All The Right Reasons
For years, I’ve singlehandedly been the president and leader of the organization known as the “Nickelback Ruined Rock” club. Not that it was a new concept, but Nickelback’s rise to prominence proved that if radio plays a song enough times, average talent can be heralded as great. “How You Remind Me” proved just that. Nickelback, with their marginal singer and average musical writing and playing ability, found their way to becoming the huge, thus opening the door for even less talented acts like Staind, Smile Empty Soul, and (insert your favorite generic “modern rock” band name here) to become major players with the 15-24 crowd. Their followup album to the massive Silver Side Up, Long Road was best summed up by a reviewer on cduniverse.com, who states “there are many things wrong with this album, not least of which is the appalling sameness that invades each and every song. if you have heard one song, you have heard them all. I bought this CD and promptly wanted my nickel back. Disappointing. End communication.” LONG ROAD was a flop overall, and left people wondering if the short, trendy reign of Nickelback was over.
Apparently, it isn’t. All The Right Reasons debuted at the top of the Billboard charts, and sold a very surprising 335,000 copies in it’s first week. There is a major difference between All The Right Reasons and Long Road though…it’s a damn good record. While I’d love to hate this, I just can’t. No, Nickelback isn’t any more talented than in the past, but they’ve written better songs this time out. Where most of their past work was filled with formulaic material without much substance, there are some very strong songs here. “Photograph”, for example, is the most meaningful song this band has ever put on an album. It’s instantly memorable, and relatable to anyone sitting at home listening to tunes while revisiting memories of their past. Nickelback has always tried to write songs of substance, but usually failed in an effort to fill the lyrics and song structure with hooks to make them successful at radio. While I won’t say that there’s material here that’s written for radio, it seems like the band has taken more of a “radio-be-damned” attitude this time out. Songs like “Next Contestant”, “Fight For All The Wrong Reasons” and “Animals” are prime examples of songs that are filled with sexual connotation that the FCC would feel listeners aren’t mature enough to handle.
Vocalist Chad Kroeger seems to really have found his stride as a songwriter on All The Right Reasons. On past records, he seemingly went out of his way to force lyrics that fit with the music (ie: “Never Again”). This time around, he’s really captured the message of each song a lot better. Songs like “Side Of A Bullet” especially capture the honesty of the message. The song, written about the murder of Ex-Pantera guitarist Dimebag Darrell and featuring a solo from Dimebag’s archives, is extremely poignant. You can feel the emotion pouring out of Kroeger on this one. Equally emotional is the theme song for finding that special someone, titled “If Everyone Cared”. While I’m certainly not saying that Kroeger has become Bruce Springsteen or Bob Dylan as a songwriter, I am saying that there’s a marked improvement here from past releases.
PITRIFF RATING – 8/10 – One of the absolute surprises of the year to date. Considering that most reviewers had their “it’s generic, it stinks, I wish they would go away” review pre-penned awaiting only the song titles to plug into it, this is a really strong effort from this Canadian quartet. It’s got radio hits on it, but more importantly, it doesn’t feel as if it’s written solely for radio airplay. It’s a good rock record, period. If you liked them before, you will undoubtedly like this. If you didn’t, you may still enjoy this one.Powered by Sidelines