Nickelback
Silver Side Up


3.5
great

Review

by Brendan Schroer CONTRIBUTOR (104 Reviews)
May 26th, 2015 | 17 replies


Release Date: 2001 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Just a well-written, fun slab of post-grunge... nothing less, nothing more.

There was once a time in which post-grunge was actually considered a worthy successor to its parent subgenre grunge. Artists like Foo Fighters, Collective Soul, and Alanis Morissette began this new sound on the right foot, retaining much of grunge's distortion and intensity while utilizing more accessible song structures in the process. Things certainly got more bland and generic during the 2000s with bands like Puddle of Mudd, Theory of a Deadman, and Seether leading the charge, but little did people expect the explosion in sales and overall popularity from another up-and-coming act. Hailing from Canada, they are known as Nickelback.

What many people don't know is that Nickelback actually started as a straight-up grunge band, their first few releases Hesher and Curb having a much more distorted and heavy sound than in their later work. Unfortunately, this material was a bit bland and uninteresting for its subgenre and frontman Chad Kroeger's highly recognizable vocal style wasn't fully developed by this point. But with each successive release, their songwriting got a bit more fleshed out and you could see glimpses of the worldwide phenomenon they would become in the 2000s. Well, despite their career lasting for 20 years, they've never quite been able to replicate the success of their 2001 album Silver Side Up.

Nickelback's third effort was a huge leap up from The State, both in quality and sales... and why shouldn't it" The album's smash hit "How You Remind Me" was not only an iconic track for the band, but it was that for a reason. The song really represents the band's finest work, being highly melodic and catchy without abandoning the stronger elements of their first two records. The mix of intensity and poppy polish was infectious; luckily, the album it accompanies is quite good as well. Unlike Nickelback's later work, Silver Side Up fully embraces its alternative metal sound with much smaller room for ballads. In fact, "How You Remind Me" is among the softest tracks on this record, with heavy bangers like opener "Never Again" and "Just For" being much more prominent here. The songwriting is extremely tight and highly varied in its dynamics, offering soft verses and loud choruses in a move similar to Nirvana's work on Nevermind; however, it's usually not to the point of sounding too derivative.

Either way, what makes Silver Side Up so strong largely stems from the heavier songs. The songs are not necessarily technical marvels by any means, but Nickelback make up for it with songwriting consistency and some of Chad Kroeger's best vocal performances to date. The latter is especially notable in songs like "Never Again" and "Hollywood" in which Kroeger's voice really soars in the choruses, a great contrast to his more subdued and laid-back verses; this is a common post-grunge technique, but works quite well this time around because of Kroeger's charisma and overall presence in these songs. But in the end, it all comes down to the craftsmanship of the songs. "Just For" is still my favorite on here because of that great syncopated main riff; the F-minor motif is so catchy, but retains a distorted quality to maintain its edge throughout. "Too Bad" is also fantastic, the loud and climactic chorus being a wonderful payoff following such emotive and subtle verses; plus, its lyrics of poverty and abandonment are some of the most touching in the band's career. Naturally, some of the weakest tracks on here are the ones that bring out the more generic side of post-grunge music; "Where Do I Hide" and "Hangnail" are definitely those songs, sounding more like Theory of a Deadman's flavorless leftovers (I can see why Chad Kroeger would eventually work with them on their debut) than songs Nickelback really put their hearts into.

In fact, the second half of Silver Side Up as a whole doesn't always live up to classics like "How You Remind Me" or "Just For." It starts to sound as though the band are on autopilot, something that would unfortunately plague their work more drastically in the future. Despite this, I still think it's a very enjoyable little piece of post-grunge history. Is it life-changing" Of course not. But the songwriting can be quite excellent at times and the variety can be surprisingly strong when considering how many mid-tempo alternative metal songs are here. Overall, I'd recommend at least one listen if you're curious about Nickelback's beginnings as a worldwide smash, because this is certainly them at their finest.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
idontcareaboutthis
May 26th 2015


952 Comments


solid review

trackbytrackreviews
May 26th 2015


3357 Comments


yeah

yeah

no no

ArsMoriendi
May 26th 2015


22720 Comments


You actually like "How you Remind Me" ? Ew I'm sadly surprised.

Digging: Yo La Tengo - I Can Hear the Heart Beating as One

chinesewhispers
May 26th 2015


4757 Comments


The song's not that bad tbh just really bland

ArsMoriendi
May 26th 2015


22720 Comments


I don't know man, Chad's double tracked voice is probably one of my least favorite things ever. I mean the music is okay/inoffensive, but those vocals are pretty cringy.

LepreCon
May 26th 2015


5447 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Always had a soft spot for this album, 'How You Remind Me' was pretty rockin to me as a 14-year old, back when I was also massively into Linkin Park, Slipknot and Marilyn Manson... except I still like those bands

Psynuts
May 26th 2015


373 Comments


man this is the album of my childhood, I loved it back then and tbh I still think it's a pretty decent album, but I'm afraid a lot of that has to do with nostalgia. Still without a doubt the best Nickelback album.

DrGonzo1937
Contributing Reviewer
May 26th 2015


14141 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Their strongest release to date, but it isn't hard really.

Digging: Our Place of Worship is Silence - With Inexorable Suffering

romulanrancor
May 26th 2015


7407 Comments


Only heard ''How You Remind Me''. I used to jam it in my first year of high school a lot.

PappyMason
May 26th 2015


5702 Comments


Solid review man, a good read. Pos'.

Angelboros
May 26th 2015


1350 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

"But the songwriting can be quite excellent at times and the variety can surprisingly strong"



Between "surprisingly" and "strong", you appear to have missed a "be" here. Beyond that, a nicely done review.

Digging: Kashee Opeiah - Panic In Solitude

nickswandotcom
May 26th 2015


30 Comments


I don't think anyone really "respected" Collective Soul and their ilk at the time but...
Album's not that bad for what it is. "How You Remind Me" has a good hook. Lyrics are terrible. Pretty much the best you're gonna get for a Nickelback album. No idea why they were chosen as the poster children to be made fun of 24/7 on the internet, but oh well.

Artuma
May 27th 2015


29356 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

"I think I might be one of the only people who didn't mention the worldwide hatred of this band in an entire review of one of their albums"



what an accomplishment. but yeah it's a terrible, terrible cliché

DrGonzo1937
Contributing Reviewer
May 27th 2015


14141 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Scores a tad harsh Artuma. I'd hate to think what you have their later albums at. haha

chinesewhispers
May 27th 2015


4757 Comments


Curb actually has a couple dece tracks iirc

DrGonzo1937
Contributing Reviewer
May 28th 2015


14141 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Dark Horse was serious bad.

SoccerRiot
Contributing Reviewer
March 22nd 2017


4990 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Still a sweet album

Digging: Little Dragon - Ritual



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