Nickelback’s “Here and Now” is the Same Old Thing

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If Nickelback haters made up the 99 percent, then I would represent the 1 percent.

However, the rock band’s recently released album “Here and Now” makes me want to join the other side.

Until a few weeks ago, Nickelback had been keeping a low profile and working on their album. Fans waited patiently for about three years.

Unfortunately, the album was not worth the wait.

One problem is that the album is not a “concept album,” a compilation of songs with a connecting message and a “whole picture.” Usually this doesn’t have to be a bad thing.

But Kroeger, frontman for the band, went from singing about drinking with a couple pretty girls, to quietly reminiscing about love in a slow ballad. Quite a dissonant sound for the album, no?
In a way, the tracks of the album can generally be separated by lyrical content.

One category is reserved for headbanging anthems about drugs, sex and alcohol.

“Bottoms Up” follows a near identical beat to “Follow You Home” in Nickelback’s 2008 album entitled “Dark Horse.” The song calls for a whole lot of drinking: “This is what it’s all about, no one can slow us down/ We ain’t gonna stop until the clock runs out. Bottoms up!” It’s a good drinking song, with its hard-hitting drum beats and grungy guitar riffs.

“Midnight Queen” and “Everything I Wanna Do” follow the same story, in which Kroeger lusts after a girl at the bar.

I know the basic stereotype of the genre rock and roll is drugs and sex, but could they sing about something else? “Dark Horse” already tired the theme with songs “Burn it to the Ground” and “Something in Your Mouth.”

The other category comprises soft and reminiscent songs about love and solidarity. “Lullaby” and “When We Stand Together” can be considered as comfort songs, with the traditional sound of Nickelback grunge in the background.

The concept of the latter song was okay, and the band takes it easy by ditching excessive instrumentation. Kroeger compares the drums segment as the heartbeat of a united front.

Kroeger explained the “diversity” of the album in a USA Today interview: “We simply could not find one song that represented the entire album. So it was important to us to release two different things, to say, ‘This is how diverse the record really is.’ ” Looks like their plan failed.

I also disagree with the order of the track listing. The jump between “Kiss It Goodbye” and “Trying Not to Love You” is almost comical, because these two songs are drastically different from each other. The first is about retribution – a burned man wishing hell for his ex-girlfriend.

“Trying Not to Love You,” however, is about a man yearning for his lost love. This song was not that bad instrumentation-wise, but I believe Kroeger and his team should have thought about a better track arrangement.

There is a lack uniqueness in this album and this kills me. The band didn’t take any risks.

Bottom line, this album was sadly not memorable.

Hard rock and post-grunge band Nickelback will have a tough time fighting for spots on the music list when alternative rock bands like Foo Fighters and Coldplay are on the rise – if not already at the top.

Truth is, I still love the band, but because of this album, I like to remember and weep for its past albums like “Silver Side Up” (2001) and “All the Right Reasons” (2005) when Nickelback actually had something going on.

  • “Bottoms Up” lyrics video from Nickelback via Youtube.com

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November 2011
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