Nickelback never seize to amaze me. Their music has been so universally disliked, and so representative of a larger, more sinister beast (the mainstream music listener) that I find their longevity shocking but also oddly acceptable. There are a lot of bands like Nickelback that could be pinpointed, but Nickelback insist on continuing to make music, so why they sort of asked for it.
I tried to come into this review as objective as physically possible, trying my hardest to keep back my distant memories of the awful hooks in songs likeThis is How You Remind Me and Animal (and Photograph and Something in Your Mouth and etc etc etc) and I believe I did a really solid job. With that said, Nickelback’s new full length Here and Now is only slightly better than I expected.
That’s not to say that this is a good album by any stretch of the imagination, as the Nickelback formula is still very much, almost comically intact. But there are few brief glimpses of legitimate quality song-writing here. When We Stand Together begins with a comfortable little acoustic lick, and barely carries that through the song. It remains a forgettable, albeit tolerable little track stuck between drival. Lullaby is another rather somber tune that is surprisingly poignant, and probably the best song on the album. But Nickelback attempts that terrible cliche-ridden riffage, as witnessed onMidnight Queen, that sounds like Guns N Roses meets umm…awful radio rock and roll. Gotta Get Me Some has some of the worst lyrics I’ve ever heard from the group. Nickelback’s inability to change in almost capacity is not just frustrating, but anger-inducing. Though, they did make a pretty album cover this time around, probably the most objectively high-quality aspect of this entire project.
Nickelback is formula driven rock and roll to its very heart and soul. There is an ingrained chemical formula to their music, that one can break down with no effort. They begin with an intro riff, break it down for the verse, and bring everything back with an overtly and ambiguous chorus until they run it to the ground. Their melodramatic bullshit is still coursing through every chord, and it tired back in 2005. Here it’s just disturbing. Though their skills are slightly better at the soft drama, Nickelback’s continuous effort to stay exactly who they are in almost every conceivable way is frustrating and obnoxious to the mass of music fans. I don’t want to say that Nickelback’s song crafting is terrible, because that’s unfair. But it does condone to a specific bottom barrel lowest common denominator aspect. It’s by no means trivial, but it is one of the eclipsing evils of music that is hard to ignore. As long as Nickelback keeps vomiting on record, we can have something to hate. Regardless, even Nickelback fans should be tired of this one trick pony running their so called “hooks” into the ground over and over again.