It’s easy to make fun of something that exists primarily for our entertainment and mockery.
Here in Alberta, perhaps the easiest target is Nickelback. Actually, it’s more likely Ralph Klein, but coming in a strong second is Nickelback. The rockers are so fun to tease because, well, first of all, they hail from Hanna. From there, the jokes pretty much write themselves.
What’s always struck me as interesting about the rock group is that it is easily Canada’s most popular band, but you’ll be hard-pressed to find anyone who admits to actually owning one of the band’s CDs. Even if you are lucky enough to find someone who does, chances are they won’t be announcing it with great enthusiasm. They are the 2000’s equivalent of New Kids On The Block.
But like I said, it’s easy to make fun of Nickelback. The hard part would be defending them.
Turns out, it is not as hard as you might think.
In order to defend the band, you first have to take a step back and look at it as a business, rather than just a band.
Imagine that several years ago this “band/business” figured out the perfect formula for making a lot of money in the struggling music industry. Disguise yourselves as a rough-sounding (and looking) rock band, but produce pop-radio friendly songs. You’ll eventually learn that the songs can really be the same song over and over again, just sung with slightly different lyrics.
Your core fan base will rock out to your music, thinking they are “sticking it to the man,” while station managers are happier you’re making it easier for them to follow CRTC regulations.
Did Nickelback sell out? Of course they did. That’s like asking if the Stampede is overrated.
I mean, do you really think Chad Kroeger lies down beside his hair-straightener every night and thinks he produces quality rock music? No, of course not. But when it comes to being a strong businessman, not even Brett Wilson can compete.
Interestingly enough, you’ll be hard-pressed to find anyone in the media that has anything personally bad to say about the band. By all accounts Nickelback are nice, hard-working and funny guys, who seem to be killing their critics with kindness.
When Nickelback descends upon Calgary Monday, they’ll have already sold millions of albums and regularly played sold-out stadiums.
So complain and whine about them all you want — thanks to pyrotechnics, no one will hear you.