"I came away from this with both more and less respect for Nickelback"
November 19, 2023 7:38 PM   Subscribe

Todd in the Shadows' Trainwreckords on Nickelback's 2014 album No Fixed Address, with some analysis on their hatedom, artistry and their gradual decline, leading to the baffling experiment that was well, this.
posted by Pachylad (37 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
I suppose this is one of those "somebody had to do it" videos.

Weirdly, I met some people recently who'd had some dealings with Nickelback. Turns out they're pretty nice guys, generous with their cash and that sort of stuff.
posted by philip-random at 11:15 PM on November 19 [2 favorites]

There was another video where the band noted that the hate really got started from... twitter being the dumpster fire it's always been. And then spread to the broader internet and pop culture in general. Then once the punchline got momentum nobody would let it go for like twenty years.
posted by howbigisthistextfield at 3:26 AM on November 20 [2 favorites]

There was another video where the band noted that the hate really got started from... twitter

That... that can't be true? I'm pretty sure by the mid-00's they'd already been the shorthand/punchline for crappy mainstream rock? A good deal before Twitter's ascent in the public sphere in 2009??
posted by Pachylad at 4:25 AM on November 20 [14 favorites]

In this Washington Post article, the initial spark is suggested to be comedian Brian Posehn: Nickelback knows you hate them, and they want to talk about it
posted by amk at 4:38 AM on November 20 [1 favorite]

A good deal before Twitter's ascent in the public sphere in 2009

Around 12:03 they talk about key points or milestones in the epic Nickelback hate: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ak6yi02i_Q8

Looks like it was Comedy Central not twitter. Huh. Chalk it up to a combination of a bad memory and anytime I see twitter move out of the corner of my eye I start throwing rocks at it and shouting. More of a defense mechanism than anything...
posted by howbigisthistextfield at 5:37 AM on November 20

There was a comment on here, I think, that had a really wonderful analysis of "How You Remind Me" and why it's so freaking catchy. I think the commenter called it a brilliant song presented in the most troglodyte-esque manner. I've tried looking for it but haven't managed to find it again. Anyway, super catchy song, guys; please get out of my head.

Edit: here it is!
posted by goatdog at 7:03 AM on November 20 [3 favorites]

I think we used to make fun of them at the Crossroads in World of Warcraft ... which kind of predates Twitter.
posted by JustSayNoDawg at 7:34 AM on November 20

Innuendo Studios' This is Phil Fish is an essential work that touches on Nickelback hate.
posted by a faded photo of their beloved at 7:48 AM on November 20 [1 favorite]

I was not expecting that video where they attempt to simultaneously impersonate Chromeo and Robin Thicke. Yikes.
posted by grumpybear69 at 7:55 AM on November 20 [3 favorites]

Sign noticed at a political rally in, say, 2017: TRUMP LIKES NICKELBACK
posted by kozad at 7:59 AM on November 20 [3 favorites]

I've never been a fan of Nickelback. However, they don't fall in the top ten of bands I hate the most. They're just like a lot of bands out there, bullshit pop music for people not interested in thinking.
posted by evilDoug at 8:01 AM on November 20 [3 favorites]

I'd listen to Nickleback all day before I'd listen to one Barenaked Ladies song.
posted by The Card Cheat at 8:07 AM on November 20 [2 favorites]

I have a soft spot for BNL by nature of spending the summer of '92 in the Navy and the only tape that everyone could agree to listen to was "the yellow tape" and when that wore out someone bought a copy of the just released "Gordon" and it lived in the tape deck in Barracks for the rest of the summer.

I have no happy memories of Nickelback and a bit of resentment from them because of some American friends who were convinced that Canada sucked musically because of them, Bryan Adams, and Celine Dion. No amount of introducing them to Sarah McLachlan, Rush, Sloan or Skinny Puppy or the literally hundreds of better Canadian bands could say them.
posted by cirhosis at 8:25 AM on November 20 [2 favorites]

having an unreasonable level of hate for nickelback is one of my litmus tests for how truly openminded someone's music taste is. it might not be for you but they are an undeniably tight and effective band (their radio singles at least, i haven't listened to much else personally). 50 million record sales is an impressive achievement no matter what.

and yeah, i was in elementary school in the 00s and i remember nickelback being used as a punchline. definitely not something that took off on twitter, although maybe it made it into the band's orbit via that method.
posted by Cpt. The Mango at 8:26 AM on November 20 [2 favorites]

I'd listen to Nickleback all day ONE WEEK before I'd listen to one Barenaked Ladies song.
posted by stevil at 8:37 AM on November 20 [17 favorites]

I've never been a fan of Nickelback. However, they don't fall in the top ten of bands I hate the most.

This has all been discussed to death, hence Todd’s observation that talking shit about Nickelback is itself passé at this point, but it was never really about then being an especially incompetent or actively unpleasant band. It was about them being the most prominent representatives of the post-post grunge rut that radio rock had got itself into.
posted by atoxyl at 9:07 AM on November 20 [3 favorites]

People hate Bryan Adams? I never knew this - he falls into roughly the same classification as Nickelback (for me): poppy music that's not bad, not great, not terribly creative, but not Gwen Stefani.

Whom I understand is apparently a very nice person, but I cannot forgive her for the It's My Life remake. You don't "fix" a song that ain't broke.
posted by JustSayNoDawg at 9:11 AM on November 20

They could definitely write a hook, they were just such a third-generation copy of rock authenticity (while racking up inescapable hits) that they were fun to make fun of.
posted by atoxyl at 9:11 AM on November 20

I'll never understand why people hate musicians for any reason other than being horrible people.
posted by charred husk at 9:17 AM on November 20 [3 favorites]

As a Canadian on the West Coast(Vancouver) Nickleback seemed inescapable at one point; official Canadian Culture had them everywhere. Generic, plodding riffs with inane lyrics and at one point it felt like they were just releasing the same damned song over and over. It was just too much.
As others here have pointed out it's not so much them as what they represent; the generic, dull music that rock and roll, at least on a mainstream commercial level, devolved into in the late 90s and early 2000s after the scattershot Alternative era, when a band like the Butthole Surfers could get into the mainstream, however briefly.
Here's another local band, now sadly defunct, that I honestly wish had the same commercial success; Nomeansno.
posted by Phlegmco(tm) at 10:11 AM on November 20 [5 favorites]

I'll never understand why people hate musicians for any reason other than being horrible people.

Generally I think the “hate” people have for bands is rather more lighthearted than genuine personal hatred.

(Nickelback did get rocks thrown at them but that was a “booked at a festival for the wrong kind of crowd and things went off the rails” sort of incident, as I understand)
posted by atoxyl at 11:24 AM on November 20

I'll never understand why people hate musicians for any reason other than being horrible people.

I think it's more a matter of fatigue. You hear a certain thing on the radio that you don't particularly care for, then you hear it again and again, even perhaps the grocery store. You can't get away from ... that sound... and it starts to feel kind of claustrophobic and exhausting. Maybe it even reminds you of some unpleasant people you've interacted with or some social situations you would rather have not been in and, whenever you hear it, you think about those things.

I totally agree that the pile on of hatred aimed at one specific band isn't cool. But I tend to see it as a convenient and poorly-thought-out way of saying "I'm tired of hearing this specific type of music everywhere, can the powers that be please change it?". When a band comes to exemplify the type of music that people are growing tired of, they can become an undeserved lighting rod for disdain and ridicule
posted by treepour at 11:50 AM on November 20 [3 favorites]

I'd listen to Nickleback all day before I'd listen to one Barenaked Ladies song.

I understand people feeling that way because, like Nickelback, BNL were inescapable but they are a great live band.
posted by Eikonaut at 12:03 PM on November 20

I actually kinda like Nickelback. I don't care if you hate me for it. Huge angsty singing has always amused the heck out of me (also see "It's Been Awhile" by Staind) and anyone singing THE PAIN!!! is ridiculous, but I enjoy it somehow? I'm perverse.

Anyway, I just can't get worked up on hating a band for its sound really. To paraphrase, you hate someone for being a dick, not just for, I dunno, not sounding good.

"It sounds like their only ambition was to get back on the radio." --well, that sounds like a reason...
posted by jenfullmoon at 12:19 PM on November 20 [3 favorites]

IMO this is kind of erasing the reasons why people disliked Nickelback: in a short period of time, they wrote two songs that hit all the same musical beats where all a guy had to do was slightly speed up/slow down two different songs and they matched up perfectly.
They wrote another song that sounds really domestic violency, they used an Amber Alert sound to summon a bunch of college girls to a concert in one of their videos, they wrote a song about being rock stars that was so humblebraggy Kardashians found it gauche. Everything they did was just so lazy and half-assed but they became big stars anyways.

People disliked Nickelback's music for a reason. The guys themselves might be alright. I don't know.
posted by The_Vegetables at 1:04 PM on November 20 [1 favorite]

"There's two kinds of music: the good kind, and the other kind." -Duke Ellington
posted by rhizome at 1:07 PM on November 20

Oh, I love "How I Remind You Of Someday!" That cracked me up too!
posted by jenfullmoon at 1:16 PM on November 20

I never bothered to learn which was Nickelback and which was Coldplay, but they sure sucked.
posted by aspersioncast at 2:34 PM on November 20 [2 favorites]

I've got a couple Nickelback songs on my phone. I can think of a couple others that were horribly overplayed, and never want to hear again. (How You Remind Me especially) I can think of plenty of acts that never turned out a single song I liked, let alone stuff I liked enough to put in my playlists or collections.

Hatred for Nickelback always struck me as one of those dumb, pointless "show me you're cool by giving this standard response" things more than any serious complaint. People act like they can't take you seriously if you like Nickelback, but I can't take you seriously if you hate them enough to make it an issue.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 2:37 PM on November 20 [1 favorite]

I unironically love Nickelback. I find them incredibly uplifting and fun to sing, whether at karaoke or just by myself. I've seen them live a few times, and loved each show - my voice really hoarse after the concert. I feel like they just bring "rock energy" to each song, and make me want to turn up the volume when they're on. I also feel like the hate had to be manufactured; it even seems like so many comments above can attest to enjoying some songs. Just fun rock music!
posted by Metro Gnome at 5:08 PM on November 20 [2 favorites]

In 2003, when I was 18, my roommate and I attempted to see a show every night of the week of spring break. Our options were limited because Portland didn’t have many all-ages venues even then. On Wednesday we saw Stephen Malkmus with Janet Weiss on drums. A transcendent show. On Thursday we saw Three Doors Down, Theory of a Deadman, and 30 Seconds to Mars. All three bands sounded exactly the same, and while none of them were Nickelback, and of them could have been. And that’s why we hated Nickelback.
posted by Just the one swan, actually at 6:00 PM on November 20

Also, the arguments laid out in the FPP are stupid and wrong. He gives them grief for trying something different, but OMG don't be different in that way. Or that way. The songs he's hating on are actually quite catchy, and you can probably talk yourself into hating anything if you try to overthink it like that, but that's not the point of their music. Each album has a song about drinking and partying with your friends, a song about angsting/regretting about being alone, a song about living life without regret, a song about healing the world, and a song about sex. Often more than one of each. That can get repetitive, but nevertheless he goes after the few songs that they changed the formula up. Honestly "She Keeps Me Up" (the funky little monkey song) is toe-tappingly catchy, and this guy dismisses it because, I quote "Nickelback is no fun".


When I saw them in Tokyo, there was a whole row of Japanese fans who got out coke bottles at that point in the song and waved them back and forth! It was great! The fun is the point! I can't believe a 32 minute video can miss the mark by that much.
posted by Metro Gnome at 11:56 PM on November 20 [1 favorite]

She Keeps Me Up

I have had this stuck in my head a little, after watching Todd's video, but it is the WORST produced song I've heard in ages. The production on it is so wrong, the clipped nature of it, the dryness, the no reverb, the non-disco, and ouch, back again I go to the lyrical content of "funky little monkey," which in the video, appears to be directed at a black woman.

Trying different styles with one song each is a flail. It abandons what people might have actually liked about you to try a trend that might yield another hit. It's generally somewhat cringe.

Todd is an awesome reviewer, and always is fair, in my book. He also knows his soft spots and favs, and admits where he might be mistaken. One of the best music reviewers in this day and age. Love him!
posted by tiny frying pan at 5:14 AM on November 21

I was into not hating Nickleback before it was cool.

In fact, for decades now I have gone on record as saying the Nickleback is the yardstick against which all music should be measured. Not because they are great - indeed they are so consistently average that they make the perfect standard measure.

In the same way the Big Mac index is useful to measure different economies, Nickleback can be used to calibrate any discussion on music. If I was to refer to a piece of music as rating one Nickleback (1Nb) we would all understand what I meant. This is not derogatory, a 1Nb song can be just as enjoyable as a Big Mac burger if you are hungry for what it offers.

By definition, all songs by Nickleback come in at 1Nb but that is be no means the bottom of the scale - I am sure we could all mention other songs that could be measured in milli-Nbs.
posted by AndrewStephens at 9:31 AM on November 21

we need a Rolling Stone listicle of 1000 most popular songs by their Nb rating, stat!
posted by supermedusa at 10:07 AM on November 21 [1 favorite]

Rural Alberta: a drunk jock is riding in the back of an RCMP cruiser after a bar fight. Nickelback comes on the radio. Both the mountie and the jock think to themselves: "alright, I love Nickelback."

This concludes my review of Nickelback.
posted by klanawa at 10:14 AM on November 21 [2 favorites]

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