Soooo. This week. Yeah. How could you hope to follow-up last week’s Miley Cyrus? How about Nickelback? Yup how about them.
Okay, sucking it up. We’ve got a six-pack of Nickelback this week, which on the plus side means you only actually need to buy one to have them all, right? But no, there are six delightfully creative and wholly original songs to choose from!
(None marked for LEGO. Save the children.)
“Burn it to the Ground” is from their extensive “we like to drink and rock” category of songs, filled with such wonderful lyrical poetry as “we’re screaming like demons/swinging from the ceiling” and “we’ve got no class/no taste/no shirt/shit-faced”. All that aside, it actually has a good groove and catchy chorus. Not really a surprise there I suppose; Nickelback are radio staples for a reason. But the lyrics are so laughably juvenile that it’s impossible to get around. “Yeeeeah booze woooo!” is a perfectly acceptable rock song topic, don’t get me wrong. But at 35? It’s less Bluto from Animal House and more Jerry O’Connell in Can’t Hardly Wait.
“Figured You Out”. Oh, this is going to end well. The very first lyric? “I like your pants around your feet”. Aaaand at 1:41 into the song I’m done. Between “I like the white stains on your dress”, “I like your lack of self-respect” and “I like my hands around your neck”, my misogyny meter maxed out.
Next is “Never Again”. Oh good grief, drinking again? And beating up a woman? <calming sigh> Okay let’s just get through it. So this time the character singing the song is the witness to domestic abuse rather than the actual abuser which is a step up from the previous. However I’m having real trouble when the chorus keeps repeating “She’s just a woman”. Not in the sense that “she’s just a woman so who cares”; the song’s pretty definitively anti-abuse. But does it mean “she’s just a woman, how could she bother you so much that you hit her” or “she’s just a woman, how can she possibly do anything to stop this happening”? I find both to be pretty damned offensive. And at the end of the song she shoots the guy. Yeah. Heard the same story twenty years ago when it was actually told well. So no. A thousand times no.
Can we do better? (Could we do worse?) “Photograph” is up. Well it didn’t offend my entire gender, which was a pleasant reprieve. It’s a a nostalgic ballad and serviceable enough as such. Thoroughly predictable as far as lyrics go (seriously, if you’ve never heard the song, give it a listen. If you have even a basic grasp of the english language, you’ll know the next line long before he sings it), but that’s hardly a crime unique to Nickelback.
“Rockstar”. Is that Billy Gibbons from ZZ Top? They should’ve had him playing guitar instead of talking, I might’ve been more interested then. But it’s an okay song, if again not terribly original (Dire Straights did it way the hell better), but it’s fun and by the very nature of the song doesn’t take itself to seriously. Easily the best I’ve heard thus far in this pack (take that as you will).
And finally (oh sweet baby jesus finally) there’s “This Afternoon”. First up, protip: don’t talk about good bands in your crap band. Actually this video is pretty funny when you consider that I started this talking about the Bluto/Jerry O’Connell thing Nickelback has going on. This video embodies that awkward. That aside, it’s again nestled fairly well in mediocrity. We come full circle in a return to “we like to drink and rock”, though this time with a country rock twang versus the attempt at hard rock with the first song in the pack. There’s nothing really wrong with it, just nothing really great about it either.
Well, I can’t say this week didn’t pull out some feelings, though none were good. I’m really finding it difficult to cheer on Harmonix for this one – but I again must remind myself that somehow Nickelback have been topping charts for a decade now. Wikipedia assures me they’ve sold over 30 million records. And while I cannot for the life of me understand this, the simple truth is that there are people out there (quite a few of them, it would seem) who love Nickelback and will be thrilled to have them in Rock Band. For my part, I’ll go through some of my RBN backlog, pick up some songs that don’t make me want to stab the lead singer in the face with a titanium spork, and be glad that we aren’t “wasting” RB3 harmonies, keys, pro guitar, etc., on this DLC.