I think it’s safe to say that every single person in the world hates Nickelback. Over 50,000 people signed a petition to remove them as the half-time performance for a Detroit Lions game back in 2011. The popular “Shit Nobody Says” video opens with “Hey, can I borrow a copy of your Nickelback CD?” It’s just not cool to like Nickelback. But…dare I ask…why?
Don’t get me wrong — I don’t like Nickelback at all. I swear. No seriously, I don’t. Please believe me! But I do wonder why I am currently begging the internet not to think I like Nickelback. What about them is so bad? At first I just hopped on the anti-Nickelback bandwagon because I thought their music was mildly annoying and I found the lead singer’s pedosmile/goatee combo unacceptable. But then I realized there are tons of “artists” with unacceptable facial hair (I’m looking at you, AJ McLean) and even more with no talent to speak of.
So I present to you, from a person who seriously is not a Nickelback fan (I mean it, you guys), an examination of Why People Hate Nickelback:
Their music sucks.
I’ll go for the most obvious one first. If you ever dislike a singer or band, it’s most likely because you dislike their music. I’ve heard a few Nickelback songs in my day, and I will agree: their music sucks massive ass. I’ll never be the same after listening to “Something in Your Mouth,” and the irony of their commercially acclaimed “Rockstar” is not lost on me.
But then again, pretty much all music these days is bad. Take Justin Bieber, for example. His first hit, “Baby,” features the line “She had me going crazy, oh I was starstruck/She woke me up daily, don’t need no Starbucks.” Then there’s Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe.” This has to be the closest thing to an objectively bad song we can get (if you live in a world devoid of Sisqo, that is). And yet, it’s simultaneously the catchiest song I’ve ever heard in my life. And I’m not embarrassed to admit that I can’t get through the song without sassily holding my hand up to my ear as if it’s a phone. I’m not embarrassed that I get pretty dang excited every time the Biebs comes on the radio. I’ll admit it.
But Nickelback? NO. I couldn’t live with myself if their songs brought me joy. Could that mean they’re worse than Justin Bieber and Carly Rae Jepsen? What about Owl City, or dare I say Soulja Boy? At least Nickelback plays instruments, right? As far as talent goes, there’s no way they’re actually worse than all the other tripe they play on the radio these days. Thus, I will argue that Nickelback’s mass non-appeal transcends the very music that made them famous.
But really, “Photograph” sucks.
When I think about why this song especially sucks, I get so irate that I can’t even type coherently. The lyrics read like terrible poetry written in sophomore English class, the melody is grating, and Chad Kroeger’s constipated yelling voice is severely mismatched with lyrics like “Kim’s the first girl I kissed/I was so nervous that I nearly missed.” Why does he need to yell when he fondly remembers his first kiss? Shouldn’t he deliver this line with a carefree chuckle and a nostalgic shake of his head/luscious locks?
Yet this song peaked at #2 on the American Billboard charts, and it managed to stay at #1 for seven weeks in Canada. So clearly this song doesn’t actually suck, and it can’t be the reason everyone hates Nickelback.
Chad Kroeger looks like a rapist.
I already talked about his facial hair, but I think it bears repeating. His goatee looks like even it’s embarrassed to be stuck to his chin, and his mustache is in second place for worst facial hair ever (trailing slightly behind his goatee). His hair, reminiscent of terrible 90s perm/bleach combos, billows salaciously at the slightest breeze. And his face is fixed in an expression that just reeks of “hey little girl, want to see the inside of my van?” But that can’t be the reason everyone hates Nickelback either. For starters, there are other members in the band who don’t look like rapists; they might even be bangable if they weren’t part of Nickelback. Second of all, people don’t dislike the musical stylings of Michael Jackson, Amy Winehouse, Elton John, Skrillex, Gary LeVox, Steven Tyler, or Susan Boyle (at least not with the same ferocity) and they’re all just as bad looking. A few even look like rapists. So Chad’s looks, as bad as they are, also can’t be the reason Nickelback sucks.
Everyone seems to hate Canada, for reasons I also don’t fully understand. But South Parkimplores me to blame Canada, and blame them I will! Then again, this theory doesn’t hold up either because there are lots of Canadian musical acts I wouldn’t be embarrassed to like. I’m not talking about Avril Lavigne. Probably not Celine Dion or Sum 41 either. But people seem to like Neil Young, right? And Rush? They’re Canadian too. So are Joni Mitchell, Feist, Alanis Morissette, and Barenaked Ladies. While Canada has produced a lot of crappy celebrities, it can’t be the sole cause of Nickelback-level hatred.
I can think of a few other reasons people might take out their frustrations on Nickelback (they killed the rock genre, they’re too mainstream, all of their songs sound the same, people don’t like the name Chad…) but none of them seem to be reason enough to make Nickelback as infamously terrible as they are. Either I don’t know enough about musical theory to fully appreciate how atrocious Nickelback is, or their unpopularity really is an enigma, an unsolved mystery that only John Walsh or Chris Hansen could solve.
Never mind, I just listened to “Photograph” again.
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