The Internet will crucify me for saying this, but here it goes: I actually liked Nickelback once upon a time. When I indulged in the occasional rock fare—I’m now a pretty strict pop dude—I enjoyed the band’s catchy (yet wail-filled) All the Right Reasons (2005) album. (The LP turns 10 years old today.) “Photograph” is cute—perhaps a tad cheesy. “Savin’ Me” makes for great driving music. And, hell, “Far Away” has some beautiful lyrics.
But for whatever reason, the Web loves to hate on Chad Kroeger and company. Every friend I polled about Nickelback expressed hate for the band but couldn’t give me an exact reason why. Some blame the group’s generic rock sound. Others say their lyrics suck. Some just detest Chad’s Ramen noodles-esque hair. (OK, I sort of understand that last argument.)
Is there a clear answer here? If you Google, “Why do people hate Nickelback?” several responses pop up, but do any of them hold water? Let’s go through the three main gripes with the band, and you can make up your own minds in the comments below. (Please note: These reasons don’t reflect the VH1 staff’s opinions, but what we saw frequently on the Internet in Nickelback forums.)
All of their songs sound the same.
There is definitely some merit to this complaint. If you listen to Nickelback’s All the Right Reasons LP from start to finish, the tracks do start to sound similar. Repetitive chord progressions mixed with lyrics with recurring themes—sex, love and turning up—make for a déjà vu-as-hell listen. There’s only so many generic guitar solos you can take in one sitting. The Daily Dot writer Nico Lang put it best when he wrote, “Although the band has never been good, listening to their early LPs is actively difficult, simply because it’s so hard to tell the songs apart. Having listened to each of the aforementioned records twice, I couldn’t name one song from them, even with a gun to my head.” Damn. Those are some high stakes.
Chad Kroeger makes you feel uncomfortable.Getty Images
Maybe it’s the way he croons “Animallllllls!” in the overtly misogynistic tune “Animals” or his hair that resembles a drunken college treat more than actual—ya know—hair, but Chad definitely doesn’t sit well with humans. His patchwork facial hair is a little unsettling, but is that really a reason to declare World War III on Nickelback? ThoughtCatalog’s Karisa Tell went in on Chad’s looks, writing, “His goatee looks like even it’s embarrassed to be stuck to his chin, and his mustache is in second place for worst facial hair ever (trailing slightly behind his goatee). His hair, reminiscent of terrible 90s perm/bleach combos, billows salaciously at the slightest breeze.” However, is Chad’s diabolical goatee really the main source of Nickelback hatred? Let him and his hair patches live. (It’s also important to note sometimes he has no facial hair, so this troll-ass reason is invalid.)
Their success is borderline annoying.
All the Right Reasons sold 8 million copies in the United States alone and reached No.1 on the Billboard 200. They’ve pushed 50 million albums worldwide and continue to pack arenas for their concerts. Nickelback is perhaps the band with the largest disparity between commercial and critical success. Their music sells like hotcakes but doesn’t make any year-end lists. “We’ve never really been a critics’ darling or anything like that,” Chad told Billboard in 2011. “The people speak. We sell a lot of records and fill a lot of arenas, and we don’t hear many complaints.” That was four years ago, and it seems the people are complaining now. Could it be we’re annoyed a band not that original or talented enjoys such copious splendor? It’s a viable (albeit salty) reason.
Where do you stand on Nickelback? Love them? Hate them? Don’t give a fuck? Let us know in the comments.