Shitfaced Nights and Blowjob Queens

A recently reunited nation confronts Nickelback's latest.

So if it's true that President Obama will bring us together as one nation to heal the wounds of the past eight years, end the Iraq War, bolster the middle class, teach the world to sing, and render the red-state/blue-state distinction irrelevant, then whither Nickelback?

What will become of the Canadian rockers whose meat-and-potatoes badassery has come to exemplify the Los Angeles Times-approved genre "flyover rock," an earnest and hedonistic style that elitist coastal types rarely even acknowledge, despite the fact that this band has sold a staggering 23 million albums? With W. now gone, what's to become of Hinder, Daughtry, 3 Doors Down, Saving Abel, Carolina Liar, Theory of a Deadman, Seether, Finger Eleven, Breaking Benjamin, Staind, Evanescence, Puddle of Mudd, and all the other acts the majority of the record-buying (as distinct from blog-reading) public actually financially supports, i.e., the bands defining rock 'n' roll at this particular moment in time? Will terrorist-palling elitists now have to somehow embrace records like Dark Horse? Because this could be tough.

Roadrunner Records

Even by Nickelback's standards, its latest album, Dark Horse, is ridiculously brazen, comically outsized, and defiantly Bruckheimeresque, which makes sense: It's produced by Mutt Lange, he of Def Leppard's Hysteria, ex-wife Shania Twain's Come on Over, and Bryan Adams' "(Everything I Do) I Do It for You" (a serious inspiration here). There's an almost touching clumsiness to Horse's opening trifecta, starting with the industrial beats and arc-welder guitars of "Something in Your Mouth," which notes, approvingly, "You're so much cooler when you never pull it out!" Next comes "Burn It to the Ground," its clomping drums and call-and-response "Hey!"s nicked from Gary Glitter, its lyrics from our greatest modern philosophers ("No class/No taste/No shirt/Shitfaced!"). To finish it off, there's the uplifting lead single "Gotta Be Somebody," in which frontman Chad Kroeger Big Gulp-belches, "There's gotta be somebody for me out there!" (Said person being, one concludes from the first two tracks, a mythical, contest-winning blowjob expert with a soft spot for shitkickers.)

The songs not explicitly about bonin' chicks concern such subjects as romancin' chicks ("I'd Come for You," an unapologetic quote of Bon Jovi's "I'll Be There for You"), the dangers of doing (the wrong) drugs ("Just to Get High," an unapologetic quote of GNR's "Mr. Brownstone"), and the power of positive thinking ("If Today Was Your Last Day," an unapologetic quote of Dr. Phil). The album closes with its best song, "This Afternoon," a monstrously catchy, feel-good country-rock tune about hanging out with your homies and "hittin' from the bong like a diesel train" while listening to CCR and Bob Marley: "Drink up/Fall down/Do it all again." Here, finally, is a sentiment all (North) Americans can get behind.

 
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