They’re lyrical geniuses, y’all just won’t admit it
By Erin Stehler
How did humanity get to the point of bullying a bunch of men in their 40’s for enjoyment? I am far from saying Nickelback is within miles of anything other than my 2000’s emo playlist, but I disagree with the hate they get. Before I burst in with another unpopular opinion, do their voices sound good? No. However, I could never trust anybody who doesn’t know the words to either “Rockstar” or “Photograph.” They were literally the first songs I downloaded onto my iPod Shuffle in 2007 and I refuse to join in on tarnishing what’s left of their fragile reputation.
I asked several of my friends to give me their honest opinions of Nickelback (anonymously, of course, as I didn’t want to ruin their social lives). I received three answers: “their band name is bad, nickels are the worst American coin,” “idk who they are,” and “they’re not appreciated enough, ‘How You Remind Me’ still slaps”. For the purpose of this argument, I will focus on the latter.
In the early 2000’s, Nickelback gave us nothing but gold, and what did we give them in return? The look at this graph vine and a spot at the bottom of the social hierarchy. It’s not like they released songs that nobody liked; actually, they were pretty consistently in the top ten on the charts and many of their songs were at number one at some point. We can’t deny that their lyrics are genius. He really said “I’ll have the quesadilla, haha” in the middle of a song, and that song hit number 6 in the United States and number one in several other countries. Amazing. Iconic. Show stopping. Spectacular. We let Rihanna’s song, “Work,” top the charts for several weeks and I still don’t even know what she said. Yet here is Nickelback with such thought provoking lyrics as “what the hell is on Joey’s head?” I watched the “Photograph” music video, yet it is still unclear exactly what was on Joey’s head. Plus it was 2005, so we were all on cloud nine singing the word hell. Go and listen to a Nickelback song; we have all slept on their lyrics for all these years. This brings me back to my main point: Why Nickelback?
I have concluded that Nickelback’s hate comes from the same place as many fanbases– a bandwagon. People think it is cool to make fun of Nickelback. And to be fair, it is. We’ve all done it. I have a Bluetooth speaker in my shower and sometimes when my roommate is taking a shower, I’ll blast my playlist consisting of only Nickelback and Kahoot remixes. That’s how this whole thing started. I realized that I don’t hate Nickelback, I have just been told I should. I never seek out their music unless it is for a joke, but I would not be actively upset if it ever came on and would probably sing along. But why did we decide it was cool to hate Nickelback specifically? It seems so obscure. They are so completely average. I do not even remember them becoming a joke, but all of a sudden name- dropping them could get a good laugh in any situation. They were the best comparison for anything bad. They were literally used as a comparison for an unpopular voting rights provision on the floor of the House of Representatives. That’s not even the worst of it– several representatives began to debate the use of Nickelback in the comparison. They really talked for several minutes in a room full of arguably pretty important people about the social standing and talent of Nickelback. It was like Nickelback began the whole cancel culture but didn’t even do anything wrong. Yet y’all really let people like Chris Brown survive? In this climate? This is why all the bands of the early 2000’s are disappearing. Fear. What ever happened to the Black Eyed Peas, you ask? I mean other than Fergie of course. There were other peas besides Fergie, I think. They probably saw what happened to Nickelback and headed out before the internet could really rip apart “Imma Be.” I do not believe all of this ridicule is strictly because their voices sound bad. There are plenty of artists out there who sound bad and get half as much harassment.
I just think we should find a different, more problematic group to hate. I was going to give examples of some bands we could hate instead, but when I googled problematic bands, the first article to come up was called “Ten Bands Easier to Hate Than Nickelback,” so do with that what you will. Next time you hear a Nickelback joke, think about the average forty-year-old guys behind it. I’m not going to pretend to know any of their names, but I can still feel bad for them.
Image Source: Billboard.com.