#2 Nickelback – Dark Horse

All I can start by saying is that these guys have done it yet again. Another year, another tour, another album, and another incredible piece of music. I don’t care how many times the radio can play Photograph this band will go down as the modern day U2. And I do not even care if you get mad at that statement. You hate them, I know you do. You are sitting there wondering why you are even bothering to read this post. But you have to learn why every show they play at bigger venues every year sells out. They could play any venue you put them in and sell it out because of their pure rock hard style and their incredible guitar playing.

I have a history with these guys. When I went to my first concert (yeah, the first one ever) it was to see these guys at then called Deer Creek. I was working at Kroger at the time and we got promotions for shows from Ticketmaster all the time. This was one of them. I was given two tickets to see Nickelback after they first hit the scene. These rockers put on not only one of the best shows I have ever seen to date, they influenced me to become a concert addict.

Nickelback has, in the past, been able to produce albums that have cliche lyrics, typical guitar riffs, and still find a way to melt your face as they scream across the speakers. And I am sure a lot of you are talking right now about his voice. Sure, his voice sounds like he is trying too hard. He sounds like he is in pain when he sings. But that is the beauty of his voice. He has anger in his voice without even trying. That is partly why every song you hear is a rock hard punch in the face. They can’t play slow music. It is not in them. His voice might not be the best one in the industry today but these guys continue to impress me.

This album is a move in a direction I hope they stay away from. If you listen to the album for the first time you have a sense of country in there when you are finished. You hear a Metallica meets Kenny Chesney matched with some ZZ Top. You get some old school guitar solos and some country beats but with hard hitting lyrics that sometimes offend.

I say offend loosely. Half the songs on this album have titles that are directly realted to sex, prostitutes, stippers, and just pure unruly behavior. Take the song Something in Your Mouth. What the heck do you think this song will be about? A tootsie pop? Use your imagination until you hear this album though. Don’t just take my word for it.

Their first single Gotta Be Somebody actually stands pretty tall on this album. Like I said with the Archuleta album, they usually don’t. And I am sure this song will get the same treatment as Photograph did, which is fine. There are so many other great songs on this album that I can listen to. I don’t need a set of singles to be happy. Leaves more of a reason for you to go buy the album. But this single is something we can all relate to. No one wants to be alone. No one wants to be left in the dark looking for love. But we have all been there. Most of us might be there now. Thier lyrics are not always sexual and in that rock hard fashion, just usually.

The main reason why I like this album is because as similar as it sounds to all their other stuff, it is way more mature than their previous albums. The writing, again ignore the fact they are packed with sexual innuendos, is better. His voice is not struggling to find it’s range. I almost feel that he has accepted his sound and is using that to their advantage. And this album makes me want to see them again in concert. I have never paid to see the same band twice. I refuse. I have seen them twice, paying to see Hoobastank and they just happened to be the headliner, but not to see them. But this year might change that. They currently have no Indianapolis dates planned but I might be willing to head to Chicago to see these guys play this album. It is just that good.

But as you sit there you keep saying to yourself, “I hate his voice. I hate their routine sound. I hate how every song sounds the same.” And trust me, I hear you. A fellow coworker and friend of mine said the same thing. I asked him to trust me. I “forced” him to listen to the entire thing before he said anything about it. He did. He liked it. He still thinks that Chad’s voice is awful, but the album did something for him.

Again, I keep going back to the sexual connotations of the album. Lines like, “You know that I always come for you,” just do not seem to be radio friendly. Of course I can not get Matt Nathenson’s song Come on Get Higher out of my head. And everyone says that song is 100% sexual. Maybe my mind is just not as much in the gutter as all of yours. But this Nickelback album, as sexually obvious as it is, does in fact produce an incredible set of tracks. It rocks all the way through.

Buy the album. Listen to it loud. And I guarantee that the more you hear it the more you will like it. I would highly suggest every single other Nickelback album as well. They just continue to impress. They will keep making great hits until they retire. But I do not see that for a long long time. This might just be the best thing Canada has ever produced.