Album Review — 28 November 2011

By Liz Belilovskaya

Sometimes a band comes along that lacks originality and/or emotional resonance yet still mysteriously manages to attract a loyal fanbase. Nickelback is such a band. Their latest album, Here And Now follows their career in the same vein; it’s a largely unremarkable album that is neither awesomely bad nor terribly good, but people will end up liking it for some ephemeral reason.

The album begins with “This Means War,” a decent track (one of the best on the album) that is fast and rhythmic. Drums evenly beat away as distorted guitars reign over them with roaring bass. While jumping and dancing away in some mosh-pit to this track is possible, the lyrics “the only thing to say is the banner that you wave to be wrapped around your grave” dampen the frenzied fun.

“Bottoms Up” keeps the adrenaline going and the mood rowdy on this ode to excessive drinking. While the sonic tone is slightly less aggressive on this one, the theme of the song is about partying with your friends so hard, that the pure number of drunk people in your company will be too much for the bouncers to handle and you will not be kicked out of the bar.

Next hails “When We Stand Together.” It is very popish, slower, a lot more instrumental and very different from the two tracks preceding it. It certainly looks like Nickelback took a risk on this record and while it’s not bad by its self, in the compilation it feels unnatural. “They tell us everything’s alright and we just go along, how can we sleep at night when something’s clearly wrong?” ask the lyrics.

Following up is “Midnight Queen,” a very unoriginal, aggressive and heavy piece about hanging out in some deathtrap bar where a badass bartender chick makes it all (the trouble to be encountered) worth the while. “She’s gonna be my midnight Queen and I can’t get enough of the things she does” laments the singer. “Gotta Get Me Some” is of a similar nature – about a girl drinks a lot and is super hot. “God almighty, look at that body.” Yup. It has a slower tempo but it’s heavy with a good beat and likable tone.

“Lullaby” is a much slower song about a much deeper issue. The piano intro already sets it apart from what came before. The quality of the sound is calm and soothing, with lyrics that reveal a struggling person about to commit suicide, who is being soothed by a hope-inspired ballad, “Just give it one more try, a lullaby…”.

The pace renews with “Kiss It Goodby,” another high energy heavy track, concerned with the different levels of corrupt ugliness of Hollywood and the media. The lyrics mention that the East Coast star power tends to be on cocaine while the West Coast smokes a lot of marijuana as both sides give into false comforts and fake beauty, breeding corruption, disease and the poison of reality TV.

“Trying Not To Love You” is a little more instrumental, a bit slow-natured and tad more neutral musically. It is about a man who is trying very hard to avoid falling in love with a woman but the more he tries the more he fall for her. While the concept sounds sweet, in terms of audio interest, if fails to build any. “Holding On To Heaven” is also boring and similarly uneventful with lyrics lamenting “every time i’m with you, I feel like i’m holding on to heaven.”

“Everything I Wanna Do” is a little more interesting than the preceding two love songs, with a heavy but slow bent. The song is about a girl who has a very dirty persona and loves to get dirty during sex being submissive yet adventurous. “Don’t Every Let It End,” the last song on the album, is decidedly more adult, depicting two friends who have been in love for a long time but were to terrified to take their friendship to the next level.

Nickelback is an established band that lacks that real rockstar credibility, yet they somehow float above the negative reviews and ridicule of critics. There is something unmistakably magnetic about them since they have been around for almost 15 years but still haven’t released an awesome record. Their music fails to evolve with each album, the lyrics are consistently less-than lustrous but a few hits across the years keep the band in the mainstream and in your music arsenal. Add Here And Now to the meh.

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