Opinion: In defense of Nickelback


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The laziest jokes we can make in 2017 are the ones pertaining to Nickelback. These mean-spirited jokes about an aging band are petty, pretentious and most of all, unnecessary.

Understand that Nickelback, a product of the early 2000s, is allowed to age. And like everything from the early aughts, it doesn’t owe anyone the ability to age well. Looking back at the era of “How You Remind Me,” we can only blame ourselves for Chad Kroeger’s frosted tips. Not all music has to last forever, it just has to make a statement in the moment it existed in. And we cannot deny that Nickelback made a statement across every backyard barbecue and middle school dance for years.

So now we skip ahead 20 years from the band’s conception and we’re suddenly fixated on how uncool they are. Guess what? Every piece of pop culture you loved 20 years ago is probably kind of dumb. Nostalgia is a powerful drug, my friends. But I implore you to keep sucking it down. I learned to embrace the garbage of my youth long ago and I’m the happiest loser you’ll ever meet. Of course, you’re allowed to dislike whatever you want.

What would America be without its citizens holding a general disdain for things that make other people happy?

But disliking Nickelback is too easy. Actually, disliking anything is easy. But it’s simply re ex when everyone dislikes it. And because disdain for Nickelback is so vocal and relentless, it’s easy to act as if we’ve always felt this way. Like we didn’t have at least three Nickelback songs on our iPod Minis, or cry to “Photograph” during our 8th grade graduation.

Don’t think you’re above the pop culture that you allowed to inhabit your life. Growing out of the things we once cherished/tolerated is a natural part of life, as is growing bitter toward most things in general. However, it is when we outwardly deny the things we used to enjoy that the issue arises. Even if they were far away for far too long.

We can’t allow ourselves to fall to such a general, tired consensus about something that serves to entertain. And if you think that Nickelback exists for a reason other than to entertain, then maybe the problem isn’t Nickelback. Let go of your obsession that a bunch of Canadian bros need to be sending a message that’ll change the world.

And I must admit that my defense probably goes deeper than my knowledge of the lyrics to “Hero” (from the incomparable Tobey Maguire film “Spider-Man,” thank you very much).

Every time I see my little brother leave the house in his Nickelback shirt, I am filled with a pride that one must feel for a child using the potty for the first time. For those of you who are close with a younger sibling, you will understand that many of my words flow from that protective instinct of, “Don’t make fun of my sibling. I’m the only one allowed to make fun of my sibling.” My brother loves something that he is not supposed to. I wish we could all love something so much that we’d be willing to tolerate the nonsensical bullshit that comes from the insecurity of others.

I may never convince you to move on, and that’s your issue to be on a horse so high that you can hear heaven. If anything, remember that this is a band that is free of arrests, scandal and violence against women. So perhaps for just that, we can find a way to stop telling everyone how fucking cool we are for not liking a band from 2002.

And maybe, just maybe, we really could be rockstars.

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