Most people remember their first memorable experience with bands. I usually recall most of those moments in my life, such as the first time I saw Paul Di’anno and early Iron Maiden singing “Running Free” or heard Pink Floyd’s “The Wall” while sitting at home with my parents big old headphones on.
With Nickelback, i don’t really recall a particular moment when i heard them and thought “yeah, these guys can bring it”. I know it was “Never again” that got me initially hooked, and seeing them at the M1 concert in Brisbane in 2001 added to that.
“Silver Side Up” was a truly great album. It was a solid rock album by a band determined to prove themselves. To this day it remains a truly great album. After that I went out and bought “Curb” and “The State”, but of which were monster albums; gritty by nature and glowing with potential.
But after that I fell away. The albums that followed “Silver Side Up” contained some great songs, but it felt like the band mellowed and kind of lost a bit of the style that made them so great. Every album has a monster song or 2 but on the whole I found myself disappointed.
So it was with a very cautious mind that I got their latest album, “Here and Now”. I remember thinking “ok lets put this one and see how it goes”. I expected to be disappointed. I expected to feel a bit let down.
I was wrong!
My ears were greeted with an explosion of sound as “This Means War” tore my cerebelum apart from the inside out. I found myself turning the sterio up, and up and up again, and then feeling angry when my sterio volume said “MAX”. Not since “Side of a bullet” had I felt this way about a Nickelback song! The angry, confrontational introduction to the album left me hanging for more!
Next up came “Bottoms Up”, and once again my body was shaken to the core with a solid rift, heavy drums and brilliant lyrics. A true rock song, a legit drinking song!
“When We Stand Together” was next, a thought provoking song that Nickelback are incredibly good at writing. The airplay has been overdone here in Australia, but there is not a lot of bad things I can say about this song. It’s mild, yeah, but to be honest, it is a great song!
What better way to follow up a thoughtful song than to don some ripped jeans, mess up the hair and rock out to a song that pays homage to all the dirty rock songs of the 80’s! “Midnight Queen” to me isn’t just a rock song, it’s a salute to the rock bands of the 70’s and 80’s who made heavy metal what it is. It has shades of Motley Crue, Guns and Roses, Kiss and other bands that made that classic metal / rock song a part of our lives. “Midnight Queen” takes us back to that era of music!
“Gotta Get Me Some” keeps with that tone. Most of us can probably relate to the song in one way or another. It’s simply a great song that gets in your head.
“Lullaby” comes next, and provides the milder style song that have made Nickelback so famous in previous years. This song has #1 single written all over it, it’s mild, has a good story and is designed for radio. Needless to say, it’s not one of my favorites, however, it IS a great song.
“Kiss It Goodbye” comes in at song #7. When this one started i didn’t like it. In fact, i came very close to skipping it, but then something happened… i really listened and found that it was different to many of their regular songs. It’s a great rock song, with great lyrics and once you let it in, it quickly becomes a favorite off the album.
Songs #8 and #9 (“Trying Not To Love You” and “Holding On To Heaven”) are to me, a duo in their own right. One you strip away the music, both are great love songs, written to fantastic music.
“Everything I Wanna Do” kicks back in the rock and again brings up that classic gritty style of classic rock music. If the last 2 songs are a duo, then this one is the trilogy ending song along with “Midnight Queen” and “Gotta Get Me Some”.
Then comes the last song on the album, “Don’t Ever Let It End”. I can’t lie, it’s a story, put to music. It is very much the style of song you would expect from a country singer; where the song is ALL about the story, and the music is only there to compliment the tale. I LOVE this song! It’s not the type of song I would normally get into by Nickelback, but I have to admit, this one is simply brilliant. It will make you smile, even if you’re in a bad mood. It’s simply so good, you have to stop yourself from imaging it’s not actually Nickelback!
In short, “Here and Now” is quite simply an incredible album! I would go as far as to say it’s their best album to date! I find myself wanting to listen to it more and more, and I did not expect that. Kudos to Chad and the boys, you have delivered a truly fantastic album, and thank you for that.