Nickelback - Here And Now Review

Maybe it’s time for Chad Kroeger’s boys to step aside and let the new guard take the throne...

rating: 2

Let€™s be honest, if you€™re reading this review, you know what this album sounds like. It€™s Nickelback. Canada€™s biggest export have been churning out stadium rock hit after hit for the past ten years, and as the saying goes, if it ain€™t broke, don€™t fix it. Before I properly start this review, I should say that I don€™t hate Nickelback. I genuinely enjoyed 2003€™s The Long Road, and All The Right Reasons and Dark Horse both had decent tracks on them. Here And Now, the band€™s seventh album is no different, the music isn€™t necessarily bad, but it isn€™t exactly good either. The greatest compliment I could probably give it is that it€™s very Nickelback. Album opener This Is War is a heavy number, which you could easily imagine being the backing music to a WWE montage video, with its stomping intro riff and Chad Kroeger€™s unmistakable voice shouting over the top of it. I think this is one of Nickelback€™s problems; Kroeger€™s voice has no variety to it, which really limits the range of music the band can create. Track two, Bottoms Up is a typical Nickelback drinking song, much in the same vein as Burn It To The Ground from their last album, but far less catchy and with a worse riff. The old stereotype of all Nickelback songs sounding the same isn€™t really broken on this album, as there are a number of tracks on Here And Now which sound like they€™ve already been made at least two or three times before, due to the repetitive riffs, song structures and lyrics that Nickelback have made their trademark. There is an argument to be made that this familiarity is actually one of the albums strong points though. Imagine If Nickelback had released an 80 minute prog rock epic? Imagine Chad Kroeger singing about dragons and warriors instead of strippers and beer? Nickelback aren€™t a mature band, which makes tracks such as lead single When We Stand Together hard to take seriously, it just doesn€™t sound right for a band who write lyrics about having sex whilst driving a car to sing about saving the world. Nickelback are a band you listen to when you want to break the speed limit to some dumb-natured American rock music, and Nickelback have got the genre down to a formula. Then again, this is also my biggest gripe with them. Rock and roll isn€™t about formulas. Rock and roll is about taking risks, pushing the boundaries, not being satisfied with releasing the same album seven times in a row. With Nickelback, it feels like there€™s no soul in the music, it is the best example of how corporate rock music can be. Even their €˜risqu這 songs (Midnight Queen contains the lyric €˜she€™s gonna lick my pistol clean€™) could be seen as tame when placed next to chart toppers from the likes of Rhianna (S&M, anyone?), and it€™s a sad day when rock music is being less controversial than Rhianna. There is little else to really be said about this album. It€™s boring. It€™s repetitive. Some of the songs are so beige it€™s almost painful, Lullaby in particular is aptly named, it, along with the rest of the ballad tracks, are completely unrecognisable from each other, and all just come off as lesser versions of 2002 world destroying hit How You Remind Me. At the latter end of the album, it becomes difficult to tell where one track ends and the next begins if you€™re not giving it your full attention. The saddest thing about Here And Now is that in 2011, there are a huge amount of bands doing the mainstream-rock genre as well, and they€™ve all taken Nickelback€™s original template from the early 2000s, built on it and improved it. Black Stone Cherry and Alter Bridge both put out fantastic hard rock albums within the past year, showing there is still life in the genre if you adapt it slightly and let it evolve. Maybe it€™s time for Chad Kroeger€™s boys to step aside and let the new guard take the throne. Nickelback's new album Here and Now is released on Monday.
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Multimedia journalism student at Bournemouth University, my dream is to one day be paid to lie in bed, listen to music, and go to gigs. Follow me on Twitter @dandonnelly_ or find me on @DanDy57.