I’m Glad That We, As a Society, Worked Past Our Hatred of Nickelback

I'm Glad That We, As a Society, Worked Past Our Hatred of Nickelback | by @StoneyKeeley

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Man, I watched that Nickelback documentary on Netflix last night, and I thought it ruled. Hate to Love: Nickelback is an interesting cursory overview of how the band rose from nothing to becoming the most meme-able rock band in music history. It was awesome to see where these guys came from, how they add to borrow money from friends and family just to get an EP recorded, and then to see it payoff with a massive hit that wasn’t even supposed to be the first single off that album!

Those early Nickelback days gave us a gutsy and relentless underdog story that should’ve been celebrated. But, after radio saturation, music fans quickly turned on the band. Shit happens. And, it was somewhat distressing to see how that turn affected these guys. To think, it was cool at a certain time to hate on Nickelback, and I believe that that negativity bred negativity. Eventually, we lost the plot and hating on Nickelback was little more than a cool thing to do as opposed to valid criticism. I’m happy that we, as a society, have worked through that. This band might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I’m not going to hate ’em for making it. They had some bangers back in the day. Anyway, this documentary reminded me of a piece I wrote for our Patreon several years ago that I’d like to share with you guys today.

I Have Grown as a Person and No Longer Hate Nickelback (2021)

“I am here today to share with you all a story of personal growth. After all, that’s what SoBros Network is all about – doing our best to be better human beings…or something like that. Anyway, I think it’s high time we loosen a bit on Nickelback, the modern butt rock band that also happens to be the butt of just about every lame music joke we crack. 

I’ll admit it openly – I loved early Nickelback. “How You Remind Me” blew up back in the early 2000s and put ’em on the map. But, it was “Leader of Men” that caught my attention in late 2000. To this day, I still unabashedly love that song – it’s a rock classic in my book. But, somewhere along the way, it’s as if Nickelback became too successful – too commercial. I can distinctly remember the term ‘sellout’ being thrown around back in the mid-2000s. Grungy burnouts gave way to rednecks with Affliction t-shirts at concerts. Top 40 radio started jamming Nickelback and calling ’em the pinnacle of the rock world. 

All the Right Reasons dropped in 2005, and it felt like the band clearly leaned into a broadly appealing country-rock kind of vibe. I can remember hearing “Rockstar” for the first time and thinking “what the fuck is this shit? What has this band become?” In my experience, that was the root of the turn on Nickelback. It was nauseating to hear such a deviation from the band’s original sound, and it was nauseating to hear everyone lauding them as this larger-than-life, historical rock group. 

It became popular to bash them. The Nickelback jokes spread like wildfire into the 2010s (3 Doors Down dodged a bullet thanks to everyone hating on Nickelback). Hell, I even got in on the fun whenever I had the chance.

But, you have to understand psychology – I didn’t hate them because they were making music that was bad. Music isn’t objectively bad – obviously, millions of people love Nickelback. They’ve sold over 50 million records. What my jokes were masking was a sense of abandonment. I liked the old Nickelback – that raw, intense, grungy Nickelback. I never understood why they “sold out” or “went mainstream.” How could someone sacrifice their artistic integrity for a paycheck?!?!

But, folks, it’s not healthy to hold grudges like that. This is what we call “being a hater,” and all haters are good for is waving at on #GinFriday. 

I’m reminded of a conversation I had with an old boss and co-worker back in 2013 – I was making a joke about Nickelback being terrible, and the boss spoke up and said, “You know – I know it’s funny to make fun, but I’m not going to hate on them for making it.” The co-worker chimed in and said something along the lines of, “yeah, it’s not like the music is terrible – he knows what people like and he writes it.” Talking it through, I thought about it a little more and yeah, we shouldn’t hate someone for making it after all the years on the road, working your way up the ladder, and everything that goes into it. 

I stopped making Nickelback jokes that day. Every time I saw them, I’d just keep scrolling through my feed, not participating in the action. Let Nickelback live. Let ’em do their thang, if you will. But, y’all – it’s 2021. These jokes have been going on for over A DECADE now. I think we should let go of this phenomenon, and I mean on the largest scale…..let’s get this out of the psyche of American society. Let’s just drop it. Let’s just let Nickelback make their music, make their money, and make their fans happy. We don’t have to shit on stuff we don’t like just for our amusement. That’s what it’s all about – we can all grow from this experience.”

Stoney Keeley is the Editor in Chief of The SoBros Network, and a Dogs Playing Poker on velvet connoisseur. He is a strong supporter of Team GSD, #BeBetter, and ‘Minds right, asses tight.’ “Big Natural” covers the Tennessee Titans, Nashville, Yankee Candle, and a whole wealth of nonsense. Follow on Twitter @StoneyKeeley.

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