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Blog: Why all the hate? A (qualified) defense of Nickelback
Nickelback took the stage during the halftime show between the Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers in Detroit Thanksgiving amidst boos and half-hearted applause. Nickelback is probably used to this type of reception by now. They once stormed off stage after being booed and having a rock thrown at them in Portugal.
At the risk of sounding like a snob, I'll say that I hated Nickelback before it was cool. When they first released the single "How You Remind Me" in August 2001, I thought it was a good rock song, and I still to. I thought their follow-up single, "Too Bad," released in February of the next year, was bland and sounded a little too much like their previous single.
It was their next single, "Never Again," released in July 2002, however, that struck a wrong chord with me. Not only was it another bland rock song that was indistinguishable from their earlier singles, I especially disliked the lyric: "Haven't you ever heard don't hit a lady? Kickin' your ass would be a pleasure." I was put off by Chad Kroeger's declaration to resolve violence with violence and the unintentional irony of the lyric's chauvinism.
Bashing Nickelback became mainstream, thanks largely, I think, to Brian Posehn's joke: "Listening to Nickelback doesn't make me want to kill myself. Listening to Nickelback makes me want to kill Nickelback," in response to a topic on music influencing teen suicide posed on Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn. At the time, I was glad to know I wasn't alone in hating the Canadian rock band.
Once Nickelback became the butt of more jokes, and people became embarrassed to listen to Nickelback, hatred of the band became more vocal. Nickelback bashers seemed to think that the corporatey music industry was forcing this bland crap down our throats. Every time I hear a new Nickelback song, like every time I hear a new Coldplay song, I have the distinct feeling that I've already heard it, mainly because it sounds too much like their previous work.
I understand why Nickelback was a poor choice for the halftime show during Thanksgiving's game. Why would we want a foreign band to perform at the most American game during the third most American holiday (behind the Fourth of July and Christmas)? Why didn't they pick one of Detroit's many worthy musicians to perform at the home game? But I think the crowd's response, and the level of hatred toward Nickelback in general, is a bit out of proportion to how much they actually suck.
And to be honest, some small part of me that can still feel empathy toward my fellow man actually made me feel a little bit sorry for Nickelback when they got booed. It's not like they got caught lip-syncing, like Ashlee Simpson, or did a God-awful performance, like Ashlee Simpson.
Hating Nickelback has pretty much become as cliché as a Nickelback song. Nickelback bashing now sounds like a broken record (which, ironically, is a complaint many people have after putting a Nickelback album in their CD player). With so many things to hate in the world, isn't it time to move on?