Review Summary: Chad Kroeger continues to prove why he is one of the worst vocalists in radio rock.
Who would’ve thought that such a generic rock band could induce the hate that Nickelback receives? Yes, they are nothing more than Creed 2.0. Yes, they have no progression between albums. Yes, Chad Kroeger is an intensely annoying vocalist. However, many other rock radio bands are like this without such devotion to their destruction. Is it due to the fact that every song of theirs is on the radio, or the fact that they sell millions of copies more than your favorite band? Or is it because they are Canadian? These all seem like valid enough points to dislike something but not hate it. However, when it comes down to it, every time a radio station plays a song of theirs, steering wheels are punched, dogs punted, and redneck children shot with nail guns.
Maybe this band has just been so manufactured for the radio that it has become sickening beyond belief. “Someday”, for one, sounds like every single other ballad done for radio since Cinderella existed, complete with trite lyrics and boring instrumentals. The purpose of a ballad is usually to make you feel something: sadness, longing, nostalgia. A ballad shouldn’t just make you want to go to sleep. None of their ballads hold any water because they all kind of just blend together if you think about them.
Nickelback actually has the ability to write fun, punchy songs, they just don’t do it enough. Opener “Flat on the Floor” is a fast catchy song, and “Because of You” has a fast, fun guitar and very able drumming. One thing that has been noticed about Nickelback before is that their drummer (who left after this album) is actually very entertaining when he is allowed to be. He throws in more than a few interesting fills in the faster songs and he has talent in his footwork too, occasionally using those double bass pedals. The guitars in the faster, more fun songs have distortion that is oddly remiscient of Metallica’s St. Anger
, especially in the beginning to the song “Throw Yourself Away”, that was off-putting and took awhile to get past, in all honesty.
The worst part of this album, however, is Chad Kroeger. His voice has no bite, his lyrics are simple and trite, and he is about as badass as when Marvel came out with the X-Babies. Half of the songs on this cd would be interesting in the least if Chad Kroeger wasn’t belting out stupid lyric after stupid lyric, all the while his voice is cracking like some thirteen year old fighting pubescence. If somebody with range and talent were the lead singer then Nickelback would not be looked at with such distain. “See You at the Show” has interesting enough instrumentals, but is completely ruined by Kroeger’s vocal performance. Another thing is that the production makes his voice overpower everything, so any riff or interesting drumming is immediately overshadowed.
All in all, this album is so inoffensive and generic that it can’t be hated, just ignored. The two strong tracks previously mentioned keep this album from being completely worthless, but nothing can really save this band except songwriting lessons and a new lead singer. Nickelback has potential, musically, but until they decide that they want to be artists and play for themselves and not a paycheck and take some chances in their songwriting, then they will never be considered a passable rock band.