Monday, September 26, 2011

Nickelback - Bottom's Up

  I know this post might surprise some of you, considering that most of you know me as a "metal-head", but that's part of the reason why I've chosen to talk about Nickelback here. I want to explore the reasons why we all love or hate a particular band, or song, or style of music. Of course most of the reasons are completely subjective, a matter of personal taste, but lets talk about the specifics of why a song or a band or a singer may makes us cringe or give us goose bumps.

 We all have those bands that we can't stand, and others that we adore but our friends can't understand why. For me some of the bands I cannot listen to are The Tragically Hip, or Coldplay. On the other side, I like Paramore, Jimmy Eat World, and Nocturnal Rites, all bands that most of my friends don't like and can't figure out why I would.

 I find that what makes me like or dislike a song or band may change, for example I don't like Coldplay because I find their sound very depressing, and generally I don't like to listen to music that brings me down. However, I love Billy Holiday, and she is a "blue" as it gets. Maybe its my fascination with her tone of voice and her way of phrasing her parts that attracts me to her music. So its difficult for me to pinpoint what exactly makes me decide if I like something or not. Sometimes I may like a band's music but not their singer, and at times its ok and I can still put up with listening to their songs while ignoring the singing, but other times its bad enough that I cannot listen to them at all.

 With Nickelback there is the opinion that they are just one more of a mass-produced group of bands that just put out songs in a very formulaic way, with the sole purpose of getting more radio play and as many listeners as possible. I call it the "junk food" of music, everyone eats it up but its not very good for you. Although listening to the radio has never been bad for your health, and there are good songs on the radio. This "Bottoms Up" is a good example, I kind of like the song, its got a very catchy tune, aggressive guitars and drums, a ripping guitar solo, some great vocal harmonies, and it makes for a good party song. Its a good "snack" for your ears; I wouldn't put it on my iPod and listen to it all the time, but i wouldn't change it if it came up on the radio. Does that make me a Nickelback fan? not at all, everything else that I have listened to by them has not been of my taste, but I have to admit that probably part of my reasons for not liking them are simply that everyone else in the world does, and I like to fool myself and think I'm "different" from everyone else. So I tried this, I listened to the song without thinking who was playing it. If I had never heard of Nickelback, and I was hearing this song for the first time, would i like it? and the answer was yes, its a cool tune. A song is either good or bad, regardless of who's playing it. For me anyways. I'm still going to put on my Mars Volta and Mahavishnu Orchestra CDs.

 What do you guys think? what makes you hate, or love, Nickelback? or any other band for that matter.


  1. You know, I was going to write a whole long reply about how Nickelback sucks, how they're lowering the bar for musicianship, how they're driving kids AWAY from playing music, how they inspire nobody and how they've even cultivated their own little fiefdom of money-making minions (aka My Darkest Days).

    But I got about an hour into writing the response and realized I'm wasting my time fighting a fight that has already been lost. Rock and roll is already dead and there's nothing I can do about it. It will be Nickelbacks from here on in. There will not be another Hendrix, or Sabbath or Van Halen. There will be no band that comes on the radio and makes you gasp with delight and amazement. There will only be boring, second rate musicians dressed in black jeans playing songs that make no arm hair stand up.

    That's what we've had since 1994 and that's probably what we'll have for another few decades anyway. Thanks Nickelback fans!

  2. Well Andy, i know that the scene may look bleak, but i still find good new music out there. I think that the stuff on the radio is for sure mostly junk, but the good news is that bands now a days dont need the radio to make music. It only means to us that it might be a little bit harder to find good music, but i dont think rock is dead. Have you heard the Black Country Communion stuff? great! and if you check out the scene in Europe, man those people are still rocking out hard. Cheer up man, there's still good stuff despite of the assault from the bubble gum pop stuff.