Nickelback has always been, for me, little more than a “meh” experience. I’ve committed some songs to memory, while probably the majority of their deeper cuts remain unknown to me. With that being said, I have been noticing a growing distaste for the ‘Back. Some people have even gone so far as to tell me that they “hate” the Canadian super-group. As a Canadian myself, I often wonder if hatred is the right answer. Aren’t Canadians supposed to be friendly? Welcoming? I don’t remember stepping over a mat that said “fuck yourself” frozen in front of my igloo this morning. Given this bizarre negative reaction to a group that I’m pretty sure is all about peace and love, I have decided to take it upon myself to do the unthinkable and dive into the massive discography of Nickelback. With little-to-no knowledge of this group (outside of their innumerable hits and upsetting memes) I hope to provide, as objectively as possible, an unbiased ranking of the discography of the United States #2 most successful foreign act. Without further ado, here is the definitive ranking of Nickelback’s albums from someone that identifies as somewhere between a casual listener and sort-of-fan.
9. Feed the Machine (2017)
This is Nickelback’s ninth and most recent album. I should preface this by saying that it’s an instinctual rating; I haven’t actually heard it. I haven’t heard a LOT of bands’ 9th album though so I think that this is a fair estimate. Radiohead’s Heart Shaped Pool, David Bowie’s Young Americans, and the Rolling Stones’ Sticky Fingers… These are just a few ninth albums in famous bands’ discographies that I haven’t heard and would probably rank similarly. I also don’t like how it looks like Nickelback is going for an anti-government angle on this album cover. Hey Mr. Kroeger, 1984 called – they want their lyrics back!
8. No Fixed Address (2014)
I didn’t even know this one existed. Makes sense though, that would be a pretty big gap in their CVs.
7. Here and Now (2011)
This is Nickelback’s seventh album. I also did not listen to this one. It’s not that I didn’t know about it, I just kind of didn’t feel like listening to it. Nothing against Nickelback, I just felt turned off by the album cover. I don’t really know what else to say about this one but it might have placed 6th if they’d put some effort into coming up with an actual album cover.
6. The Long Road (2003)
This definitely caught me off guard buddy. Like No Fixed Address, I did not know that it existed. That’s not necessarily a surprise to me since Nickelback has a large discography and I’m probably not in the top 100 on their fan list. What DID surprise me was the fact that it was released between my two favourite albums (Silver Side Up and All the Right Reasons). Like… whoa. Where was I in 2003? Anyway I give it the easy 6th place because I doubt that they would have a drop in quality between SSU and ATRR, but I’ve also never listened to it. Going any higher would be an abuse of the power invested in me as ranker.
5 & 4. Curb (1996) and The State (1998)
Watch out Loose Changers (Nickelback fans) because here comes the storm. Unlike the first 6, I opted to group these two together because my primary research source (Wikipedia) did the same. If the bottom 4 of my favourites list were the ones I had never heard, then consider this the bottom of the list of albums that I DID hear. And friend, let me tell you: I am not a fan. This was definitely before the ‘Back had hit their stride. I often wonder if these two albums were even stones that needed to be stepped on. Of the two songs that I decided to download from Google Play Music, both made me uncomfortable (and not like how Chad probably wanted me to feel). If I were to meet Chad today I would act like I didn’t know about these, but would probably still shed several tears into his hair while we held each other tightly. He might think that I was overcome with joy but I think that deep down we would both know where the tears came from. How, Chad?
3. Dark Horse (2008)
Fuck yeah, buddy; three words that come to mind when I hear people talk about Nickelback’s fifth album. Sure, it doesn’t have the refined edge of Silver Side Up, or the celebration of All The Right Reasons, but Dark Horse is a heavy hitter by its own right. Profane and raw, Nickelback finally shows us what it’s like to make love to Chad and it is definitely something else. “Something in Your Mouth”, “I’d Come for You”, and “S.E.X.” show us that Nickelback is ready to be Canada’s sex icon, while the closing track “If Today Was Your Last Day” reminds listeners to be grateful for everything that you have. Even though I only listened to the aforementioned songs for about 15 seconds each to support this article, I can definitely say that they were some of the sexiest Nickelback segments that I have heard. Move over Alexander Graham Bell, it’s Kroeger Time.
2. All The Right Reasons (2005)
Full disclosure: I only know one song from this album and it was one of their singles. With that being said, I pity the fool that doesn’t know “Animals”. Holy KROEGER does that song get me going. If there is one take away from this list for you, the reader, I hope that it’s you listening to this song. Mick Jagger, Buckcherry, take notes: This is how you sell sex. If Dark Horse was a painting of Chad’s life as a rock star then “Animals” would be the glittering black jewel on Chad’s index finger when he singles you out from a crowd of 50,000 to come on stage and do whatever Chad tells you to do. I’m not exaggerating when I say that I listen to this song every day on the commute to work. Fuckin’ A.
1. Silver Side Up (2001)
And here we are. The album that started it all. My morning star, my guiding light. They say that all that glitters is not gold, and whoever “they” are was right – Silver Side Up glitters like… a very glittery piece of gold. I realize that this doesn’t make perfect sense, but neither did the first eight albums that I listed. I’ll leave the similes to the multi-platinum selling artist, thank you very much. Despite receiving a conservative two stars from alt-right news outlet the Rolling Stone, SSU stands as the most iconic Nickelback album that I have listened to more than three songs of. “Never Again” paints a vivid portrait of domestic abuse, one that seemingly tortures Chad. “How You Remind Me” is downright clairvoyant, presumably being about Chad’s future romance with notable Lyme’s disease victim Avril Lavigne. “Hollywood” is what really rounds the experience out though, giving Canadian listeners a grim taste of what Nickelback so desperately wanted to avoid (probably): Selling out. I don’t really know what happened between this song and Feed the Machine, but one thing is certain: The ten or so Nickelback songs that I am familiar with definitely do not deserve the hate that the world tries to send their way.
Elliott is the main author and creator of http://www.thatsdark.ca. He has little grasp on what people actually like to see, as evidenced by his various social media platforms.
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