There are few bands that get as much grief as poor, poor Nickelback, and now there’s new research that explains why you probably hate the band’s frontman, Chad Kroeger, so much.
Salli Anttonen, a cultural studies PhD student at the University of Eastern Finland, studied the nickelbacklash in her amazingly titled paper, “‘Hypocritical bullshit performed through gritted teeth’: Authenticity discourses in Nickelback’s album reviews in Finnish media.”
By examining reviews of the band published between 2000 and 2014, Anttonen determined that all the hatred is “not about the sound, but what values are attached to the sounds.”
Haters ride Nickelback for being inauthentic, faking their way through uninspired, uncool post-grunge for purely commercial purposes, Anttonen surmises. The Canadian group relies on tried-and-true soft rock tropes and rarely attempt to play anything innovative, sticking with what will reliably get radio play. Attacking Nickelback also makes critics look better, as she found that by “nullifying Nickelback’s authenticity, critics are actually authenticating themselves.”
“Nickelback is too much of everything to be enough of something,” she concludes. “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.”
If you’re looking for a Nickelback song that perfectly exemplifies Anttonen’s findings, might we suggest their 2005 track “Rockstar” for your listening, um, pleasure?