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Evaluation Argument

Evaluation Argument

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Published by Evan Kalikow

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Published by: Evan Kalikow on Nov 05, 2011
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Evan Kalikow10/27/08Engl 030 – Section 8Evaluation ArgumentVenue – Article in Pitchfork Media
Nickelback Sucks
People have been listening to music since circa the beginning of human life. Clearly,music has evolved significantly over that time period, from cavemen bashing rocks together rhythmically to the great works of Beethoven and beyond. Infinite styles, genres, and subgenreshave been created in order to describe these new advancements in sound and composition. In this past century alone, we have witnessed the creation of Motown, Jazz, Rock and Roll, Blues,Metal, Punk, countless fusions of the aforementioned genres, and even fusions of 
those
genres. Itis certain that creativity and originality are leading forces that allow music to advance. In themiddle of this vast sea of music, though, stands a single group that threatens to halt the ever-evolving art of music and influence it to become a stagnant force of consistent mediocrity andunoriginality; a group that I would consider the worst band in the past decade. This godforsakengroup goes by the name of Nickelback.To those who are unaware, Nickelback is a Canadian (strike one) “modern rock” bandfounded in the mid-1990’s by front-man Chad Kroeger, a man so ugly that third degree burnvictims are thankful that they don’t look like him. To date, they have come out with five fulllength albums, with a sixth to be released sometime later this year. They have sold millions of albums and have gone on tour many times, playing sold out shows in some of the largest venuesin the world. Nickelback and its members have composed and performed songs for films such asSpider-Man and have released several popular singles. Despite all of their monetary success and
 
 popularity, however, I can still comfortably call them one of the worst bands in the history of music.As a musician who has been playing the bass guitar for over four years, I will first focuson their musicianship and songwriting abilities. Take their popular hit single “How You RemindMe”. It starts off with a soft acoustic guitar playing a generic chord progression while ChadKroeger attempts to sing, an effort that sounds more like a man dying of dysentery crying out for help than anything. As the verse progresses to the bridge, the song becomes more hostile, asevidenced by the harsher lyrics and, of course, the use of the expected power chords over aslightly modified version of the original chords. After all, nothing says “I’m angry and want youto know it!” than chords that a third grader could have written.This energy stays consistent through the sing-along chorus, after which the song goes intothe second verse, a near mirror-image of the first verse, but with new lyrics and – Gasp! – a drum beat in the background! It’s as if Nickelback is saying “This is the softer part of the song, butwe’re still angry, dammit!” This format repeats for the duration of “How You Remind Me”, withthe exception of the last bridge to the final chorus, in which the band displays their limitedsyncopation abilities, playing the same 2 notes in unison, further showing their feeble attempt atcreating aggression and energy. The song fades out with a single elongated guitar note, and Iutter a sigh of relief. The torture is now over.The only way one could appreciate Nickelback’s musical abilities is if they were put incontrast with their lyrics. Kroeger’s lyrics are reminiscent of those written by Bob Dylan – thatis, if Dylan suffered a stroke, lost the knowledge of everything meaningful that happened in hislife, and was eight years old. This lyrical expression, or lack thereof, is expressed in lines such as“Look at this photograph/ Every time I do it makes me laugh/ How did our eyes get so red?/ And
 
what the hell is on Joey’s head?” from “Photograph”, or “If everyone cared and nobody cried/ If everyone loved and nobody lied/ If everyone shared and swallowed their pride/ Then we’d seethe day when nobody died” from “If Everyone Cared”, or, my favorite, “Kim’s the first girl Ikissed/ I was so nervous that I nearly missed”, another gem from “Photograph”. Even when Nickelback is trying to be sexy, they still do not grasp the important art of subtlety. Take this linefrom “Figured You Out”, for instance: “I like your pants around your feet/ I like the dirt that’s onyour knees/ And I like the way you still say please/ While you’re looking up at me”. There’snothing wrong with a song about sex, of course, but there should be at least some semblance of subtlety in the lyrics. What’s the point of a song that blatantly says “I like engaging inintercourse with you”? It is bad songwriting, and the entire band should be ashamed of it.At this point, it is easy to overlook some of these glaring flaws in Nickelback. After all,all of the examples I cited are from their popular songs. Maybe those songs are just flukes, andthe more obscure tracks on the albums show their true musicianship and creativity, right? Well, I bit the bullet and listened to every Nickelback album. It was grueling, traumatic, and one of theworst experiences of my life, but I feel more qualified to talk about the quality of Nickelback now than most of their fan base. Unfortunately, each one of Nickelback’s songs, even the lesser-known ones, suffers from these same flaws. Here is a line from the little-known track “MoneyBought” to prove my point: “Cherry stem in her mouth, she could tie in a knot/ Favorite trick shedoes, one of ten she’s got”. Truly, that line is a work of genius that would make Shakespeare jealous.Having listened to the entire Nickelback discography, I can say with confidence that eachof their songs follows the same format to the point where you could play two songs at once andhave them sync without flaw (search for “How You Remind Me of Someday” on YouTube if 

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