Nickelbacklash: Do Kroeger and crew deserve the hate?

In light of the release of Nickelback’s new record No Fixed Address, the Sheridan Sun decided to weigh in on the public’s polarized opinion of the rock band. Inspired by a crowdfunding campaign launched by a man named Craig Mandell to ban the band from performing in London, U.K. as its template, Sheridan tried to figure out if this kind of behavioural lemon is worth the squeeze. Although the month-long campaign eventually fell short of reaching its $1,000 goal, Mandell still managed to gain 60 backers in the interim. Is this Londoner justified in his actions, or is his he simply grasping at comedic low-hanging fruit?





Let me preface this by saying that I don’t like Nickelback. Actually, more importantly, I don’t really care about Nickelback. Indifference is the opposite of love, right?

But I do understand Nickelback has a special place in some people’s hearts, and I really don’t have the energy or chip on my shoulder to try to take that away from them.

Sure, I will gladly argue that their music is made for the consumer, written and marketed in a way to appeal to casual music fans that don’t know their sonic ass (Kings Of Leon) from their elbow (Elbow).

I’ll also gladly point out that Nickelback’s lyrical content ranges from broken home platitudes (“Too Bad”) to crude post-coital reflections (“Figured You Out”).

But I don’t take jabs at the watered-down post-grunge band fronted by what appears to be Eddie Vedder dressed as a lion because I hate them.

I do it because it’s just a lot of fun.

That being said, I would never waste an hour of my day campaigning to have them banned from my city.

Why can’t they come to London? Did they hurt your family? Do they call your house daily, soliciting duct-cleaning services? Did they just invade Poland?

I understand that Craig Mandell was really just trying to be cute. But the problem is that by taking such a lazy, kitschy approach to criticizing something he doesn’t like he makes non-Nickelback fans look just as dim and tactless as Nickelback fans.

Mandell’s making us look like jerks. Most indie music media outlets don’t even bother reviewing Nickelback records.

If you’re in the middle of a heated debate over whether Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain or Slanted and Enchanted is Pavement’s best record, (the answer is Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain) you are not paying any mind to the newest Nickelback anything.

There was a time where I would have loved to write a piece about how much I hate Mumford and Sons because they were nothing more than the Backstreet Boys dressed up as Mennonites. “Little Lion Man” had swears AND an accent! The culture! But whatever, that’s their schtick.

Maybe Marcus Mumford really meant it. Maybe he really felt bad about how he “really fucked it up this time” whatever it was – infidelity, gambling addiction, drug problems, etc. Maybe he worked on the Costa Concordia.

My point here is: who cares?There are dozens of bands just as boring and vacuous as Nickelback, and I’m sure Mandell probably likes a few of them.

Also, as someone who’s in a relatively unknown rock band, I can tell you, Nickelback is not the worst band ever.I have seen — and probably even been in — some of the worst bands ever. They were amateurs; Nickelback is not.

Mandell really provides no evidence of why they should be banned from London or what exactly is so bad about them. His reasons for why Nickelback should be banned include: “Go listen to them” followed by “their ability to hear at all is clearly in question.”

Once again, I get it: he’s being cute. But give us something!

Tell us about the uninventive lyrics, the boring, watered-down rock n’ roll and Chad Kroeger’s hokey, bottom-shelf-whiskey-sipping-Everyman stage persona.Tell us how they make Bob Seger look like Brian Eno.

That’s the problem with armchair music critics like this Londoner – they either are not intelligent enough or don’t care enough to explain why they hate certain bands so much.

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chad_opedCHAD MASON

Nickelback must have thought they were pretty artsy when “Feelin’ Way Too Damn Good” was mixed.  Layering the end with an airport “final boarding call” must have been so righteous for the cool cat Chad Kroeger, who totally looks like a lion. What was Nickelback trying to do, copy Pink Floyd’s The Wall?

The backlash that Nickelback endured this year with Mandell’s campaign would be enough for anyone to hit their stride and come crashing into a metaphorical wall at the speed of the car found on their 2005 album All The Right Reasons. But that momentum would require creativity, of which Nickelback has enough to fuel, maybe, Barbie’s pink convertible.

It seems like common practice to shit on Nickelback (see above). So much as mention their name and you get snarls and hisses that resemble the early stages of a mob. You do get the occasional poor sod that comes to Nickelback’s defense, and it usually ends with public crucifixion and their argument washing away like Chad Kroeger’s Sun In doused hair.

Some might think Mandells’ campaign was an abuse of crowd funding and just plain stupid but, realistically, there’s been worse. Remember the potato salad guy? “Don’t let Nickelback” is truly a testament to the power of music. It brings fans together. Just like high school, all the pimply, angst-fuelled teenagers band together like an Alice Cooper song and gossip about certain teachers.

Nickelback is that teacher, a teacher that unfortunately has no idea what they are talking about.

Similar to  “I hate Nickelback,” there’s an old saying “Never judge a book by its cover.” Now we can’t hold the band accountable for Kroeger’s soggy noodle moptop, but there’s always a spark that ignites the flame. Unfortunately it’s not a flame that will burn Nickelback to the ground.

There has to be a reason why people constantly suffocate at the sound of their Rubbermaid music.

To put it simply, Nickelback is boring. Most of their songs seem to be so unnecessarily negative, about drinking, cars or broken hearts. There’s a time and place for that. It’s called country music. A common complaint is that they are just so average, it’s concerning. Every single album follows the same formula. Truthfully it’s incredibly difficult to differentiate one song from another.

They appeal to the masses. They fill the awkward silence of day to day life. They are an empty beer can. A can that gets passed around at a house party. There lies the appeal. Everyone can take in a Nickelback tune, but every sponge can also absorb dirty water. Music should challenge the soul and mind. Nothing was born out of Chad Kroeger asking us to look at a “Photograph”. Nor did they change the world with “Edge of A Revolution”. Another band already did that.

Before we burn stadiums to the ground next time Nickelback comes to town, ask yourself, why do you hate them? Maybe like them, it’s “Just To Get High”. But if  “When We Stand Together” means condemning Nickelback in order to showcase a higher taste in music, so be it. There are artists that have set the bar high, just as Nickelback has set the bar low. But it’s a job that needs to be done, everyone’s Gotta Be Somebody.

In 2005 they asked, “If Everyone Cared”, apparently everyone does. The anti-Nickelback bandwagon is a heavy one. They still sell out venues and make more money than you ever will. It doesn’t matter how many people try to ban them. They still sell records.

Nickelback isn’t alone in this breakfast club. At least they are nothing like Justin Bieber.