You know, I really try to approach every music review with very little expectations; I’ve found that it makes it much easier for me to truly sit back and enjoy what the artists are doing on any album. This may not make me the best critic in the world, however, because I tend to ignore some of what’s come before musically, lyrically, historically, etc. … but I think it keeps me true to myself.
That said, today’s Nickelback doesn’t sound like yesterday’s Nickelback so much. Sure, three albums ago, they may’ve had a harder edge, whereas today’s Nickelback does seem to flirt more with a mainstream sound. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing; I think the great danger it poses to a group is that may develop a bit of predictability … but ask any serious Nickelback fan from the group’s first album IF he would’ve expected the band to end up here and I’ll bet THAT he never would’ve predicted. It shows that the band has tried to evolve, which is more than many bands ever try to do. It shows that they’re striving for staying power — growing a fan base — and I can give ‘em props for that.
Something in Your Mouth (4.5 out of 5)
Wake the kids, folks, we’re talking serious sex education here with rock’n'roll the way it was meant to be rocked and rolled.
Burn It to the Ground (5 out of 5)
Classic bad boy rock.
Gotta Be Somebody (4.5 out of 5)
Hear me out on this one, heavy metal purists. Somewhere between writing music and selling records, every artist has had to reach a compromise. Around the time the band penned & performed “Photograph,” metal purists wrote off Nickelback saying that they went ‘mainstream’ in order to cash in But even Robert Downey Jr convinced Gwenyth Paltrow to take a role in IRON MAN by asking her, “Aren’t you tired of making these great little films that no one sees?” Cut Nickelback some slack. With “Photograph” and tracks like “Gotta Be Somebody,” they’re selling MORE records, bringing more fans to their music, and growing the biz. Hats off, boys.
I’d Come for You (4.5 out of 5)
Nothing much to add other than the score. Like the sound, like the sentiments. I’ll leave it at that.
Next Go Round (5 out of 5)
Serious headbangers are gonna need an MRI after listening to this one. Thank God for metal.
Just to Get High (3.5 out of 5)
Drugs destroy lives. It’s about time someone started fighting back.
Never Gonna Be Alone (4.5 out ot 5)
Great rock ballad. Even safe for weddings! Love lasts. It ought to be celebrated.
Shakin’ Hands (11 out of 5!!!)
Now that’s what I call rock. “She ain’t no Cinderella while she’s getting undressed b/c she rocks it like the naughty Wicked Witch of the West!” Sure, she didn’t get that far by “shakin’ hands.” Best bad li’l girl song I’ve heard in a long while.
S.E.X. (4.5 out of 5)
Spelling was never this fun in school. Only metal could write a song like this. You don’t hear Martina McBride singing it.
If Today Was Your Last Day (3.5 out of 5)
This territory has already been probed by any musical style. Not a bad song, just nothing new here. Been there, done that. And, yes, Martina McBride has even sung about it.
This Afternoon (4 out of 5)
What?! Dare I say it … a feel/good song? Major props for mentioning CCR (Credence Clearwater Revival, for the uninitiated). It’s easy to forgive such confections, though it does feel more than just a bit out of place on this album.
Overall, a very solid experience. A bit uneven on sound — maybe vacillating too much toward mainstream rock than most folks (even critics) would’ve liked, but I’ll forgive Nickelback for putting in the effort. There’s plenty here to celebrate, even for a “Dark Horse”.