Nickelback – Rock Star


Seeing as it’s apparently Music Week on Watch With Mothers I thought I would contribute with this little correspondence I’ve been having. I left the following comment on YouTube regarding this hateful song from the kings of unironic mullet rock, Nickelback;

‘Nickelback must have sold their soul to the devil because there is no other explanation as to how a band this mediocre, this banal and this damned awful could ever have achieved success. I know that taste is a personal choice, but really – there should be limits.’

Within 5 minutes of writing that I got the following email from MusiclandX

How can you not like nickelbacks song they are amazing.  He has a great voice and the song is so orginal down to earth and true. You say there are limits to peoples opinion well i totally disagree with that. The last thing i could listen to would be classical but i can still understand why people like it
Maybe you should try harder…

Clearly a 14 year old girl. So this was my response, and I think it is a pretty fair review of the song as well:

Wow. If I was to nominate the one sentence that I never thought someone who say to me, it’s “how can you not like Nickelback?” It’s a rhetorical question, right?You have freedom of choice, and if you want to like this band then that’s your call – however, do you not think that emailing someone and suggesting that they try harder to like them is taking a bit too far? Trust me, when you’re older you will look back at this fleeting correspondence and a little glimmer of regret will raise it’s head, followed by full-on shame.Like I say, if you choose to think that this dictionary definition of banality is good music then I’m not going to argue with you – each to their own and all that – but please don’t go around saying that they are original, which is an insult to every artist who’s ever tried something different. Nickelback are a perfect example of abject unoriginality – that kind of horrific middle of the road AOR which has dominated the American music charts for so long and is truly the death knell of popular music.The song isn’t good – it’s horribly bad, painfully cliched and desperately hackneyed. The song structure is plodding and predictable, the lyrics empty and calculated and, please, don’t talk about the man’s voice because to do so you’d need to talk about every other rock singer who’s preceeded him first.

And as for the video – celebrity cameos, bouncing tits, abject sexism and xenophobic stereotypes do not a video make. Every aspect of this release is a carefully planned business strategy by a bunch of white men in suits working out how best to part you from your cash. There’s no creativity, there’s no communication with the audience – there’s just a very calculated strategy to make a shitload of money from teenagers.

Like them if you want – difference of opinion makes the world go round – but by doing so you’re just contributing to the further homogenisation of a genre of music which is meant to reflect everything that Nickleback patently aren’t. I grew up on rock music – proper anti establishment, fuck-you rock music – and to see it reduced to this ode to commercial rock, material possessions and wealth worship makes me weep inside. I struggle to understand how this band can write this crap when deep down they must know that they are selling everything that they once held dear down the river for a quick buck.

And as for classical – well, I’m kind of with you as (R+B aside) it’s probably my least listened to genre of music too. However, classical music contains more emotion, more experimentation and more originality than Nickleback could ever even hope to muster and will remain in culture a lot longer than Chad and his withered mullet ever will.

Have a nice day.

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35 Responses to “Nickelback – Rock Star”

  1. Napoleon Cockaparte Says:

    Without bouncing tits and abject sexism, there wouldn’t have been any rock music between 1978 and 1986. And what’s wrong with bouncing tits anyway? You had your balls cut off, or something? Afraid of offending the ladies, you new man, metrosexual, politically correct, misery guts. Bring on the bouncing tits, I say. Bring on the tits AND the sexism. And if the ladies don’t like it, I suggest they get back in the kitchen – WHERE THEY BELONG!

    You’re right about the song being shite, mind.

  2. Liam Liam Says:

    Arguing with a 14 year old girl over youtube, now THATS cool.

    I do agree though.

  3. wally bazoom Says:

    I’m glad the internet didn’t exist when I was young. On the one hand, so I didn’t leave painful artifacts of my more questionable levels of taste. On the other, so I didn’t have those things torn apart by strange killjoy adults. There was far too much of that at school.

  4. Swineshead Says:

    But you’re glad you have the internet in adulthood, presumably, so that you can comment on (and pull apart) articles you don’t agree with but maintain an uncanny silence on articles you presumably do agree with?

    If the internet had been about when you were a boy, you’d be in the Ting Ting’s workhouse, don’t you worry.

  5. Napoleon Cockaparte Says:

    I like having the internet about. Gone are the days where you had to fish about under hedges and along railway tracks to catch a glimpse of a lady’s clopper – and that’s a good thing. Plus, I understand the internet has other uses, so long may it reign, etc.

  6. wally bazoom Says:

    For me, it represents a kind of spiritual poverty tourism, in that I get to abuse the views of people equally wretched to me, and then laugh when they get all uppity in the face of criticism.

    The ‘uncanny silences’ are probably the result of me weeping at the strange, infiinte pointlessness of it all.

  7. Swineshead Says:

    ‘equally wretched’.

    That’s alright then. As long as you admit you’re on the shitheap as well.

    Take heart from the fact that you’re not sub-shitheap like Piqued.

  8. wally bazoom Says:

    “We’re all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars”, as dear old Oscar was wont to say.

    I imagine I’m the first person to ever quote that.

  9. Napoleon Cockaparte Says:

    Speak for yourself.

    *hoovers star*

  10. Jadedlady Says:

    I am an old faithful nickelback fan, always have been probably always will be. However, you made a few points in your response that i do tend to agree with.
    “Rockstar” is not be any stretch of the imagination their greatest work, but it should also not be what ‘listeners’ judge them on. The whole album, IMHO, was a bit of a dissapointment to me and ‘selling out’ did cross my mind on a few occasions. The way i see it that album was most definitely a marketing dream, aimed more at sales and promotion than what they were generally about, at least in the beginning anyway.

    As a fan the video itself was a huge dissapointment and i am not alone in that opinion in the fan community, first time i saw it i though they had sent a crew member out with a handy cam, was well below the standard we were used to. If you want to know how most fans got hooked on this band you have to look below the radio friendly singles, go back to the old albums. There is some really good blue collar rock stuff before All The Right Reasons, but the good stuff was never released as singles. dont have to be anti establishment ‘fuck you’ rock to play rock. Just because thats what you grew up on doesnt mean you can hold those standards up to every self proclaimed rock band, times change, tastes change and that fuck you attitude has been missing for a while now. Conformity to a degree is riddled within almost every successful band or musician in this day and age, you have to lower your standards somewhat with a song or two in order to ‘make it’ and get the rest of your stuff out there. You scratch my back…..etc etc…its been happening forever.

    Last point before i shut up…I find it quite amusing that you ‘scold’ this 14 y.o girl for telling you to try harder to like this band and your entitled to your own opinion and taste regarding the band, yet you sit there and judge her and basically insinuate that its her opinion and taste that contributes to the disintegration of todays music culture.let the girl have her taste and opinion without making her feel like crap for having it…..pot?..kettle?

  11. Clarys Says:

    Jadedlady – fantastic comment. I’m no fan of Nickelback, but I think you made some brilliant points.

    Good work!

  12. Swineshead Says:

    Have to agree – good comment from the Jadelady

  13. Liam Liam Says:

    I can’t give that comment much credit as I instantly find it hard to trust anyone who likes Nickleback.

    It’s like when you realise someone you like doesn’t like jaffa cakes. WHAT’S WRONG WITH YOU?

  14. wally bazoom Says:

    “…attitude has been missing for a while now. Conformity to a degree is riddled within almost every successful band or musician in this day and age, you have to lower your standards somewhat with a song or two in order to ‘make it’ and get the rest of your stuff out there. You scratch my back…..etc etc…its been happening forever. ”

    It’s not as if Nickelback have been pushing the sonic boudaries since being granted mainstream success though, is it? Personally, I do think you should be anti-establishment to play rock – anything else becomes a product and loses it’s meaning as a valid artform.

    For example: ‘In Utero’.

  15. Swineshead Says:

    Heart Shaped Box is radio-friendly.
    It may have strange lyrics, but it sounded good on Radio 1.

    What about the fucking Ting Tings?! About as establishment as you can get!

  16. wally bazoom Says:

    I was thinking more about the rest of the album, leaving aside the lead single. ‘Serve The Servants’, ‘Milk It’, ‘Tourette’s’, ‘Frances Farmer’, ‘Radio Friendly Unit Shifter’ etc. are some distant from being radio-friendly.

    As for your strangely aggressive point regarding the Ting Tings, I’m afraid it doesn’t make any sense.

  17. Swineshead Says:

    You should see me when I’m really aggressive. Let me loose in a farming environment and I’d knock a horse senseless.

    It does make sense – you praise the Ting Tings who are formulaic pop dressed as a cutting edge happening. Not very anti-establishment. You contradicted yourself, you did. You’ve got all egg over your face.

  18. Napoleon Cockaparte Says:

    I can’t be doing with Jaffa Cakes.

  19. wally bazoom Says:

    I was addressing the excuses made on behalf of Nickleback made by the poster for not being ‘anti-establishment’ in a mainstream context. I never said they shouldn’t be listened to, just that it’s hard to justify claims of artistic integrity going by their track record.

    And I never made any claims to the Ting Tings being a cutting edge band, nor that they had any integrity. I just like their style. Who’s dressing them up as cutting edge? Jo Whiley? I don’t listen to her. I just dig the music, man.

    If you want, I can post a list of music that I like AND that is cutting edge with all manner of artisitic integrity. If that’s what it takes to get some respect, then I’m happy to oblige.

  20. Swineshead Says:

    I was addressing this point, Mr Bazoom.

    ‘Personally, I do think you should be anti-establishment to play rock – anything else becomes a product and loses it’s meaning as a valid artform.’

    I disagree with it and so do you. Or you don’t. One or the other.

  21. Swineshead Says:

    Jaffa cakes are alright.

  22. Napoleon Cockaparte Says:

    I prefer other sorts of cakes. Golden Syrup cake, for example. Now that’s a good bit o’ cake.

  23. wally bazoom Says:

    On balance, it could probably lose the ‘valid artform’ bit. I take that bit back, it’s slightly pompous. I really have no idea what makes something ‘valid art’. I was just trying to say that you can’t make excuses for poor populist music, or at the very least, Nickleback.

  24. Liam Liam Says:

    Don’t get me wrong, its not that I love Jaffa Cakes, it’s just that I find it hard to trust someone who dislikes them. That means you Napolean.

    The Ting Tings are a bag of shit. They wont be around for long. AND WHATS with the fucking awful names at the moment?

    Ting tings
    Joe Lean and the Jing Jang Jong
    Vincent Vincent and the Villians
    Pete and the Pirates.

    Alliteration is in it seems. It’s a pain in the arse.

  25. Liam Liam Says:

    I just realised that I post under the name Liam Liam despite just yelling at alliteration. Just thought I’d get there before someone else did.

  26. Swineshead Says:

    Fair enough, Bazoom (I agree). But where do you stand on Jaffa Cakes?

    Not literally.

  27. Napoleon Cockaparte Says:

    Nobody trusts me, Liam (Liam), I’m a slippery customer, see? A wrong ‘un.

    Until now I’d thought nobody trusted me because I’m a cunt – now I understand it’s because o’ the Jaffa Cakes.

  28. piqued Says:

    Mmm, still leaning towards the cunt side of things over here

  29. gooseannoyer Says:

    I’m very suspicious of anyone who likes salt n vinegar crisps.

  30. John Q Wagonwheel Says:

    Jaffa cakes are edible, but nothing can beat the mighty Jamaica Ginger cake. Truly, all other cakes are the JG’s 11-toed cousins.

    Also, yes, good comment by JadedLady. I do think this song and Nickelback are an utter load of toss. Also, I listen to a lot of Classical music.

  31. Clarry Says:

    On reading the comments above I was mainly struck by the coincidence that I was humming Heart Shaped Box in my head as I read Swineshead’s comment…..

  32. Cholo Says:

    i understand your concern..but i think u got the meaning of the song wrong.

    1. if u listen closely you will hear an old man’s voice in the background saying things as the vocalist sings. ( that is the devil granting the singer his wishes or something, at the price of his soul)

    2. now if you listen to the song as a whole you will somehow come to realize that the whole song is some kind of “PARODY” to the SUPERSTAR mindset most people have nowadays.

    3. nickelback wasnt really serious about the song its just gives the ironic feeling that if you think about it having a superstar’s lifestyle isnt really that great if you sell ur soul to the devil.

    4. that is the hidden moral of the song.


  33. Nickelback - Dark Horse listen Says:

    dark horse Next Go Round Lyrics…

    Dark Horse – Nickelback is the sixth awesome album by Canadian rock music group Nickelback, intrduced on November 18, 2008. The awesome disc was co-produced by the band and Grammy Award-winning producer and songwriter Robert John……

  34. ugeine Says:

    Is ‘awesome’ Canadian for ‘So bad it made me want to vomit in the lead singer’s Cheerios’?

  35. Nick of the T Says:

    Yes, yes it is…

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