June 25 is a landmark day in the calendar year. Besides being the birthday of literary and entertainment legends such as George Orwell, Ricky Gervais, Sidney Lumet and Carly Simon, it’s also the 40th birthday of one Mike Kroeger, also known as the bassist from Nickelback.
Now, Nickelback have gotten a lot of flak over the years, and for some reason, appreciating the band seems to be equivalent to worshiping Satan.
I’ve never really quite understood why the Canadian quartet is so reviled. When they were scheduled to perform at halftime during a Thanksgiving football game, people went crazy — protests, petitions, media coverage. And then Patrick Carney of the Black Keys had to go and tell Rolling Stone that “Rock & roll is dying because people became OK with Nickelback being the biggest band in the world” and “they became OK with the idea that the biggest rock band in the world is always going to be sh-t.” I mean, I might not agree with the lead singer’s choice in fiancees, but come on! Kroeger and company created instant gems like “Photograph,” “How You Remind Me” and “Far Away.”
How can you not fall sway to Chad Kroeger’s gritty vocals, which sound like he’s constantly gargling milk? Or how about the band’s paint-by-numbers/easily memorize-able lyrics? You might hate that they’re catchy, but you have to respect their ability to glue a melody into your head. Don’t believe me? What about Chad Kroeger’s song “Hero”?
And they say that a hero could save us
I’m not gonna stand here and wait
I’ll hold on to the wings of the eagles
Watch as we all fly away
OK, I’m not saying that “Hero” or “Photograph” or “Rockstar” or, frankly, any of their songs are exercises of masterful rock, but it’s a heck of a lot better than a lot of music out there. If two radio stations were on in my car and one was playing Miley Cyrus’ newest monstrosity “We Can’t Stop” and the other one ran with “How You Remind Me,” you can bet your bottom dollar that I’d choose the latter. Plus, their songs are amazing for belting during karaoke. “Rockstar,” indeed.
I’m tired of being embarrassed about this: Nickelback is a decent band with decent music, and I will sing along when their songs pop up on shuffle. I know I’m probably alone in this and maybe I’m crazy, but does anyone else have at least a tiny bit of affection for the rock band? Or if you’re like the majority of people out there, why do you hate them so much?