Review Summary: If it Ain't broke, don't fix it - a fitting phrase for Nickelback, and works well in a standout work for 2011.
2005 came All the Right Reasons. 2008 came Dark Horse. And, following this three year pattern, in 2011, comes the new effort by Nickelback
, "Here and Now".
Just like bands such as AC/DC
, known for producing the same product repetitively, Nickelback has recieved large amounts of criticism for their repetition of the same sound, same themes and nearly identical albums. This is a recipe for a large number of haters, but also a recipe for a lot of loyal followers, and a lot of satisfied listeners, glad Nickelback, spearheaded by Chad Kroeger, isn't selling out to stay "savvy" with today's music.
I couldn't agree with these followers any less.
Hearing the new album, I was incredibly satisfied hearing the new, yet typical, Nickelback approach to Here and Now, and was pleased to hear the band has not lost any effort, enthusiasm or touch in what they do best. They march forward relentlessly, not regarding critics, haters or nay-sayers, and produce a rock record that feels like they are slipping on a comfy pair of familiar shoes. Throughout the record, Kroeger's raw vocals chant, sing and roar through each track, valiantly and with an eager sensation, as if he actually is living and experiencing the parties, sexual encounters, and politically/socially aware issues he is singing about. The rest of the members, Daniel Adair, Mike Kroeger and Ryan Peake all solidly assist in this march of sound, and produce 11 tracks that have you ensnared in a fist pumping, beer-drinking and even sometimes emotionally moved piece of music.
Right from the first two tracks ("This Means War", "Bottoms Up") the listener is pulled into the music and encouraged to headbang and party until they experience a non-alcohol induced hangover, with these openers being the typical rock tracks Nickelback open albums with. This in it's own is fantastic, as it provides those diehard fans exactly what they've been drooling with anticipation for.
Nickelback also reintroduce those globally aware pieces (When We Stand Together, the first single), your typical sex-themed songs (Midnight Queen, Gotta Get Me Some, Everything I Wanna Do), the in-your-face-Hollywood attitude (Kiss It Goodbye) and even focus on suicide in standout track "Lullaby". They then end the album in a nostalgic yet effective finale, "Don't Ever Let It End".
Yes, this is a typical Nickelback album, many of the tracks are numbered to match the styles of the last two albums, the same grunge and heavy drumming is present as always, and Kroeger's voice rips the microphone apart as always, but to the people that appreciate the style of the band, this is exactly what they want, and they'll be more than satisfied. It's because of this that Chad Kroeger is a lyrical and musical genius, not focusing on what outside opinion rants about, sneers at him and what negative reviews they publish; Kroeger is only satisfied by sticking true to Nickelback's style and pleasing the fans.. who of course are who Nickelback are doing it for when it comes to the crunch.
This integrity to the fans, the fun tongue-in-cheek of the album and the no-*** rock n roll makes Here and Now a standout record for 2011, and may even win Nickelback some new fans.
BEST TRACKS: "Bottom's Up", "When We Stand Together", "Lullaby", "Kiss It Goodbye"