I was reminded of the universality of Nickelback hatred the other night while watching an episode of Modern Family. Mitch and Cameron, still stinging from the previous year’s poorly-received Christmas carol performance for the family (Mitch was falling-down drunk), recounted the abuse they had received over the last twelve months. And bazinga! Another dig at Kroeger and Co.
Mitchell: The family has been mocking us relentlessly all year.
Cam: Nicknames like Screeches and Herb, Simon and God-awful, Nickelback.
On a recent Ongoing History of New Music episode entitled “10 Things About Music That Really Annoy Me,” I listed irrational Nickelback hatred as one of them. It’s not that I’m a fan of the band or their music, but I am bamboozled by the vast amount of hatred they seem to generate. As the Modern Family scene illustrates, they’ve become a universal punchline.
Surely there are other acts much more worthy of such intense derision. Yet the email started flowing. For example:
Soo…*rolling up sleeves* You invited all comers to take you on re the top ten things you can’t stand musically including the inexplicable hatred for Nickelback? Well to be fair, I don’t hate them. But they swamped the airwaves with so much of their crap that my ears began to bleed whenever their music played. Good for them that the music they made allows newer, more promising bands something to live off of while they work to make it big. Wouldn’t think that that was what they had in mind, though. ‘Oh hey, let’s make it big so we can fund bands that are better than us while we become a rock laughingstock’.
A couple of not-likin Nickelback thoughts.
First: You know the Nickelback creation myth about how they got their name? Some lame thing like a couple of them worked at some lunch place where the daily special was $4.95 and when they got paid with a $5, they’d ask the customer if they wanted their ‘nickel back’?…
OH BALLS. Alan, what creature is on the back of the Canadian nickel? A BEAVER. Rock n roll is all about getting laid (as if that’s news to you ) so I will argue til the frickin cows come home that Nickelback is all about the beaver, and not spare change.
Second: I bet anything that Nickelback, whose sudden and inexplicable rise to fame and just as sudden and inexplicable fall into the land of ridicule (mebbe a big meteorite hit them?) still light their farts on fire.
See? Then came this link to The Daily Dot:
In 2014, listening to Nickelback isn’t just a crime of bad taste. It might get you arrested. Last week, two men were detained by police after one of the officers on duty mistook their conversation about Nickelback to a reference to a “nickel sack”—or a bag of marijuana.
This isn’t even the first time the band has made headlines in the past month. In May, former Phillies MVP Ryan Howard was forced to respond to allegations that the first baseman likes the band, after fans held up a sign that read: “Ryan Howard listens to Nickelback.” Howard had a defensive nervous breakdown over it.
“Is it bad to listen to Nickelback?” Howard asked. “I mean, I’m not afraid to say that I diversify my musical portfolio. I didn’t know they could see or hear what…How do they know I listen to Nickelback? I listen to everything. I don’t know if there’s a specific song by Nickelback.”
Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel faced similar accusations in 2012, when an angry Occupy protester’s sign went viral on the Internet, and Emanuel quickly renounced the band in an email. According to the Chicago RedEye, Emanuel’s spokesperson clarified the unpopular mayor’s Nickelback stance with a simple “no.”
I don’t get it. Hey, we’re free to like and dislike whatever music we choose, but what I’m baffled at the level of hatred Nickelback manages to generate. Is it even possible to have a rational conversation on the subject? I’ve tried. Here’s a post from last year called “In Defense of Nickelback” and another one that suggests that Nickelback haters need to chillax a little. And here’s one more sober article worth reading.
Again, I’m not a fan. Just confused at this particular corner of human nature. There are many, many more things worth hating this much.