What Happens When You Actually Listen to a Nickelback Album Front-to-Back?

Hating Nickelback is reflexive for many of us. It's become one of those comforting mass-culture validations, like praising the Dalai Lama or distrusting people with Hotmail accounts.

This groupthink methodology has an obvious flaw: The conclusions, though potentially valid, are also quite empty. I've never actually listened to a Nickelback album. I can name only two of their songs at most. Yet I loathe them down to my very marrow.

It occurred to me recently that the loathing I feel for Nickelback isn't really mine; it's secondhand loathing, a meme borrowed from surrogates and thought-leaders who've actually had to suffer through a Nickelback concert or album. Having acknowledged this, I find that my reflexive hatred of all things Nickelback feels cold and illusory. I no longer derive pleasure from it.

I must earn my Nickelback hatred the only sensible way: By listening to a Nickelback album. So into the breach we go.

NICKELBACK INTAKE TRIAL (10/20/10)

Time: 11:54 a.m.

Items: MacBook, illicitly downloaded CD copy of 2005's All the Right Reasons (the band's highest-selling album), Kleenex (unscented), amyl nitrate "poppers" (4-pack).

(Trial begins)

11:55: Insert CD into computer. MacBook asks me whether I'd like to download the album onto my iTunes library. Choking down a small amount of bile, I swiftly hit the "No" button and get busy Nickelbackin'.

11:56: Amid a flurry of high-hats and machine gun percussion, the album's opening track, "Follow You Home," fills my ear buds. Not horrible. Sort of Metallica-esque. It seems to be a song about stalking a noncompliant woman. Ooh-rah.

12:01: Track 2: "Fight for All the Wrong Reasons." On this one, lead singer Chad Kroeger sings about getting over a contentious romance: "Guess it wasn't / Wasn't meant to be" and so on. Sounds like James Hatfield with a nasal infection. I soldier on.

12:05: "Photograph" is next. Listening to this song is like confronting a childhood tormentor. Truly horrendous. I remember it vaguely from some lame mid-decade TV commercial — maybe Budweiser or T-Mobile. In fact, that's when I really started hating Nickelback. Jesus, what a breakthrough!

12:09: My face starts to itch slightly on "Animals." Ow, the banal sex metaphors — they sting!

12:14: Are we really only five songs in? This one is called "Savin' Me" and it's quintessentially Nickelback — an artless mix of sentimentality, self-pity, and stage rage. I imagine it being played at after-school progressive Christian activity groups. The horror.

12:18: The next few songs come on like a painful cramping episode. Time slows. Shakes. Hallucinations. On a track called "Next Contestant," Kroeger imagines himself as a seething young man who impotently watches other men grope his girlfriend. I try to imagine Leonard Cohen singing it, and briefly black out.

12:30: Like a capsule of smelling salts, the following lyric snaps me back to lucidness: "If they loved like you and me / Imagine what the world could be." Actually, that's a very nice sentiment. So pure. So hopeful. I'm floating now. Up, up, into a cherry ice cream sky. Whee!

12:34: Another stalking song: "Someone That You're With." Nickelback has sold 21 million albums in the United States, mostly by singing about stalking. That means something.

12:38: Finally, the omega of Nickelback hate: "Rock Star," a pseudo-country toe-tapper about the narcotic pitfalls of fame. It's sort of like a Toby Keith song, but with less of Toby's trademark subtlety and impressionism. With lyrics about "drug dealers on speed dial," it's an attempt at withering sarcasm, I imagine — but then why did Nickelback star-fuck Pam Anderson and a bunch of other real-life celebrities in the music video? The answer: Because they're Nickelback.

12:42: Record ends. I, too, have now been to the bottom of every bottle. Nickelback hatred: validated.

 
My Voice Nation Help
33 comments
Sort: Newest | Oldest
SMH
SMH

Uhhhh.......you spent all that time just so could 'write' about your hatred of Nickelback? First of all, your opinion thankfully is the minority...You must not know much about musical talent. They are one of the best out there....HATRED validated? No, sounds more like JEALOUSY validated!

ogt92
ogt92

I question whether you would have written anything different had you actually liked the album. Not that you should have, I'm just pointing out the mob mentality hatred of Nickelback. No one is even allowed to say otherwise.

khalek
khalek

I find it incredible how you actually spent time on this just to bitch about a band you don't like.

Social life booming eh?

MaxSpain
MaxSpain

I remember an NPR show where they compared their first two albums. The similarities were eerie. Like chord changes and timing changes in the exact same places (like 30 sec. in to the third song or something similar). Basically, they took the exact same album, made a few changes and slapped it on the market.

duramaterof2
duramaterof2

This may be the best album review ever. I don't say that just because Nickelback makes my eyes bleed. I'm sure it took a great deal of effort to get through the album and still have the presence of mind to make coherent statements.Nickelback may be hardworking group, but so are cockroaches. And nobody likes what THEY do. Why don't you take up their cause, Mr. Potts?

Ricky Potts
Ricky Potts

It's fine for people to dislike a band. But these guys are hard working rock stars that put on one of the best concerts on the market right now. They sell out venues every night and are just nice guys to be around. So no matter how much people say they dislike the band, they are still making millions and selling records.

Dnozzle
Dnozzle

Indeed, they are. And that is how we know that people will listen to whatever dribble the labels tell them is good. being famous and rich doesn't mean you don't suck.

Back
Back

Craig, I think if you don't like Nickelback just say it simple and plain. I tried to go through your all stage listening the album but it was so boring and disgusting I couldn't finish it. Do not generalize about the world about don't like it this band, go and get your income doing something more productive.

Dnozzle
Dnozzle

You're right. An article that said, "I don't like nickelback" would have added to the discourse in far more ways than this one. I, for one, would have definitely clicked on it and enjoyed reading it. I would say to myself, "hmm, interesting. This man does not Nickelback. What an interesting position. Now I know."

But other than that, thank you for the elucidating comment. I now know why people like Nickelback - because they are all as fucking retarded as you are.

Ian
Ian

hilarious, and well written too

Mark
Mark

what a dumb article. I dont know any nickleback songs but I can be sure that i will never read a horrible article by Craig Outhier again

Wayne Michael Reich
Wayne Michael Reich

Mark- don't say that until you have read this previous article by Craig:

http://www.phoenixnewtimes.com...

Thanks to literary flotsam like this, Martin Cizmar seems esoteric by comparison.

Unfortunately you can never get back those five minutes you lost reading this pointless article, but you can warn others- so that's turning a frown upside down, I guess.

New Times. Your free inoculation against intelligent writing.

respectfully,Wayne Michael Reichhttp://www.waynemichaelreich.c...

Tim
Tim

Awesome article. Mark, you must be a Nickleback fan too embarrassed to admit. You must be all kinds of retarded not to agree with this article.

Name_teman
Name_teman

It is kinda not fair to go into something when you already hate it or "secondhand loathing". All your credibility gone when you start off your thing (what is this? A review?) by saying that you never liked it. It's like telling people that you are surprised that you have to poop all morning when you ate Indian food last night when you already know that it does make you do that (by which I mean poop). This is just rationalizing your hatred towards nickelback.

I guess you should your end to "Nickelback hatred: rationalized".

Hellmark
Hellmark

Personally, I don't understand the hate. Yeah, the last two albums were nothing that great (Dark Horse blew chunks and wasn't anything like how they were previously, and All the Right Reasons was overly stalkerish), older albums like Silver Side Up were much better. I've seen them twice in concert, and have most of their albums (Drew the line with Dark Horse).

Ha Ha
Ha Ha

Metallica Sucks too...Hatfield, Hetfield, whatever, they shouldve stopped 10 albums ago.

musiclover
musiclover

Lots of people hated the Bee Gees too. But they still made money and lots of it...personally I belong to Toby Keith hating club...

Rdmarino
Rdmarino

PLEASE don't ever compare them to Metallica again. You obviously don't listen to "music" if you actually believe your statement. And it's Hetfield, not Hatfield.

alternapop
alternapop

metallica has been about as bad for the past 20 years

Billymadi
Billymadi

Tastes are tastes ... some like it, others don't. Niceklback is defintely a over-rated band -- but that is my opinion. But I love 70s rock.

Hey, did any of you hear about the Led Zep/Stanley Kubrick connection?

http://moderntimesmagazine.com...

Marc Arenibas
Marc Arenibas

They're not playing in Glendale you moron, they're playing in Phoenix at the Cricket.

Dnozzle
Dnozzle

Yeah, jeeze, how could you be so stupid as t not know where Nickelback is playing. Fucking retarded. I have a little magnet on my fridge that lets me know where I can see them next. I keep it in my pocket as I follow them on tour. It is awesome. like a little navigator for my sorry ass life.

Diamond
Diamond

I like how you started your blog by recognizing how feeble-minded bloggers mostly don't know what they are talking about and are prone to extreme pre-judice. The All the Right Reasons album is eight times platinum in the USA, and Nickelback continues to pack arenas four nights a week. They play this Friday at the Cricket Wireless Arena in Phoenix. Best live rock show around.

Lol
Lol

The fact that they 'pack arenas four nights a week' has no bearing on whether or not they're talented. Justin Bieber does that, too. Popularity =/= musical ability.

Scott
Scott

Popularity != talent

Hibiscus
Hibiscus

I am impressed by your perseverance, Craig. Thanks for listening and validating the hate so that we don't have to.

 

Concert Calendar

  • April
  • Sat
    19
  • Sun
    20
  • Mon
    21
  • Tue
    22
  • Wed
    23
  • Thu
    24
  • Fri
    25
Phoenix Event Tickets
Loading...