Why we love to hate Nickelback
In July this year a man had to be rescued by firefighters after falling down a 12-metre gorge while trying to sneak into a Nickelback concert in the US. Despite his physical injuries, he was immediately sent to a psychiatrist rather than a hospital - I mean, who in their right mind would try to sneak into a Nickelback concert?
OK, I made up that second bit, but the first part is true. It's just too easy to poke fun at a band whose singer, Chad Kroeger, recently gave his detractors a free kick by becoming engaged to the equally annoying fellow Canadian Avril Lavigne, thus forming an unholy union known as Chavril.
Want more jokes? Glad you asked.
If you play a Nickelback song backwards you hear satanic messages, but that's better than playing it forwards because then you hear Nickelback.
Warning! If you receive an email with a link offering you the new Nickelback album, do not click on it! It's not a virus. It actually links you to the new Nickelback album.
Q. How many guitarists does Nickelback need to rock?
Why does everyone hate Nickelback? That question is not the first part of another joke. The last 18 months have been particularly volatile for Kroeger and the lads. When it was announced last year that the band was playing the half-time show at a big Thanksgiving Day football game in Detroit, 50,000 people signed a petition trying to stop them.
A dating site called Tastebuds.fm did a survey on its users' biggest musical turn-offs. Justin Bieber, who is used to being No.1 at everything, could only manage No.2, followed by Lady Gaga, Kesha and Coldplay. You already know who was No.1, right? Yep. In a landslide.
Obviously not everyone hates Nickelback. They've sold 50 million albums and unless their fan base is solely made up of masochists, presumably these people like their music. Over the past decade they've been the biggest-selling foreign band in the US after the Beatles.
The thing is, these facts contribute to why they're hated. People decry their success, pointing out that they're boring or repetitive or sexist or stupid. But lots of bands are boring or repetitive or sexist or stupid. Limp Bizkit are all of those things at the same time (plus a few other things, like boorish, irrelevant, etc), but who can be bothered giving them a hard time? It would be like pretending to be frightened by that demonic Marilyn Manson's crazy antics.
You may be scratching your head right now trying to figure out if you actually know a Nickelback song, yet you still have a nagging feeling that it sucks. Their naff-ness is that strong. At some point it was decided that Nickelback was a better punchline than Creed or Matchbox Twenty, who are equally irksome, but not nearly as much fun to send up.
To a certain extent Nickelback have to take responsibility for this. Whether he's singing a riff-heavy rocker or a phones-in-the-air ballad, Kroeger's voice has one setting, and that setting is ''constipated musk ox''.
It could also be said that Nickelback's lyrics are a series of lame double entendres strung together, like a musical version of Kathy Lette's prose, sung by a constipated musk ox. This would be unfair to double entendres. A lot of Nickelback's songs are single entendres, and not pretty ones. Take this delightful couplet: ''You're so much cooler when you never pull it out/ 'cause you look so much cuter with something in your mouth.'' The very first line of Figured You Out is ''I like your pants around your feet.''
To their credit, the band have fought back by poking fun at themselves. The music video for their song This Afternoon is based around a bunch of nerds organising a party. The head nerd is excited as a van arrives with the musical entertainment. When it turns out his friends have bound, gagged and kidnapped Nickelback, the look on his face passes from disappointment to derision. ''Nickelback?'' he says with an exasperated sigh. ''You got me Nickelback?'' Yes, even nerds hate Nickelback.
Unfortunately after this little bit of self-parody comes the song itself, which sounds like something co-written by Jack Johnson and Smash Mouth, and sung by a constipated musk ox. And that's no joke.
Nickelback play Auckland's Vector Arena on 30 November.
-Sydney Morning Herald