Review of Nickelback – No Fixed Address

January 13, 2015 3:56 pm

Is there a more hated band in the world than Nickelback? The types of reactions they receive is generally reserved for the perpetrators of the most serious of crimes. Some would tell you that their music is a serious crime. They will tell you that it is generic, soulless and all sounds the same. So, how would you feel if they try something new?

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No Fixed Address is the eighth studio album from the multi-million selling Canadian rockers, fronted by Chad Kroeger, who was once voted the most hated man in music. With this album, the first since 2011′s Here and Now, the band themselves said they would try something different and that it wouldn’t sound like a typical Nickelback album. For the most part, it sounds exactly like a Nickelback album. When the band try something new, it does sound different. The problem is different does not always mean good.

The album kicks off with “Million Miles an Hour”, which focuses on the immediate effects of taking drugs. This is the first song where it can clearly be heard the band are trying something different. Kroeger’s vocals sound like he recorded them underwater, and includes lyrics like “you and I are tripping balls.” Now, it is fair to say that Nickelback’s lyrics have never been their strong point. If you aren’t sure of this, go and listen to “Photograph” from fifth album All the Right Reasons, which is lyrically one of the worst songs ever made. With the previously mentioned “tripping balls” line, they have achieved a completely ridiculous lyric which doesn’t fit the tone of the song.

Amazingly, it isn’t even the worst lyrics on the album. That accolade is reserved for fourth track, “She Keeps me Up.” The song is another example of the band trying something different, with a verse structure that doesn’t sound unlike something that Stevie Wonder would put out during his “Superstitious” period, such is the vibe of the song. The song is about a common Nickelback subject; Sex. Lyrically, the chorus may be a new low, worse than “Photograph.” The chorus contains the lines “Funky little monkey, she’s a twisted trickster. Everybody wants to be the sisters Mr. Coca-Cola, roller coaster. Love her even though I’m not supposed to.” As you can see, these are hardly the lyrics of a high order. It is also another weak point for the album.

Another weak point is track 10, “Got Me Runnin’ Round”, which has a guest appearance from rap/pop star Flo Rida. Once again, this is a track where the band have tried something different, with a tune that has a latin-funk edge. It is another weak point for the album. You may be thinking that all the weak points are where the band have tried something new. You’d be correct. When they have tried something new, they have shown their limitations.

The only times when the album really has any level of enjoyment for the listener (providing you are a Nickelback fan) is when they do what they have done for the seven previous albums. Songs like “Edge of a Revolution” and “Get Em Up” provide the typical rock stomp that the band have done for years, while “What Are You Waiting For” is this albums potential million-selling ballad, with its message of don’t waste your time waiting, and go for your dreams now. Again, not new lyrical ground for Nickelback.

For years, people have been saying that Nickelback never do anything new. Now they have, people who hated them previously will still hate them now. They may have done something different, but it hasn’t worked. The album comes across like the band are desperate for some sort of wider acceptance. The problem is that in searching for the new fans, they have risked alienating their old ones. The fans who have bought the 50 million albums they have sold have clearly said with their money that they were happy with the standard Nickelback sound. Whether they accept the new sound remains to be seen.

2 stars

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  • Roland

    I kind of liked this album. No fixed address is nothing to write home about, but it was good enough for me. I guess it’s all subjective. I might catch them on Nickelback tour of 2015, if I get some time off.

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