I don’t know why, but Canada has a lot of things that I particularly don’t like. There’s hockey, which is almost as boring as soccer. Then there’s cold weather, which is my version of hell. And lastly is Nickelback, which oddly enough I did actually once like.
“Curb” and “The State” may have given Nickelback the key to achieving mainstream success, but “Silver Side Up” knocked the door down. A strong series of singles convinced more and more people to buy the album, leading to a staggering fifteen million in sales. It’s sad however that the following albums would pounce on the popularity of “Silver Side Up” by producing what seem half-hearted and recycled versions of this third album. Even though Nickelback wasn’t original in the first place they were still able to kick out the tunes. “Curb” and “The State” were solid, but didn’t have much appeal. “Silver Side Up” takes the solid writing of those two albums and added something that both lacked, catchiness.
starts everything off perfect. A rumbling bass line and catchy guitar riff are the prelude to what back then would have been surprising, singer Chad Kroeger being catchy. His voice wasn’t that impressive, if not monotonous on the bands first two albums. But now he’s fluid and extremely easy to get into. The emotion put into “Never Again”
is more serious and in-depth than any other song by Nickelback besides one other (which will be talked about). Chad takes the view of a small child who witnesses his father abusing his mom. “I hear her scream from down the hall-Amazing she can even walk at all-She cries to me, ‘go back to bed’-I’m terrified she’ll wind up dead in his hands-She’s just a woman, never again”
It’s a very painful song and gets progressively worse. “Just tell the nurse you slipped and fell-It starts to sting as it starts to swell-She looks at you, she wants the truth-It’s right out there in the waiting room with those hands-Lookin’ just as sweet as he can, never again”
Eventually it gets to the breaking point and actually has an ending unlike a lot of songs that go on, but don’t close out properly. “He’s drunk again, it’s time to fight-Same old ***, just on a different night-She grabs the gun, she’s had enough-Tonight she’ll find out how ***in’ tough is this man-Pulls the trigger as fast as she can, never again”
What’s easily the best song and shows real emotional hardship is “Too Bad”
. It’s about how Chad and Mike’s father left them with their mother when they were kids. “You left without saying goodbye, although I’m sure you tried-You call the house from time to time to make sure we’re alive-But you weren’t there when I needed you the most-And now I dream about it, and how it’s so bad-Father’s hands are lined with guilt from tearing us apart-Guess it worked out in the end, just look at where we are-We made it out, we still got clothing on our backs-and now I scream about it, and how it’s so bad, it’s so bad, it’s so bad”
The opening is the most memorable and slumbering (odd as it is say) part of “Silver Side Up”. The musicianship here is displayed perfectly. One thing that Nickelback isn’t credited enough for is Mike’s bass playing. He and drummer Ryan Vikedal intertwine flawlessly in the beginning and throughout the song, something that seems to come naturally all over “Silver Side Up”. Even the guitars make a name for themselves by both playing parts of a solo trading off from one headphone to the other creating for a really cool effect and then closing the song out with a short solo from one guitar. This may in fact be called one of the greatest songs of the last twenty years.
What a lot of Nickelback’s albums had a problem with is having a ton of filler, but “Silver Side Up” once again is the scholarly one of the group. “Hollywood”
would give the image that the band is just a bunch of southern kids. It’s heavy on the riffs with a distorted effect and Chad gives off a slight drawl at times with effects on the backup vocals. “Hangnail”
has the catchiest guitar riff of the whole album at the beginning and the switching from heavy to soft makes for fun times. “Good Times Gone”
closes out the record. The string attachment and acoustic guitar in the beginning and other parts provide a mellow feeling that is the perfect ending to the record. Some riffs on “Silver Side Up” may sound a lot a like at times, but there is enough material to warrant several listens. This is easily Nickelback’s best record by being half of their beginning selves and half their present selves. The band really had talent despite the hints of repetitiveness throughout and then only got worse by being even more repetitive.