Scientific Explanation Behind Why People Hate Nickelback

April 18, 2017


While I was seeking keywords for this article some of the most frequent ones that cropped up were: why Nickelback sucks, Nickelback memes, Nickelback jokes, why Nickelback is hated, why Nickelback is the worst band in the world, etc; so, now that I managed to insert them all into my opening paragraph for SEO reasons, let’s delve a little bit deeper into this Nickelback matter and see what is actually wrong with this picture, or should we say “photograph” ( graph?).

Why People Hate Nickelback?

If you spend at least half an hour a day on social media, chances are you’ve stumbled upon a myriad of memes making fun of Chad Kroeger and his band Nickelback. Regardless of how popular the band is and how many albums they are selling each year, they just can’t seem to win over the hearts of critics, the general public, and the Internet which just loves to hate this band.

Perceived As Inauthentic

Salli Anttonen, the University of Finland doctoral student, studied Finnish reviews of the band between 2000 and 2014, and decided to write a paper on the subject.

The paper is titled: Hypocritical Bullshit Performed Through Gritted Teeth: Authenticity Discourses in Nickelback’s Album Reviews in Finnish Media and is available here.

It appears that people simply don’t like the fact that the band isn’t experimenting with their music and are always playing it safe, which is seen as “going commercial.”

Although some early reviews of Nickelback were rather positive, the band clearly went mainstream, which lead music enthusiasts to perceive them as the douches who were “in it just for the money, rather than artistic expression.”

“Their songs are ‘optimally safe’, where ‘everything is up to par with the requirements of the genre’, and which create ‘an illusion of hard rock’ (Ojala 2002),” Anttonen writes, and continues:

“The music is described as being ‘fake’ (Riikonen 2012), ‘forced’ (Hilden 2011) and ‘performed through gritted teeth’ (Riikonen 2012). Van der San (2011) claims that Nickelback is ‘calculatingly hit-focused. Overall, the descriptions imply that the songs are not genuine self-expression written willingly, but instead forced and made for commercial reasons.”

Tried-And-Tested Music Formulas

Salli Anttonen adds that Nickelback is boring because they follow tried-and-tested music formulas never adding anything new to their songs, which is why their music has been far from innovative over the years.

Band members are also said to be hypocritical as they sing about drinking, but are almost never seen chugging a beer (cheeky bastards).

She summarizes her research by explaining why this band will always be hated, no matter what they decide to do in the future:

Nickelback is too much of everything to be enough of something. They follow genre expectations too well, which is seen as empty imitation, but also not well enough, which is read as commercial tactics and as a lack of a stable and sincere identity.”

I will round up the article with a Nickelback anecdote from my own life: A few years ago, I was walking by a parked car, with the metal-head-looking driver still in it and listening to “Photograph” by Nickelback. I looked at him and he immediately said: “It’s going from the radio, I swear!”

We both laughed.