The Mezunian

Die Positivität ist das Opium des Volkes, aber der Spott ist das Opium der Verrückten

It’s Finally Time for Nostalgic Novelty Noughty Nickelback

Yup, you knew ’twas coming — just like how Chad Kroeger’s cumming on his girlfriend’s dress, leaving white stains ( seriously, that’s a line in 1 o’ the songs we’ll be looking @ ). I need not introduce the 1, the only. Unlike Papa Roach or Breaking Benjamin, who are most forgotten outside the realm o’ SiIvaGunner rips ( & I still haven’t heard any Breaking Benjamin there, which needs to be remedied ), Nickelback is the most cliché punchline for “bad music” round. ¿So why am I covering them, when this series focuses on underrated gems? Well, I have 2 reasons, & they revolve round the album I’ll be looking into.

Your 1st expectation when seeing that I’ll be looking @ Nickelback is that the album I’ll be looking @ is All the Right Reasons, with such infamous meme songs as “If Everyone Cared”, a cheesy ballad ’bout how nobody will die if e’eryone cried & nobody lied & anyone tried; “Rockstar”; & the 1, the only, “Look @ this graph”:

I will not be looking @ this album: this is well-tread territory by this point. Nor will I be looking @ their 1st breakthru album in the US, “Silver-Side Up”, with its catchy breakout hit, “How You Remind Me”. But if you want, some guy on YouTube critiqued that album. ( Spoiler: he thinks it’s boring ).

No, the album I’ll be looking @ is “The Long Road”, which, according to memes, is the 1 e’eryone forgets, but is the 1 that introduced me to this band as a li’l kid, before I had heard o’ all the memes ’bout the band — in fact, before those memes e’en existed, as “All the Right Reasons” hadn’t come out yet — & while I was still blissfully ignorant o’ such things as music criticism. & as an innocent kid, my opinion o’ this album was… I thought ’twas all right. Honestly, when I 1st encountered the meme ’bout Nickelback being the worst band e’er, I was always bewildered, not ’cause I thought they were good, but ’cause I was surprised anyone could feel any passion for the band, e’en hatred. ( Also, I knew much worse bands that have been forgotten by this point, like Puddle of Mudd & Theory of a Dead Man ).

1. Flat On the Floor

As a kid I always skipped this 1. I’m not sure why: most people I’ve heard talk ’bout this song list it as 1 o’ their better songs, since it’s loud & fast-paced, clocking in only 2 minutes, with verses & choruses that last ’bout 10 seconds each.

Grade: C

2. Do This Anymore

This was always my favorite track, ’cause I always liked the spooky opening with the “Woooooo” with the squeaky noises ’hind it, backed with gradually rising trainlike chugs ( which is fitting, since the 1st line is talking ’bout being on a train ). Honestly, this song is full o’ weird noises that may be made with an actual guitar, but is probably made with a computer. That obviously puts this song on the same level as “Paranoid Android”.

Grade: B

3. Someday

This song, which I think was the big single ( I don’t think I e’er heard a song from “The Long Road” on the radio ), is sort o’ a meme in that it s’posedly sounds just like “How You Remind Me” & someone made a mash-up to “prove” it. Personally, I ne’er made the connection myself, & if mash-ups prove anything, then clearly Shaggy’s “It Wasn’t Me” & Train’s “Drops of Jupiter” are the same song.

I think I liked this song as a kid, but it hasn’t aged as well for me as “Do This Anymore”. I tended to be fine with Chad’s screechy voice, but e’en I kind o’ cringe when he sings, “Now that since we’re here anyyyyywayyyyy”. I also find the chorus to be way too bombastic with way too much jingling pop noise, with the twinkly notes & the weird extra voices that might just be Chad’s voice warped by computers in the background. It just sounds like fuzz.

I also find the line, “now the story’s played out like this, just like a paperback novel”, perplexing. ¿Why a paperback novel, & not a hardcover? I guess he means an airport novel: a cheap thriller, rather than literary fiction. But both literary & genre fiction come in both forms: e’ery copy o’ Ulysses I own ( & I own a’least 3, including the infamous Gabler version ) is a paperback, while I have hardcover collections o’ James Bond novels.

That being said, “I wish you’d unclench your fists and unpack your suitcase” isn’t a bad line…

Grade: D

4. Believe It Or Not

I like this song’s main riff, but the lyrics are repetitive fortune-cookie shit, repeating the phrase, “Believe it or not, [insert “hang in there” poster line]”. & I, in actual fact, don’t believe that e’eryone “believe [sic] in something above”, since I know atheists exist. It’s like a weaker “If Everyone Cared”, which a’least had the cheesy inspirational music to fit. This song’s grimy music doesn’t fit @ all.

But that’s OK, ’cause after the 2nd chorus, the riff suddenly drops, & we get some acoustic noodling that sounds both bland & incoherent while the singer continues the same refrains.

Grade: D

5. Feelin’ Way Too Damn Good

This song has stronger verses than the chorus: they have a kind o’ jazziness to them. Also, as cheap as it is, I like that weird bass note ’tween the 1st 2 verses. The chorus, meanwhile, is OK, with the only notable part being when Chad goes “¡OW!” @ the end like he’s orgasming.

Honestly, the best part o’ this song is the part where the attendant announces boarding for a flight to Los Angeles round the bridge.

Grade: C

6. Because Of You

I completely forgot this song existed, & I have a sneaking suspicion I will forgot it ’gain after I’m done with this article.

I guess the 1 thing o’ note is how perplexing the lyrics are. Most o’ it seems to be ’bout someone dying in the hospital, but then we get these lyrics:

now that you did this, you ask for forgiveness
doctor, ¿could you be my priest?
you say you’re mistaken, but look what you’ve taken
you laugh as you lie through your teeth

¿Is the singer implying that this person is killing themself just to spite the singer?

For the record, Genius currently has no annotations for any o’ these songs.

¿Is it me, or do the drums @ the beginning o’ this song sound like Lars Ulrich’s infamous trash can drums in St. Anger ( which I like, by the way — which goes to show how low my standards for music are )?

Grade: C

7. Figured You Out

O’ all the songs on this album, this is the biggest meme song, thanks to the big opening line, “I like the pants around your feet”, which spawned the brilliant DJ Cumberbund remix, “Pantsfeet”.

As a kid I always hated this song ’cause it’s gross, but now I kind o’ respect it a bit mo’ for it, specially with how detailed it is. For a band that’s notorious for being cheesy & boring, I don’t know a lot o’ boring bands who would write the line “I like the white stains on your dress” or talking ’bout freckles on his lover’s chest or dirt on his lover’s knees — tho, I ne’er understood why she has dirt on her knees. ¿Are they fucking outside on the grass?

The negging phrase “you’re my favorite disease” was copied by other buttrockers nobody remembers anymo’, like Rev Theory, but it’s possible Nickelback took the phrase from Saliva — tho they used it in a mo’ negative way — mo’ a toxic relationship than kinky sex… ¿I think? Honestly, that song’s chorus & verses don’t match @ all: he’s bragrapping the verses ’bout how he smokes a lot o’ weed & killin’ all the competition, but then sings ’bout how sad he is in the chorus & bridge.

Basically, what I’m saying is, this song is a worse Saliva song.

Actually, looking @ the rare Genius annotation for this song, this song may be ’bout what Saliva’s choruses are ’bout:

Chad Kroeger about the meaning of Figured You Out:

Sometimes you get into a little fling and you think you know the person, and the next thing you know, you’re dating a cokehead who’s interwoven into some underground drug world with Hell’s Angels and movie stars and models and you’re like, “What the @#%$ am I doing?

The song starts off like most relationships do; very physically oriented. And then you start discovering things about the person you’re with it’s like ‘’‘OK, I don’t like that about you, or that, or that……OK, now the only thing we have on common is we have great sex so there’s no point in us being together.

¿How the hell does this come from “I like the white stains on your dress”? ¿Is it sarcastic? The meaty, Fred-Flintstone way Chad says it doesn’t fit. ¿Maybe it’s like Stone Temple Pilot’s “Sex Type Thing” — a much, much better song — & is an ironic depiction o’ the kind o’ meatheat who would say something like this?

Grade: B

8. Should’ve Listened

This was, weirdly, 1 o’ my favorite songs as a kid. I’m not sure why: it’s pretty hokey, specially with the “la, la, la”s in the background during the chorus & the jangling guitar work thruout. I do like the sensory details ’bout what a shitheap the singer’s exgirlfriend left his place in before she left dodge.

But what I love most is the Genius annotation:

This is song is about an utter moron who expects anyone listening to sympathize with him for deliberately using his own house as a place to party and now it’s destroyed and is a mess. Which is his fault.

Wait, ¿what party? There’s no mention o’ a party in this song. The implication, specially with lines like “why’d she take both sets of keys”, is that his now-ex-girlfriend trashed the place before she left. I mean, that is an interesting interpolation: that the singer’s being vague ’bout what caused his place to be trashed & mentions the 1 thing his ex did, take the keys, to imply that she caused the rest, while leaving out the whole party angle. I can’t imagine someone whining for pity would choose to bring up a party going on. Also, since the singer can’t remember much, he probably did get plastered. I always took it that ’twas his alcoholism that caused her to leave, not a bitchin’ party going on.

This man (the narrator of the song) was not abused sexually or physically nor did he have any harm inflicted on him, he is some foolish frat guy who wants you to feel sorry for his stupidity.

¿Where the fuck did this come from? ¿Who’s implying this? ¿& how do we know nothing happened to him? He certainly wouldn’t know — he’s too drunk to remember anything.

But Nickelback fans are dumb enough to think Chad Kroeger wailing really pathetically (after being “manly” bragging about raping an inebriated woman in the song just before this one Figured You Out”, of course) means this song must about something serious.

Damn, this is the 1st Genius annotation I’ve read that just straight roasts the song ( & the previous song ) & the band. ¿Are there seriously Nickelback fans who think this song is ’bout a man who got date raped? ¿Why do I have a feeling this is a retort gainst some men’s rights activist using this song as a rallying cry gainst “those hoes” that I haven’t read?

I cannot be [sic] believe to this day, that I was told by someone on RYM who “demanded that Dark Horse in it’s entirety be played on the radio, because it was “so good” […]

You’re right, I can’t believe that, either: that album fucking sucks, & this is coming from someone saying nice things ’bout fucking The Long Road. That album, by the way, which probably ended Nickelback’s towering height after All the Right Reasons, is the 1 whose lead single was “Something In Your Mouth”, ’bout how someone would “look better with something in your mouth”. It, in fact, makes things come out o’ my mouth.

Obviously the person who told this is a serious “song”, also said that “Hip hop music and culture as whole supports and condones rape and is “degenerate” and also that everyone who oppose the genocide of Palestinians is a “angry muslim who is upset that “the gays” aren’t being hung”, so it’s not exactly coming from a very intelligent person.

( Laughs ). ¿What the fuck? God damn it, I can’t e’en ’scape people giving their ill-informed hot takes on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in a Nickelback review?

And also this is the early 2000s we’re talking about, Korn got radio play despite graphic song lyrics and subject matters for their songs and they still got radio play. I bet this song wouldn’t even be censored, that is how easy it is for this song to get radio play.

I love how this “annotation” just completely goes off the rails from trying to ’splain the meaning o’ this song & just argues gainst some mysterious opinions from somewhere on the internet ’bout how this song isn’t too hot for the radio. Here’s an experiment for you: take these comments I made here for this review, but remove all the quotes o’ the review itself. Incomprehensible, ¿right? That’s how I feel reading the 1 side o’ this conversation.

If I may be devil’s advocate, I don’t think the song is advocating for viewing the protagonist as an innocent hero & the ex-girlfriend as a trifling ho: lines like, “a little trick I picked up from my father: in one ear and out the other”, imply that, in fact, the protagonist is to blame. It seems this reviewer, like a stereotypical /r/badreads candidate, cannot comprehend a protagonist who isn’t morally white by the composer’s morality.

I can’t believe I just wrote a multi-paragraph treatise on a fucking Nickelback song. Clearly this means that The Long Road is just as much a complex, woven tapestry as OK Computer & the heartbreak, sundering relationship, disarray, & chaos o’ this song represents the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Grade: 🧐

9. Throw Yourself Away

So, I always thought this song was a hokey morality play ’bout someone who gets pregnant in high school. But reading the Genius annotation & reading the lyrics mo’ deeply, — something I ne’er thought I’d do for a Nickelback song, but here we are — it’s a hokey morality play ’bout a real-life event where a high school student… ¿gave birth in the bathroom during prom & throws the baby into the trash, for which she gets caught & sentenced for manslaughter? ¿What the fuck? This is such a rare, absurd situation, but Chad treats it with such straightfaced outrage that it’s ridiculous. ¿Was Chad’s hope to end this epidemic o’ throwing babies in prom trash cans? ¿Was he hoping that the baby-trasher would hear this song on the radio & feel such deep guilt that great rock gods Nickelback talks bad ’bout her? ¿What’s the point o’ this song? ¿Were there not mo’ pervasive problems in the world for which to write a protest song? This is a far fall from “Should’ve Listened”’s bold protest gainst Israel’s genocide o’ Palestinians — ¿or was it protesting the protests? I already forgot.

As for the song itself, it sounds like shit.

Grade: F

10. Another Hole in the Head

No, you can’t follow a song ’bout a high school student who gives birth in the bathroom during prom & throws the baby into the trash with a generic breakup song.

Like, uh… ( checks back ) “Feeling Way Too Damn Good”, I like the verses better than the chorus, with the jazzy notes @ the beginning, while the chorus is just generic riffing & shouting that isn’t all that loud.

Grade: C

11. See You At the Show

¿Is it me or has Nickelback been gradually transforming from a mediocre post-grunge rock band to an increasingly shitty country band as this album goes on? It starts with “Should’ve Listened”, with its hokey story o’ drunken breakups & Israeli genocide gainst Palestinians, & then culminates in this song, which is just fucking awful. The way this fucking Canadian drawls e’ery word in this sing-song fashion with this novelty-shop southern accent makes me want to puke. “Cotton-Eye Joe” has mo’ dignity to it. Also, the way he says “till we burn it down” always sounded like “till we’re in bunny town” to me as a kid, which I always thought was stupid, but is mo’ interesting than describing casual acts o’ terrorism.

Grade: F

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Posted in Nostalgic Novelty Noughties Nu-Metal