Posts Tagged ‘Nickelback’

Nickelback – Photographs

August 27, 2008

There’s a town in Florida called Celebration that was designed, built and engineered by the Disney Corporation. It’s an ode to the small town of American mythology – where everyone knows everyone elses’ names, where little league is the sport of choice, where there’s a church on every corner and where 97% of the population are white. In its early years, actors were employed to aide the impression of the the yokel spirit and snow was sprayed on the ground every Christmas whether it was cold or not.

Celebration is, in more ways than are readily recognised, the epitome of American values. It presents the right image, it taps into patriotism and nostalgia and it is effortlessly controlled by a ruthless corporate behemoth that purports to be about family values. If it looks genuine and it sounds genuine then who cares if it actually is genuine?

Ladies and gentleman, welcome to Nickelback country.

Writing about music on WWM is always a tricky proposition as it always flares up far more defensive responses than your average ITV show. However, with Nickelback I feel I’m on safe ground.

To like this band you must be a tone deaf, semi-illiterate fucktard who enjoys the sensation of being aurally patronised and having their values slowly beaten into a bloody pulp by a thousand men in very expensive suits. You must be a masochist whose musical purchasing revolves around the latest ‘Now’ compilations and ‘Hardcore Urban Trance Classics 2009’. By all accounts and all tastes and all allowances for musical snobbery, you must be a moron.

‘Photographs’ is the band’s most recent single – a rerelease following the highly explicable but no less painfully successful ode to money and directionless consumerism ‘Rock Star’. It’s a contrived amalgamation of supposed memories from lead mullet Chad Kroeger, all perfectly emoting what is an archetypal upbringing for your average middle class ‘troubled’ teenager who still shops at The Gap – you know, the ideal demographic for this sort of thing.

Like a fake medium hustling a rich and grieving widow, Kroeger channels picture perfect vagaries of screen-door memories in middle America Nowheresville, picking out the schoolgirls who broke his heart and his numerous brushes with the law. He contemplates how he went astray, becoming a reflective and wizened soul who wants a second chance at life – all the while seemingly forgetting that he’s actually a former session musician from Canada whose only conviction is for being a drink-driver.

This follows the same line as their previous single ‘Rock Star’ which is basically a list of rock star cliches – a song particularly interesting as it features a rock star singing from the point of view of an ‘everyman’ about how he really wants to be rock star. Projected self adulation it may be, but it’s also about a rock star clearly becoming annoyed that his rock star life doesn’t follow that of what a rock star life should be – so he sings a song about he’d rather have a rock star image than be the actual rock star he is. Are you still with me?

Music is all about image, I’m not denying that, but there’s something deeply sinister about the way Nickelback go about it – their lyrics are almost focus-group driven, sculpted from marketable subjects that can inspire the most ferverent puchasing and imbued nostalgia. They drip Americana; etched into every rumpled t-shirt and straggly rat-tail is a sense of rugged machoism and glistening self importance, all topped off by a style that was popular roughly 15 years ago.

Of course, Nickelback aren’t the image of the real America, they’re the image of the corporate America. They’re the image of socially responsible rebellion, of radio friendly rock music and of all-out war-waging pomposity. Yes, there are other bands who use the flag as their image and some are far worse than these pseudo hillbillies, but I don’t think there’s a band out there who wear it so brazenly – who tread the line between sincerity and self parody so closely.

Listen to the lyrics. It’s like they’re cribbed from Facebook photo comments to achieve maximum effectiveness – a false history wrapped within a culminated life and sponsored by Disney. They’re the Miley Cyrus of rock bands; tightly squeezed by an army of imagemakers who can take their sub-average cliches and present it with so much glitter and sparkle that you hardly notice what’s beneath it all.

The talkbacks will begin soon and we’ll all wade through the usual music arguments. Let me save us all some time; I know there’re far worse bands in the world, I know that commercial rock is nothing new, I know that the music industry has always been about image and I know that even those precious fuck-you rock bands that I grew up on were really powered by Sony.

Nickelback are a new breed of all that, though. They’re a genetically spliced super group that combine the twin powers of alt dot origins and massive commercial appeal. Much like GI Joe, they have a copyright logo where the cock and balls should be – and should that sort of behaviour really be encouraged in the first place?

Nickelback – Rock Star

March 19, 2008

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

‘omgoshhhh
😛
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.

One Minute Review – The Metros: Education Part 2

March 18, 2008

The link doesn’t work for some reason, but just click here for the video… 

Happened upon these young upstarts whilst watching Lily Allen’s godawful offering a few weeks ago and somehow – unbelievably – they managed to make the preceding cavalcade of utter crap look vaguely alright in comparison. I also got cable installed recently and they make MTV Two unwatchable, what with the above video being on heavy rotation there. Not that it’s watchable anyway since it’s been taken over by the bland-spatter that is Zane ‘Completely Zane’ Lowe.

The generic, inevitable Libertines-theft makes way for perhaps the most unpleasant new voice in modern pop music. Look at the singer. Listen to his affected voice. Be revolted. But whatever you do, don’t even attempt to take the lyrics seriously. They are the most appalling excuse for song-words I think I’ve heard so far this year – even beating that shithouse ‘Rockstar’ by Nickelback. I don’t care that he’s a teenager (he’s probably 25 anyway and lying to shift units). These are shit, shit, shit lyrics and he deserves to be hanged, drawn and kicked to bloody pieces for this atrocity.

Let’s take a look at them words…

Education’s overrated, and I’m the monster that it created.
And doing homework’s anti-social, but I’m an A-star pupil
GCSE in Music, I don’t know how the fuck I’m gonna use it,
The time is of the essence, but the pills are a depressant
And I think I’ve learnt my lesson but I’m only adolescent

(WOAH) x2
Do it again.
(WOAH) x2

And all the wasted time I’ve spent, the grass is greener on the other side of the fence!
And to me, it makes no sense.
You get the grades, and then you pay the rent! x2

(WOAH) x2
Do it again.
(WOAH) x2

I had a mate called Paul, he was never too cool.
Got himself chucked out of too, too many schools.
Didn’t know what to do to, so he went and robbed a bank, with a sawn-off shotgun and his two-bit mate called Frank.

AHA!

Got on a plane, down in heathrow, got nicked in the waiting room and got ten years, and a fucking asbo!

(WOAH) x2
Do it again.
(WOAH) x2

Brilliant, isn’t it? He says the word ‘fuck’ two whole times and mentions asbos! And his face is a complete mess of boggly eyes and punchable teeth! I hope he fucks off with his gang of teenage shitbags and never darkens my TV screen again. Like I said – worse than Nickelback. And that’s saying something.