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I know, I know. You see the word “Nickelback” in this title and you roll your eyes and maybe throw up in your mouth just a little bit, but swallow it back down because, deep down, you really want to know what the heck this band is up to because you’re secretly fascinated by them.
Well, let me tell you something. Nickelback is one of the top ten best selling bands of the last 50 years according to Billboard, beating out legends like The Who and Guns N Roses. As of 2017, they have released ten studio albums. If we hate them so much, why are we buying their crap?! Their song, “How You Remind Me,” was the top selling song of its decade. They have one of just 90 albums that are certified diamond. All the Right Reasons is 10x platinum! That is a whopping 10 MILLION units. Granted, I’m sure a lot of royalties were generated by that brilliant synchronization of their song “Rockstar” in that UK DFS furniture commercial we’ve all seen on Youtube whether we’ve wanted to or not. And, let’s face it, we will NEVER be able to get that image of that cowboy singing and strumming away in his underwear in Times Square in the music video.
So, why do we (the world collectively) actually hate Nickelback so much? Is it because the lead singer’s name is Chad? Is it because they hail from Canada? Or is it just because we’re all insecure with ourselves and need someone to bully?
There seems to be a general consensus among music consumers that Nickelback is just inauthentic and ingenuine. They are the definition of (furniture) commercial, and their music upholds a facade of living up to “post-grunge,” “alt-metal,” and “hard-rock” standards, when really, Chad Kroger is singing about the same thing Miley Cyrus sang about in her 2008 ~banger~ (ha!) “Party in the USA.” Chad just does it with a little more Canadian. I mean grit.
We already have our grunge babes, i.e. Nirvana, who actually brought something new to the table (radio?). Nickelback isn’t doing anything that hasn’t been done before. Nickelback is trying to be Nirvana, but has really just ended up as the source that inspired Nirvana’s angst: commercialism. There is nothing metal about being known for a furniture ad. THERE IS NOTHING METAL ABOUT BEING A SONG YOUR MOM-JEANS WEARING MOM SINGS TO ON THE RADIO WHILE SHE DRIVES HER SILVER MINIVAN TO SOCCER PRACTICE. They have been blasted by a critic who called them out for singing about drinking when they’ve never been seen drinking at a show. They are posers. They are fake. Kroger complains about his life not turning out as planned in "Rockstar" because he doesn't yet have a brand new house, a hot tub that can fit ten people, the key to the Playboy mansion, or eight bodyguards (which it seems he'll need after having to repeatedly stop shows to tell people to stop throwing nickels at the band on stage). Kroger is willing to "cut [his] hair and change [his] name" all to be a rockstar. It's no secret they are doing it for the commercial success. And while they may have earned that, their reputation has left them to be reduced to nothing more than the crocs of music. SO not metal.
It’s also just fun to be a part of the greatest pop culture troll ever. Also, some food for thought: where do you think their A&R is now?
Check out this hilarious parody of Nickelback's "Photograph."