I don’t know when Nickelback went from topping charts to being a punchline, but it was probably around the time when Chad Kroeger married Avril Lavingne. Maybe they were always a punchline to the pretentious set who hate them because it’s cool to hate them. Yes, I just called you pretentious. No, I won’t apologise.
Here is my thing with Nickelback, ok? Ask yourself, deep in your soul, WHY you hate them so much. Is it just because everyone else does? Like the slightly awkward new kid at school, have you just decided they suck because the masses in the playground are saying they suck, and you want to feel loved and accepted?
This is understandable. No one wants to be ridiculed for their secret love of something in the school playground. But also WAKE THE FUCK UP AND SMELL THE STALE RUM AND COKE, FRIENDS. This is not primary school, this is real LIFE.
Don’t be a sheep.
Nickelback are good, and if you actually listened to their tunes in 2020, you’d realise that. Instead, most haters just use “don’t swipe if you like Nickelback” on dating apps to give off some air of being holier-than-thou, like you hating on this generic band everyone else hates somehow puts you yards ahead of that OTHER dude holding a huge fish and wearing speed dealers.
If we break it down, there is nothing about Nickelback’s music that is fundamentally worse than, say, the Foo Fighters. Oh yeah, I went there. The Foos (lol I have never called them the Foos in my life) are totally generic, mainstream rock – just like Nickelback. But we never shit all over the Foo Fighters for playing to the most generic audience, do we? We don’t call ‘Best Of You’ the worst song in the world.
I’d like to note here and now that I’m not a music journo and this is not some sort of professional analysis of Nickelback and the Foo Fighters and middle-of-the-road rock music. Lol guys I’m just being paid to essentially write in my diary!! Except it’s on the internet!! And today I felt like defending Nickelback!
So don’t come for me by being like ohohohohoho I’ve been a MuSiC JoUnRALsT for 450 years and actually, Foo Fighters are classified as progressive alt soft roque and you simply CANNOT compare the two you peasant. I don’t care! I’m going to compare them!
What I’m saying is that there are bands we seem to accept, and then there is Nickelback. Fundamentally, their music sounds kinda the same. What is that?
I’d also like to point out that the lyrics are… really quite good? How’s this, I bet you’ve never actually had a look at any of them. Here’s a bit from ‘This Is How You Remind Me’:
Tired of living like a blind man, I’m sick of sight without a sense of feeling.
Wait actually that is truly terrible. You can’t live as a blind man and be sick of sight without feeling, you can’t SEE.
Okay scratch that defence from the record, please. What I will tell you is that the TUNES are good. I like to think of Nickelback as my soft rock version of Miley Cyrus, or One Direction. One of those bands you just have a good time listening to on occasion, but you wouldn’t list as your favourite artist of all time. You don’t cry when you hear their songs or gasp at their mastery, they’re just a good vibe.
I’m not a die-hard fan who has all the albums and listens to the deep cuts or anything. Top charting hits only here. And that’s what I suggest you give a try, ok? Just give them a go.
Here’s what you’re gonna do. Pop on Savin’ Me, my favourite Nickelback song. The bit where he’s like “HEAAAAVENS GATES WON’T OPEN UP FOR ME”, I felt that.
Then, line up This Is How You Remind Me, followed by Far Away (not their best but still a bit of an emo vibe if you need to stare out the window and think about your crush), and finally, Photograph. I don’t mind Photograph but it’s not a favourite.
Or you can just keep shitting on Nickelback like the big baby sweaty sheepie you are and feel super high-brow and cool, if you like. I’ll see you at the next house party – I’ll be the girl who corners you and shoves ‘Savin Me’ up to your ear via her phone.
Melissa Mason is a freelance writer who also loves country music. Like, Carrie Underwood country music. You can find her posting sub-par thirst traps on Instagram.