should you listen to Nickelback?
Does Nickelback suck? Yes. Yes they do. The internet is not wrong at all. Their music is just cut and paste formulas. There are times when Nickelback seems to have something – but that something never comes to fruition. On another note, there’s a few songs would be in this experiment, but they were so boring that I just didn’t want to give them any time. I will say they Nickelback isn’t the worst band ever….they’re not as bad as Insane Clown Posse…they’re boring. I calculated the final scores for each of the songs, and the total comes to a solid D-. That’s seriously pathetic.
So – again – should you listen to Nickelback? I’ve said it myself, it’s ok to like bad music. So – as long as you like listening to crappy, uninspired, formulaic tripe and you admit that Nickelback is all of this – then it is ok to listen to Nickelback. However, if you value your sanity, I say don’t. Don’t listen to Nickelback. Seriously – why would you do that to yourself? Why would you listen to Nickelback when there are so many amazing bands out there?
Ok, ok, they sell a ton of records and have a bunch of adoring fans, blah blah blah. I suspect those fans don’t know a lot about music. I suppose fans just see music as filler – and don’t care if the music isn’t innovational or even inspiring. Secondly, their ears aren’t trained to recognize the patterns – or maybe the patterns is exactly what they love. Meh – whatever. That’s their funeral I guess. I know I just pissed a bunch of people off – sorry not sorry. Your favorite band sucks.
I’ll end this by saying Nickelback could be a really good country band. Again, with a few changes, mostly in the chorus, Photograph might be a halfway decent song. Why? Because it’s got an emotional connection. Maybe that’s what most Nickelback songs need – a stronger emotional connection to the audience. When Nickelback does attempt this, it’s at the very baseline. It’s usually just over sentimentality – such as what you’d find in the song Christmas Shoes by Newsong. There needs to be a deeper, more personal level of emotion. There are plenty of songs that are pretty bad, but the personal emotional connection we feel because of the song make them great.
So yeah – don’t listen to Nickelback. Spend your time on bands that matter. They don’t have to be my bands, but at least find something that gives you an emotional connection.
If I ever attempt to listen to Nickelback again, I might just need to slap myself silly. Or maybe I’ll start by listening to Rockstar, that way I’ll want to bang my head against the wall to that awful, awful beat. NICKELBACK SUCKS!