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You should love Nickelback

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Paul Taylor
Paul Taylor

For a long time now it has been in vogue to criticise Nickelback and boy has social media made it easier for the anti-Nickbacks to vent. Today, Nickelback played their new single When We Stand Together for the USA Superbowl half-time show after an online petition, 55 thousand digital signatures strong, tried to convince the NFL to find a different artist.

This anti-Nickback sentiment is understandable. Nickelback are Canadian. The NFL is American. It'd be like an Aussie performing at a Kiwi rugby game. Or a Kiwi performing at an Aussie AFL game.

But what is not understandable is the general hate, disdain and disgust aimed at Nickelback. Funnily enough, the band have sold millions of records world wide and their albums have sat atop the charts in many countries. Nickelback are the butt of many jokes and no-one would openly admit they like Nickelback. But I like Nickelback. I do. I like their seriousness while being simple, it creates a type of humour for me. I love music. I love all sorts of music. From Avenged Sevenfold to 2Pac, from The Beatles to Biohazard.

Call me immature, call me childish, call me simple of mind and pigeon-hole me into the American-low-IQ-jock-who-only-wants-pussy-and-beer category. Musically, they're simple; it doesn't take a music journalist to point that out. Their lyrics are simple; it doesn't take a literature or poetry major to point that out.

What they really are is pop music. Pure and simple. Pop disguised, quite cleverly, as serious rock. They have long hair, wear jeans and portray themselves as kinda tough like any serious modern rock band. They have tats, ride motor bikes and adhere to any other serious rock cliché you can think of. They sound like rock, kinda like serious rock. If AC/DC were relevant today they would sit comfortably next to Nickelback.

Photograph epitomises the Nickelback ethos. The videoclip, the lyrics, for example: “And this is where I went to school/most of the time had better things to do/criminal record says I've broke in twice/I must have done it half a dozen times”, and the simple chord progression.

Their music and lyrics are so simple and catchy that even the most ardent anti-Nick can't resist. And that's what Nickelback are. Nursery rhymes for adults that anyone can learn, sing along to and get stuck in the head. Add to that the confusion about their rock image and pop hooks which cause frustration. Then to top it off, the blatant sexuality ie: “I like your pants around your feet” and other metaphorical lyrics about oral sex conjure a prude reaction in the listener who then is forced to ask too many questions and doesn't want to know the answer or doesn't understand the answer. All of that combined creates the reflex opinion that “Nickelback are shit” or whatever.

A lot of the pop music these days, when you listen to it, is written and designed to take you to a place that isn't reality, take you away from that crap job or traffic or smelly guy on the train. Nickelback make you confront yourself. They stir up your own attempts of poetry, they remind you of the time you tried to learn guitar, they remind you of that period in your life where sex and booze and drugs were the important things. They remind you of you and a period in your life full of failure and regret.

The low-IQ-jock might not realise this, the silent majority who buy Nickelback albums without discerning might not realise this. The vocal minority who hate Nickelback should now know this; you don't hate Nickelback, you just hate yourself. Heck,they even wrote a song about you for you, This Is How You Remind Me. 

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