Is Nickleback… Cool Now?!
Okay, so, the short story is, no, not really (Sorry Chad). But, (and that’s a sizable “but”) I happened across the title track off their 2017 album Feed The Machine, and I had to look twice at who’s song it was! Chunky riffs, machine-gun kick-drums, and a rather guttural vocal track, at least compared to songs like ‘Photograph‘ and ‘How You Remind Me‘. I’ll admit I was impressed enough to skim through the rest of the album, and here’s what I came away with. Give it a listen and tell us what you think in the comments section!
First, I’m going to ask you to forget everything you know about Nickleback; the schlocky mom-rock singles from the early 2000’s, the attempt at reinvention with All The Right Reasons (2005) which gave us the rage-inducing D-side ‘Rockstar‘, a self-felating tribute to their pre-fame days, released well into their international touring career. I guess they don’t have irony in Canada…
See how easy it can be to slip into a prejudiced attitude?
Happens to the best of us.
Now that that’s out of our system, I’ll get down to nuts and bolts. The first and last tracks are strong. Solid drums and rhythm guitar riffs throughout, and I’d take those vocals any day of the week. There’s several more decent ones peppered in the middle as well, with varying degrees of awesomeness. Now, full disclosure, there ARE cheesy, archetypal “fillers” in there, which you’ll recognize about 15 seconds in, so keep your finger near the skip button. Audio to ‘Feed The Machine’ and ‘The Betrayal (Act III)’ are below for you to enjoy at your convenience.
I think the reason this was on my heart today is because, despite general distaste for middle-of-the-road, flavorless music and the tendency of mainstream radio to play the ever-loving FUCK out of the 20 songs in their rotation, regardless of quality, I’ve come to this conclusion: If this was NB’s first album, I highly doubt they would’ve ended up as the industry’s proverbial whipping-boy.
While it’s far from the likes of Master of Puppets or Reign in Blood, I absolutely respect the course-correction that is Feed The Machine. And, admittedly, I have a soft spot for redemption stories