The University of Saskatchewan’s main campus is situated on Treaty 6 Territory and the Homeland of the Métis.

Dear Nickleback: an open letter to the third-best band to ever come out of Hanna, Alberta

By in Opinions

Brendan Kergin 
The Omega (Thompson Rivers University)

Chad Kroeger still celebrating his appointment as No. 5 on Spike TV’s ugliest Rock frontmen.
I’ve been able to bottle it up until now. It has been boiling in the background, but I put a lid on it and let it be.

But now — now you’ve done it. You have, once again, ended up nearly at the top of U.S. record sales. Sure, other Canadians have joined you in the Top 10 album sales spotlight — Bublé, Drake and Bieber to be specific.

Buble: Great guy, sap music; he’s a wash to me.

Drake: Don’t know him, and that’s enough.

Bieber? Inauthentic bubble-gum crap, but at least we know it.

But you, sirs, of the “our name is the grammatically incorrect way to give change to a customer” tribe, I take issue with. It’s not just that I dislike the music. It’s that the music is essentially wholesale copyright infringement. It’s all so similar, the only reason it’s not plagiarism is that you’re not willing to sue yourselves. It has all the sonic creativity of a muffler.

Okay, so you don’t intend to revolutionize the way music is played. No one is comparing you to, well, any worthwhile musician.

Your lyrics I find more offensive. They’re the WWE of poetry. Half are sappiness repackaged for testosterone-based life forms. The other half seem to be based on a half-dozen KISS songs. Playing Scrabble against you would be a joy, but would likely lack the mental stimulation of washing dishes.

But the thing that bothers me the most is that you exist. You are proof that marketing is more powerful than culture or taste. You project an idea of masculinity that is not only unhealthy for the individual, but also for society. You’re practically creating an army of unthinking clones who look at your lifestyle and agree that, “Sure, getting drunk off cheap corporate beer and watching guys fight on TV is probably what I want to achieve in my life.” You are seemingly run by marketing executives so morally bankrupt I bet tobacco lobbyists meet up with them to hear tales of the dark side.

And that’s where my anger lies. Not with the man-children up on stage, reliving fantasies of junior high. It’s the Nickelback that exists in the boardroom.

Adding insult to injury, you just booked a massive, 39-city North American tour for this spring and summer. You are still apparently relevant, what, 10 years after your only real hit? Since then it’s been a constant Ctrl+C, Ctrl+V on album after album.

So where does that leave us? I’m not sure about you, but I’m going to go listen to a three-year-old bang on a pot. Sure, it may not be produced to someone’s idea of sonic perfection, but at least it’s authentic.


Photo: Rock and Racehorses/flickr

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