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Nickelback’s music has always brought back memories from my first big outdoor gigs.  For two years running during my teenage years, I attended Canada Day concert’s in Halifax, Nova Scotia.  I remember a feeling of excitement… and a carefree attitude to the high prices of big gig food!

That taste of pizza, that smell in the air, and the company of my friends there come back to me when I hear their music, bringing back memories of a 2003 summer’s day.  Nickelback had debuted in the UK 12 months earlier with their seminal hit “How You Remind Me” from their third album, Silver Side Up.  Since then, their song-writing subjects, and their sound, haven't developed too widely.  Following a recipe for success, they've become on of the 21st century's most productive major band.  Here and Now is their sixth release since the turn of the century.

Famous for their songs (generally set in bars) about drinking and fighting, they always find time for a couple of rock ballads; though not their strong point, their ballads are hugely popular with their mainstream audiences, from “How You Remind Me” to their 2006 sing along hit “Rockstar”;  And I like that.

Some of the songs on this new album might as well be called “I’m drunk and I’m going to knock you out” such is the lack of apparent inspiration in some of the lyrics, a listen to “Gotta get me some” and “Bottoms up” in particular will explain my meaning but they pack them out with riffs which go some way to rescuing the songs.

The latter of those two songs is a song about drinking until you drop.  This is closely followed by “We stand together”, which is likely to be the most memorable of songs on this album, one which addresses world hunger.

A paradoxical collection of songs where they haven’t strayed far from their usual sound, this album will please Nickelback fans, while it’s radio friendly tracks will surely prove popular.  Other than that, I imagine that their hard riffing tracks will sadly find their place in American Football highlights reels and suchlike.

The band often receives criticism from hard rock aficianados in particular and furthermore in November, they were the subject of a petition from Detroit Lions American Football fans who, (55,000 of them) petitioned to have them removed from performing a half time show during a Thanksgiving Day game.

They might not be the greatest of rock bands, but they are one of the few rock bands who have been played regularly on mainstream radio for the past ten years, and I’d rather have my children listening to Nickelback than Take That.



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May 2018

John Prine
67 pts.
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Settling Scores vol. 2

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