Dark Horse


Roadrunner, 2008


REVIEW BY: Paul Hanson


My sixteen year-old niece lent me this album. "Some of the songs are really bad," she said. Ahem. Yes, some of them are really bad for a sixteen year-old to listen to on a repeated basis. Out of eleven songs on this release, a majority are either about sex, drugs, or drinking. The remaining material talks about relationships and moving on with life despite what is handed to you. This is a well-oiled machine. Nickelback continues to walk the line, presenting themselves as a band for adults while at the same time targeting a younger generation in order to generate record sales. Vocalist/guitarist Chad Kroeger continues to lead his band in figuring out the balance between these two motives.

Adults get the first two tracks. The sleazy rock of "Something In Your Mouth" has been overplayed ad nauseum on my local rock station, and I'd imagine you've heard it, too. I used to hear it on my way to work, and then I'd hear it on my way home from work. It was like every person in my region hadn't bought this album and needed to hear it each day. That song, however, is not played nearly as much as the over-the-top second single, "Burn It To the Ground," which talks about drinking and doing shots of straight Crown. First of all, anyone who thinks taking shots of Crown Royal is a good thing is crazy. Slam your cheaper booze, but Crown? Savor the aroma, please. The song itself is perfect if you are going out on the town for a night you want to forget. Similar to Godsmack's current single "Whiskey Hangover," the wrong message is sent to underage fans so, wearing my parent hat, I'm not pleased with it. Musically, I'm all in.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Then we get to the ballads. First, there’s the gushy, romantic "Gotta Be Somebody," which is similar to "Someday" and "How You Remind Me" in song structure. The speaker in the song is optimistic, hoping that there is somebody in the world for him. The equally sappy (and probably the token lighter song at the band's concerts) is "I'd Come For You." Look for it to be the band's next single.  With the commercially acceptable subject matter – relationships – out of the way, they crank it up with "Next Go Round," during which vocalist Kroeger goes through a litany of sex positions he wants to use with his woman.

The most unique song on this release is definitely "Just To Get High," a pseudo ballad during which Kroeger describes his former best friend who fell into the throes of drug addiction. It's a powerful song that, unfortunately, is too serious for the band to release as a single. Not when they can release "Shakin' Hands" or "S.E.X.,” – both more romps about sex and intimacy.

By this point, if you haven't given up on this release, you're ready for the question "If Today Was Your Last Day." And Nickelback attempt to answer it with a song that has a video during which all enemies forgive each other and friends reunite and all is good. The album, though, doesn't end with that philosophical thought. Oh, no, it ends with "This Afternoon," a song about drinking and hanging out with friends. In that kind of a situation, this song really would be perfect.

Nickelback knows what to do to make their fans happy. They know they need to walk the fine line between songs about sex and songs not about sex. Like Motley Crue and other mainstream bands that straddled both markets, Nickelback is not a dumb band. They have constructed an album that is satisfying. Still, parents, if your child says they want this release, my advice is not to buy it for them.

Rating: B

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2009 Paul Hanson and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Roadrunner, and is used for informational purposes only.