Review Summary: Nickelback's new album will do nothing to appease the people that have railed on them for the entirety of their career. However, it's a solid album from a band that has constantly been the target of unfair criticisms and opinions simply "because they're N7 of 7 thought this review was well written
No matter how hard I try, I cannot seem to decipher exactly why earth's musical snobs hate Nickelback so much. Each member of the band is fairly decent at their respective instrument, and while their songs may not be original or game-changing, their ballads are adequate and they have quite a number of solid hard rock tunes under their belt. To be honest, I'm a bit of a musical snob myself; I find myself taking jabs at Black Veil Brides any chance I get. So another question I end up asking myself is this; "Why do I like Nickelback?" It's certainly not for their originality, or their lyrical content. I like Nickelback simply because I don't take them seriously. When I listen to Nickelback, I don't do it because I want to analyze and break down every lyric, tempo change and time signature (which I'm confident is always 4/4), I do it because I want to listen to some big, goofy, crunchy rock music. That said, Nickelback's newest outing does absolutely nothing to change my views on them, but it's far from the waist-deep wade in pools of crap that so many make it out to be.
Nickelback has never been a band to make deep, emotionally purgative hard rock tracks. The majority of them just tend to be about sex and booze. Make no mistake, this has not changed in the slightest on Here and Now. Despite the majority of the album's heavy tracks containing same-y lyrical content, they change up the musical content enough to at least make each tune stick out in your head. For example, while "Midnight Queen" is a fast paced, energetic and to the point rocker, "Gotta Get Me Some" is a slow, chugging and groovier rock song that's a bit more subtle in it's delivery. Even though these songs are different musically, the same cannot be said lyrically; they're both typical lust driven Nickelback songs, and it's clear that they made no effort to change that. However, no Nickelback album would be complete without the meat and bones, legitimately heavy song. "This Means War" is that song. Although the song's lyrics discuss nothing more than just knocking the lights out of someone, the song's heavy riffs and bombastic drums do a decent job at pushing you to the ground and kicking you in the ding-a-ling. If Five Finger Death Punch made a song that sounded like Nickelback, this would be it.
Just like "Dark Horse", "All The Right Reasons", or "The Long Road", this album is brimming with emotional and sappy ballads. I would like to first off tip my hat to far and away the best ballad on the album, "Lullaby". The band weaves in and out of the tune with little piano pieces and an ambiance that seems vaguely Coldplay-ish, something I never really picked up from their ballads before. In addition to being a good song musically, the band easily saved the song by choosing to not make it about a relationship with a member of the opposite sex; instead, the song touches upon a much more sensitive subject. The song details a protagonists efforts to prevent a suicide, and Chad Kroeger and friends really did a good job fusing the emotional lyrical content and musical ambiance together. If this isn't the best ballad Nickelback has created, give it said title right this moment. The rest of the ballads, save the single, are typical lover inspired flare that we've heard them spew time and time again; "Trying Not To Love You" sounds eerily unoriginal and "Don't Ever Let it End" has almost a country twang to it that I could care less for.
Overall, Nickelback's new album will do nothing to appease the people that have railed on them for the entirety of their career. It will do nothing to change their musical style or stance in the rock music scene. However, it's a solid album from a band that has constantly been the target of unfair criticisms and opinions simply "because they're Nickelback".