America too hip to crank Nickelback

In 2009, readers of United Kingdom magazine, the Word, voted Nickelback the worst band in the world. Around the same time, Billboard Magazine named Nickelback the band of the decade.

How exactly can the worst band in the world also be the band of the decade?

Because America, you love Nickelback.

We’ve all expressed hatred for the band at various times in our life. Although it’s hard to admit, you probably bought the band’s album “All the Right Reasons,” just like I did. The album sold eight million copies in the United States — that’s 8x Platinum, in case you were wondering.

But I was 15, what did I know about music? I’m sure all of our music tastes have evolved. So how did their latest records do after the commercial success of “All the Right Reasons”?

The album “Dark Horse,” released in 2008 (the year before they were voted the worst band in the world), sold three million copies in the U.S., and had eight – count them – eight singles receiving near endless radio-play, with three of them debuting the Billboard top 20.

So, let’s go ahead and assume that after Nickelback’s definition as the worst band in the world, we all became well-educated hipsters. Hipsters obviously never listen to mainstream music and are listening to bands they heard about even before the band started to play together. There’s no way the educated masses of hipsters would ever give Nickelback’s questionable lyrical content the light of day.

And yet in November of 2011, Nickelback’s seventh studio album, “Here and Now,” was released and debuted at No. 2 on Billboard’s top 200 chart. Even more impressive the album sold 500,000 copies, enough to make gold certification by the RIAA’s standards. If you know anything about the state of the music industry, having a gold record is incredibly impressive when only about album sales were at a low 150.5 million units sold from January 2012 to July 2012, according to Reuters.

The truth is America, you love Nickelback, and you’re just too afraid — or too much of a hipster — to admit it.

But even I will admit that every type of music has its place. When I’m in an underground bar in L.A., I expect to hear a Bob Dylan record spinning. When a bro is stalking his prey on Mill Avenue, you expect to see him bounce his head to Lil Wayne’s lyrical masterpiece “Lollipop.”

According to Seth Horowitz’s most recent book, “The Universal Sense,” our sense of sound is the strongest catalyst for memory because songs allow us to recall specific times and places in our lives.

Nickelback only has a place in worn-down garages and you should only listen to it while working on your barely-running 1973 Chevy Nova, or in some sort of BDSM Industrial Club, but it has a place nonetheless.

Songs like “Animals” only serve to recall memories of our angst-filled and rebellious youth.

So America, please stop saying you hate Nickelback, because you don’t. You may not be the first to admit that songs like “Something in Your Mouth,” which debuted at No. 21 on Billboard’s Alternative chart, are your favorite. But when you say you hate Nickelback, your wallet and your mouth are arguing very different cases.

 

Reach the columnist by email at caleb.varoga@asu.edu, or follow the columnist at @calebvaroga