Nickelback, Prison & Doing It All for Rock 'N' Roll
If you haven't heard it yet, Nickelback's latest tune "San Quentin" is loud, aggressive, and electrifying...just the way rock 'n' roll is meant to be!
Here's the chorus to the new tune:
Testify that I was right out of my mind
Let the record show I did it all for rock and roll
Screamin' every night, playing 25 to Life
So somebody please keep me the hell out of San Quentin
Out of San Quentin
Just keep me out of San Quentin
Ooh, can somebody please keep me the hell out of San Quentin?
I have loved Nickelback since I first heard "How You Remind Me" from their third album Silver Side Up in 2001. The band came along in the mid-1990s when things were a bit...well... weird in the music industry. Mainstream hair metal was dying an excruciatingly painful death as music fans' tastes started to favor grunge, thrash metal, alternative rock, Britpop, and industrial rock. Hip hop and electronic music continued their popularity from the 1980s and the singer-songwriter movement from the 1970s experienced a resurgence. Essentially, it was more difficult in the 1990s for bands to find their place because there were so many offshoots of music in general, including rock, that were clamoring for the public's attention.
During this time, I remember feeling like I needed to wear a neck brace for the whiplash I sustained due to the quick pace in which music was stampeding onto the scene and then dashing for the exit door just as quickly. It was nothing short of confusing, which is why Nickelback was one of the very few new bands that I entertained at the time because they sounded like the metal/hard rock I was used to and loved, albeit minus the visual effects of Aqua Net sprayed hair, neon spandex pants, and fuchsia lipstick (worn by the musicians, not the girls in the audience) of the hair metal bands.
Something else that I admired about Nickelback is that they hailed from Canada, not Los Angeles, which made them unique. But here's a situation that I didn't understand about the band in the early days and still don't today: Why do they garner so much hate? I've read some articles that include criticisms about the band, so let's dissect some of the most absurd here.
Criticism: All of Nickelback's songs are only about sex, love, heartbreak, drugs, cars, women, and money.
My response: That's what the vast majority of rock lyrics are about, and have been since the 1950s!
Criticism: Chad Kroeger doesn't look the rockstar part.
My response: Have you seen the man? He's smoking hot...regardless of whether he's a rockstar or a high school chemistry teacher. He would give new meaning to the term "hot for teacher" if he taught at the local high school.
Criticism: This one piggybacks the criticism above...Chad Kroeger's dyed blonde hair and goatee were not a good look on him back in the day.
My response: At least that look was back in the day, and is not his current style. Look at all of the rockers today who...at age 60 plus...still dye their hair monochrome jet black. One-dimensional jet black hair after the age of 35 does not look good on anyone because it causes the skin to look sallow, as in like an old candle. Talk about not a good look! And besides, most of us sported less than appealing looks back in the day. If you ever wore a mohawk, rattail, or mullet, that comment applies to you specifically.
Criticism: Nickelback is responsible for the death of Nirvana.
My response: Um, correct me if I'm wrong here, but I believe the suicide of Nirvana's lead singer and guitarist, Kurt Cobain, was the main reason why Nirvana exited the scene.
Criticism: Listening to Nickelback's songs backwards will expose the listener to messages from the devil.
My response: The devil went down to Georgia, not the recording studio.
Here are the undisputed facts about Nickelback:
They have experienced commercial success in a brutally competitive industry for almost 30 years.
The band has sold over 50 million albums worldwide.
Billboard ranked them as the most successful rock group from 2000-2010.
More than a few of their songs have ranked on Billboard Hot 100.
They have been the recipient of the Juno Award a dozen times, the MuchMusic Video Award seven times, the SOCAN International Achievement Award five times, both the American Music Award and MTV Video Music Award twice, the Record of the Year Award (2008), and the People's Choice Award in 2007 (and nominated in 2011). They've also been nominated for a Grammy six times.
So what can we all learn from Nickelback, whether you're a fan or not? Haters are always gonna hate because they are too outwardly focused instead of paying attention to something that they should...themselves and their issues. People who gossip about others excessively, are overly involved and interested in the lives of others, spend all day posting hateful messages online, create degrading memes out of spite, and so on are just distracting themselves from really looking inward and cleaning up their own house. These individuals would much rather focus on other people than evaluate their own behavior, relationships, mental health issues, shortcomings, and insecurities. It takes a strong individual to really face themselves...the good, the bad, and the ugly. And sadly, most people would rather watch TikTok videos than put in the work to improve themselves and their station in life because they are too damn terrified to look in the mirror.
I applaud Nickelback for continuing to focus on their craft while blocking out the chatter. One of my most favorite quotes is "the opinion you hold of yourself is the only opinion that matters."
And Nickelback has taken their self-opinion to the bank, laughing the entire way.