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Nickelback: It’s Time to Embrace the Shame

By Zach Schoeneman, Features Contributor

Since making their major label debut with the release of “Silver Side Up” on Sept. 11, 2001, hard rock band Nickelback have become one of the most successful bands in rock history — and also one of the most hated. While it may seem like it’s cool to hate them because everyone else does, I promise you that it’s okay to admit you like Nickelback, if you really do.

After achieving success with albums like the aforementioned “Silver Side Up,” “The Long Road,” “All the Right Reasons” and “Dark Horse,” the band quickly became one of the most well-known names in the 2000s rock scene with multiple hit songs. However, this quick success came at the price of major criticism for the band’s self-accepted status as a commercialized rock band with little evolution or growth musically.

It’s not hard to understand why Nickelback is disliked, considering the swath of other similar-sounding rock bands that grew in popularity around the same time as them. When there’s too much of the same sound, there’s bound to be detractors. Whether you’ve heard their music or not, you’ve probably been conditioned to dislike Nickelback. I’ll admit that I used to be a Nickelback hater despite liking one or two of their songs. The interesting thing that I found after researching, though, is that’s how a lot of people feel about Nickelback. Some like one or two of their songs without even knowing it’s Nickelback. Some have never even listened to them before. Instead of people embracing the fact that they do like a song of theirs, Nickelback has instead become a very popular “guilty pleasure” band.

Nickelback is not alone in this type of unfounded slander. In recent years, the pop rock band Imagine Dragons has taken up the mantle as the most hated rock band, and for largely similar reasons as Nickelback. They became very popular very quickly with the release of their debut album “Night Visions.” They make a lot of “safe,” commercially successful music, knowing it’ll succeed because it isn’t pushing the boundaries too much. In the heavy metal scene, Five Finger Death Punch are considered “the Nickelback of heavy metal” because they’ve followed a similar philosophy. In the world of rap, Drake has started to become in some ways more of a figure in meme culture than he is a musician, similar to how Nickelback became a meme in the 2010s. No matter what genre you listen to, there’s a Nickelback in every one.

Guilty pleasures are something all of us have, whether it’s a musician, a television show or an obscure sport — it truthfully could be anything. Nickelback is a guilty pleasure for a lot of people, and that’s totally okay. Instead of hating on them just because it’s cool or feeling guilty for liking them, maybe being a Nickelback fan is something to embrace and to be proud of. Besides, they’ve got some really catchy songs.

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