No, Nickelback is Not That Bad.

Post-grunge prodigies, Nickelback has had a long history of hate, but do you ever stop to think why they among the hundreds of less-than-stellar bands get all of the hate?

No, Nickelback is Not That Bad.

I would like to begin by saying that I do not LOVE Nickelback. “HOW YOU REMIND ME” is arguably the peak of 2000s post-grunge and “SAN QUITEN” has been a non-stop repeat for me since it came out recently, but by no means am I a Nickelback fanboy. However, I will say that I am a fan of all things 2000s alt-rock. The 2000s “dad rock” scene with your Linkin Parks and System Of A Downs got me into listening to music. It is easy to hate Nickelback, I mean it’s been a joke in the music world for longer than I’ve been alive, but when you listen to many of the similar bands of that time sometimes you have to wonder why this band out of many other radio-made and mediocre 2000s bands garner so much hate.

Many factors contributed to this fact. One is the commercializing of a dying genre. Nickelback released their first album just 2 years after the death of Nirvana’s frontman Kurt Cobain. When Nirvana went out of commission, no one knew what was to become the radio anomaly of grunge, but Nickelback held the answer.

You would think that this was great and that fans of grunge would be cheering them for being the saviors of the genre. There was but one problem: Comparing Nickelback to the other legendary grunge bands didn’t sit well with many. You have a genre with its roots deep in punk with dirty guitars and the gnarliest vocals, but then you have Nickelback. It seems that Nickelback wrote songs to become a commercial success, while many other grunge bands, like Nirvana or Alice In Chains, became commercial despite their music’s raw nature.

Once bands saw the amount of success that Nickelback had garnered playing their pop-ish take on grunge, many other bands like Seether and Puddle of Mudd came following after, hungry for success. Nickelback was seen basically as the birth of post-grunge; a genre hated by many for the same reasons. So what if their songs are made for radio play? Time and time again people like to complain that certain music is either too simple or too radio-friendly. I never understood why that is even an argument as to whether a song is good or not, all evidence goes to show that most people prefer simplicity or complexity. But this only applies to music snobs right? Surely that isn’t enough to convince the majority of the population that Nickelback is the bane of all humanity. Well, you would be correct.

The true birthplace of the Nickelback hate bandwagon was a panel comedy show called “Tough Crowd” with Colin Quinn. This show at the time was being pushed and constantly aired by Comedy Central. A promo that played often for the show discussed studies linking music with violent lyrics leading to violent behavior. One of the comedians on the show, Brian Posehn jokingly said “No one talks about the studies that show that bad music makes people violent, but listening to Nickelback makes me want to kill Nickelback.” This promo was aired repeatedly, and eventually, people just accepted that Nickelback was terrible. This was unfair to the band, a simple joke made from one person’s opinion could destroy the band’s reputation.

From this point, Nickelback just continued to become a burning dumpster in the eyes of the public, and the actions of Chad Kroger did not help. I’d say the fairest reason to not like Nickelback is the antics of the egotistical frontman. The man claims to have once paid the band’s run technician to put his “manhood” into an electric fan. And dear god Chad Kroger has to be one of the most obnoxious lyric writers ever.

All of the grunge bands before them like Soundgarden and Alice in Chains had very personal lyrics about depression, self-loathing, and any other personal problems they were going through. Meanwhile, in “Rockstar ” Chad Kroger pretty much represents all of the reasons that Nickelback is hated with his lyrics. The song is exactly what you would expect, a song about being or wanting to be a rockstar, for no other reason than to have money, sex, and drugs. No really, they say that “The girls come easy and the drugs come cheap” for rockstars, and that is the motivation for being rockstars. So Chad Kroger has given the band no room to even pretend that they aren’t a shallow band only playing for fame and money.
Are these viable reasons to hate the band? Well most of them are logical reasons that some people would dislike a band, and that is fine. Understand though that this band is SUPER hated to a degree no other band has been, there is no way that this band deserves to get bagged this hard. Especially when many bands that are universally loved by everyone commit the same crimes.

Let’s take Linkin Park, for example, everyone LOVES Linkin park. I will admit that I am very much a Linkin Park fan but many of their songs sound almost the same. In fact in some of their songs they use the same chord progression in the guitars. The rhythm guitar in “FAINT” and “FROM THE INSIDE ” sound suspiciously close. But the guitar melody changes very little, especially in the first two albums. Linkin Park is entirely carried by the synth and more so the vocals (like most popular bands, Nickelback included). And what about Guns N’ Roses? In terms of egotistical frontmen, Axl Rose pretty much takes the cake. The majority of modern pop and rap also have very obnoxious lyrics about drugs, money, and whatnot. I’m not trying to dog on these bands, but I’m just saying Nickelback doesn’t warrant any more hate than other bands that do the same things.

Is Nickelback the worst band of all time? No, Nickelback is not THAT bad. Is Nickelback just bad? Maybe, that is subjective. I will however say that they don’t deserve the over-exaggerated hate more than any other popular band that produces generic music for the radio. They may be a soulless corporation, but if the music still clicks with people, who cares? The fact that the singer is a douche doesn’t affect the music either, most frontmen end up having their egos inflated. Nickelback is a band that makes songs, not a significant band, but not the worst by any means.