Here & Now
I’m not sure that any “artist” has consistently drawn my ire to the extent of Nickelback over the years. Sure, Dashboard Confessional and a number of pop-punk acts have temporarily brought about fits of deep apathy. But, Nickelback is maybe my first love (of bands I love to hate, that is), and I always seem to come back to them. In fact, my first foray into blogging revolved around hating on really terrible lyrics accompanied by terrible music, and you can find my entry on Nickelback here (warning: adult content). The content of this post was ripping on the song “Photograph”, but not nearly as well as the guys in the video below. Alas, this experiment with blogging was not to last. Law school got in the way, or maybe I should say, blogging got in the way of law school (maybe should consider that to have been my first priority, even if that wasn’t always exactly the case). And now, I have the illustrious opportunity to review a new Nickelback album, and present to you the tepidly-titled Here and Now.
I had the displeasure of hearing the lead single off of Here and Now, “When We Stand Together”, for the first time during the halftime show of the Detroit Lions/Green Bay Packers game on Thanksgiving. Let me just say, that nothing in the Detroit Lions painful history has exemplified failure as much as their decision to have Nickelback perform at halftime of their Thanksgiving day game. At the very, very least, it’s Detroit, call up Kid Rock and make a desperate plea to come play a song during halftime. A long line of unfortunate events is about to happen to the Lions and the city of Detroit because of this Karmic failure.
The song itself follows a pretty formulaic “I am desperate for blue-collar Americans to listen to this song” recipe. Start by singing about the troops because every American is a sucker for the troops, but only on national holidays. Then sing about the plight of homeless people, and put the finishing touches on the track with a message of self-dependence and how we can change the world. Pretty standard fare for a band of Nickelback’s ilk, and I have certainly heard worse, but this bouncy anthem is the peak (a peak about as high as Bittersweet Mountain for those of you familiar with skiing in southern Michigan).
After the mal-focused epic that is “When We Stand Together”, Nickelback offers a whole different animal. Next up is the strip-club duo of “Midnight Queen” and “Gotta Get Me Some”. With lyrics like “She’s gonna be my Midnight Queen…She’s gonna lick my pistol clean”, Nickelback shows that they certainly still know how to keep it classy. The thing is though, that I’m not offended or disgusted by these lyrics, just embarrassed to be subjected to them. Patton Oswalt has this bit on how clean filth, or filthy phrases said in a g-rated way, is way creepier than if you just say what you mean. And it is so true. I find Buckcherry’s trash-rock on “Crazy B*tch” so much more palatable because they just come out and say they’re “getting f*cking laid”, instead of saying something uber-creepy like “lick my pistol clean”. “Gotta Get Me Some” is much less creepy than “Midnight Queen”, and therefore a little more fun. It is a little like “Pour Some Sugar On Me”, only with a much less memorable chorus (and, I didn’t spend most of my college career grinding to “Gotta Get Me Some” at Laclede’s).
The rest of the album is made up of terrible alt ballads and aggressive rockers that wander between hyper-sexual and sad-sack sensitive crap. I’m not sure if there is anything on this album that is quite as bad some of Nickelback’s more terrible past entries, but nothing is much better either. These Canadian con men sure do know how to steal their way into American’s hearts and steal a few of their hard-earned dollars, and while I hate it, at least I downloaded their album illegally.
Can’t Miss: n/a
Can’t Hit: every track
I did it. I listened to this entire album. I wasted an entire box of Q-tips cleaning the blood out of my ears afterwards, but I did it. And now I’m NOT going to write about it. I truly do not believe that anyone reading this post is expecting or excited to hear good things about this album. In fact, if I were a betting man (which I am), I would bet that nobody reading this article even really likes Nickelback. For this reason I will not further exemplify Austin or I’s distaste for Chad Kroeger’s ear-bleeding vocals or his feebleminded lyrics, but instead plea that we as Americans, no longer put up with this joke of a musical act.
If you do like Nickelback, please comment below that you do. I promise that this is not to bad mouth you, or criticize you publicly on this forum, I am just curious to know if these “fans” actually exist. I personally do not know of any, but they must be out there. There certainly weren’t any real fans in front of them at the Lions game last Thursday. Those 13 people who “rushed the stage” were clearly people that were paid to do so. I know this because I have sadly participated in “seat-filler” programs and I know them when I see them. These are programs in which people are literally paid to watch performers/events that nobody will legitimately go see themselves, i.e. George Lopez, Craig Ferguson, the Grammy’s (which is basically just an award ceremony for Nickelback at this point), and Detroit Lions football games. At first combining both a Lions game with a Nickelback halftime show seems like a cruel joke that was maybe initiated by Green Bay, to humiliate the Lions on a personal level, rather than just on the field. But it wasn’t long before I realized that this colossal catastrophe was merely a small part of an elaborate scheme that is being brilliantly executed by none-other than America’s closest “friend”, Canada.
Canadians seem like a peaceful bunch of folk, yea? Never really up to much, just kind of chillin’ aboot up there above us without a care in the world. Maybe catch a hockey game or just hang out at the much more interesting side of Niagara Falls. NO! There is a much uglier side to Canada than the entrance ramp to the Maid of the Mist known as Chad Kroeger, a man that will completely destroy everything good in music, if we let him.
Nickelback’s first album Curb, was released in 1996. Not even pulling rank for the Canadian charts, it somehow managed to peak-in at #182 on the US’s radar. Their next album also didn’t register on the Canadian Billboard but managed to climb through the ranks of the US’s to #130. Canada had its work cut out for them at this point. America had taken the bait hook, line, and sinker, and was now just an open door for bands like Nickelback, Three Doors Down, Saliva, Shinedown to walk right in.
Although the next four albums did peak at #1 on Canada’s charts (they didn’t want to make it too obvious), the sales results were devastating to Americas image in the music world. The total US sales for the next four Nickelback albums hit over 21 million recently, while Canada’s total sales for the same four albums haven’t even reached half of that. Canada has successfully dumped their trash all over our land and we are not only buying into it, we are embracing it with loving arms apparently. Surprisingly enough, even the UK has become a causality in this tasteless war. While neither CAN nor the US have pulled rank on Nickelback’s new album, it is rocking a solid #10 on UK’s chart as I type. Devastating news from our fallen mentor of popular music.
Luckily Beatlemania still prevails, and The Beatles remain as Americas #1 best selling foreign act of all time. But Nickelback is locked in at #2, and if we are not careful, one day that stat could change. It’s time for America to have some musical self-respect and take a stand against them. No more being brained washed by Canada. No more buying Nickelback albums or going to their concerts. No more allowing them to sneak into movie soundtracks. No more Nickelback halftime monstrosities, even if it is just a Detroit Lions game. Please America, stand up with me and fight. NO MORE NICKELBACK!
Can’t Miss: You can miss this entire album.
Can’t Hit: None of these tracks should possibly hit.
I know that based on Austin (1.5) and Todd’s (1) decreasingly poor ratings of somehow Nickelback’s seventh studio release, you would expect for me to go another half or full point lower. But I have a confession to make: I’m not a leader of men.
Yes that’s right: I was once a Nickelback fan. Not only did I own the faux-American rockers second album The State, but I didn’t stop there: I also wasted a measly $12 bucks on their follow up and breakout album: Silver Side Up. I did quit liking the Canadian trash at that point, but now believe my betrayal of the band has haunted me ever since.
It was small at first: a flat tire here or a broken iPod there, but nothing too obvious to point me to the source of my problems. Finally, this past Thanksgiving, a time where I am usually filled with bountiful gratefullness I was filled with nothing but dread. These Canadian scumbags had infiltrated the heart of American rock music, Detroit, and even managed to find a way into Ford Field, the home of my beloved Detroit Lions. Things were looking good in the first half of the annual Thanksgiving game, until Nickelback took stage and completely took the air out of the place. After a horrendous second half even causing my favorite player N’Damukong Suh to be so angry he had to stomp it out, Nickelback now looks to derail the best season the Lions have had in 11 years, all just because myself (and I believe others like me) have turned our back on the trailer park rock band.
So I’m going to go in another direction, for the sake of my wife and I’s future, the Lion’s future, and the future of mankind: I will attempt to reverse the Kroeger Curse by heaping unabashed praise on Nickelback’s latest release, Here and Now.
“This Mean’s War” rips the door down with the raw energy and absolute riffage that would make Megadeth and Metallica curl up into the fetal position. “Hold On To Heaven” is the most heavenly song since “Stairway to Heaven”, and “When We Stand Together” makes me just want to dance with my baby. “Lullaby” wisks me off into a true dream plateau, a landed filled with milk, honey, and outrageously epic rock ballads.
“Is that enough, God?” If not, here goes my rating.
Can’t Miss: every track
Can’t Hit: n/a
I only have this bone to pick with the above. Todd gave the album the same rating as Metallica and Lou Reed’s Lulu, an album that made me want to weep out of pure confusion. At least we knew what we were getting into with Here & Now, but Lulu was such an abomination that words cannot describe the lengths I would go to in order to wipe the putrid stain from my consciousness. I would have accepted a 1.00001 just to denote that this album is better than Lulu.
Aggregate Rating: 4.33/11 (not funny, Wes)
By the way Todd, don’t pretend like your 16 year old self didn’ t get down to this Shinedown epic. I sure as shit did.