Review Summary: Chapter IV of VIII: A Little Too Long
The year is 2001. Imagine a young Chad Kroeger, polarized by the massive success of his band's third studio album, Silver Side Up. With the record's lead single, "How You Remind Me" already certified gold, Kroeger wondered how he would maintain a steady balance between his music and his newfound fame. He ultimately came to the conclusion that in order to successfully accomplish this, he must shift his band's musical style to a far more radio oriented sound, in order to gain acceptance from a largely diverse group of musical fans worldwide. Thus, we have fourth studio album from the Canadian post-grunge act, The Long Road.
For the most part, the average music fan is pretty clear of understanding what all the fuss is with Nickelback. After all, they are, for the most part, a radio rock band. And we all know when bands like Nickelback get constant radio airplay, they get annoying fast. Hatred aside, I will admit this album isn't all that bad. The worst thing I can really say about it is that it is the tipping point in the band's career. The point where the band members lost any real interest in meaningful, occasionally emotional lyrical content and strong instrumentaion and made the decision to adapt to the mainstream rock scene. Not that there is anything wrong with mainstream rock music (Foo Fighters come to mind.) but the way most people see mainstream rock is that there are two directions to go in. One is a short, smooth blacktop to success and acclaim. The other is a long, winding highway descending into universal hate and mediocrity. Unfortunately, Nickelback chose the long road.
One of the few positives of the record is the drumming. Ryan Vikedal, the band's then drummer, was a very stylistic and energetic drummer and was crazy when he wanted to be and mellow when he had to be. There is also the guitar work, which shines the most on the opening track, "Flat On The Floor". It is short, fast, heavy, and to the point. The rhythm guitarist, Ryan Peake, shines on the track just as much as Chad does. It really is a shame he never gets a chance to do a solo. He's a pretty talented guy. Aside from instruments, we have the lyrical content. On some songs, most notably "Believe It Or Not" and "Because Of You" they stand out, but on songs like "Figured You Out" they are awkward to hear and even a bit cringeworthy. The aforementioned song is a notable track on the album, but for all the wrong reasons. It is notable for being the first "co¢k rock" song ever written by the band. And we all know what that kind of music sounds like. (I'm looking at you, Buckcherry.) It's lyrics sound like a Disney pop song compared to some of they're later work, such as "S.E.X." They still are not very pleasing, though.
A huge negative of the album is the production. The band, along with longtime collaborator Joey Moi (producer of acts such as Florida-Georgia Line and Theory Of A Deadman) produced this album. The thing that makes it bad is that, while the album as a whole doesn't necesarily sound bad, it just comes off as way too over-produced and polished. It almost makes it sound like the band didn't even play they're instruments, and the guitars and drums are just made with GarageBand or something. It likely won't sit well with most rock fans.
There is also a lack of variety. Remember that "How You Remind Me Of Someday" meme, where the songs "How You Remind Me" and "Someday" were played back to back and sounded almost exactly the same? Well, scratch that, because the song "Do This Anymore" sounds much more like How You Remind Me, both instrumentation and lyrical wise, than Someday does. Listen to it and see for yourself. The opening riff of the track "Throw Yourself Away" also bears a striking resemblance to that of Metallica's "The Unnamed Feeling". But that dosen't mean they ripped it off, because other than the first few seconds, these two songs sound nothing alike. Some other same sounding songs include "Flat On The Floor" and "Because Of You" and "Figured You Out" and "Should've Listened".
Out of all this LP's 11 tracks, not even half of them are actually something new, original or somewhat redeemable. Ignore this if you can, even though it has a few pro's to it. Trust me, you will be dissapointed. After nearly 20 years, I have to ask; Where the good times gone?
Flat On The Floor
Believe It Or Not