The Unpopular Concert Photographer: I Like Nickelback

Lizzy's picture
Tuesday, December 23, 2014 - 12pm

For those who don't know me yet, I'm a concert photographer based out of North Carolina. I've covered just about every mainstream rock show and festival to come through the state for the past five years, and I'm at a point where I'm frequently asked for advice and questions. Unfortunately, I don't often hold the popular opinion - but I figured this blog would be a perfect place and fun opportunity for me to explain the reasoning behind my unpopular opinions.

This being the inaugural blog post, I wanted to start with a topic that would truly put a nail in my unpopular opinion coffin. So despite not being photography relevant, I can't think of anything better (or perhaps worse?) to jump right into than one of the most controversially hated bands of our time: Nickelback! >I'd say 9/10ths of the time I tell someone, "I like Nickelback," the response I get is one of: "Ugh," "Ew," "WTF?" "(groaning) Whhhyyyy?" and/or "I think I just lost my respect for you." My response? I usually just smile and shrug.

Inside, however, I'm now slightly annoyed with that person because they've made a judgement call on me based on one band I listen to. One out of thousands. I am a music lover. My dad raised me on classical music, my mom and I used to relax to Yanni. My best friend in 2nd grade had me addicted to Amy Grant, then throughout the rest of elementary school, my sister and I feuded over Backstreet Boys and N'Sync (I was going to marry Justin Timberlake). Eventually, one of my cousins put a pair of headphones over my ears and blasted "Click, Click, Boom" by Saliva and I haven't stopped listening to rock music since. But I've gone through friends and relationships that took me through bonfires singing "Strawberry Wine" by Deana Carter and being able to bust out the worst white girl rap rendition of T.I.'s "Rubberband Man." The gist being, if my friendship or your respect for has any correlation to what I listen to, then eventually you're going to be let down.

I like Nickelback because "Bottom of a Bottle" and "Photograph" give me silly memories of horrible sing-a-longs with my two best friends in middle school. Nickelback is regularly judged upon how hollow their lyrics are, but songs are not solely about lyrics, in my opinion. Sometimes it's about the instruments. And sometimes it's more about nostalgia and an association with a certain time in life, as is the case here.

I like Nickelback because they are a recognizable band. I hear so many people complain that every Nickelback song sounds the same, but to me, that isn't a bad thing. They put out a new song and I can immediately identify it as Nickelback the first time I hear it. Chad Kroger actually took the time to analyze why certain songs did so well, and then produced more like it. It makes perfect sense. If something succeeds - why wouldn't you want to go that route? And yet... they are criticized for using blatant common sense and ultimately catch hell for sounding the same. Conversely, if they were to put out a new album that was a total deviation from previous ones, they would inevitably catch hell for not sounding like themselves. Band irrelevant, it seems like "fans" put all music makers against uneven odds and hold them to impossible standards.

I like Nickelback because they put on an impressive live show. It's extremely rare to go to a show and hear songs sound as clean as on a studio album, but Nickelback does. Chad's voice is unwavering. They have an interactive stage presence. They move around, the crowd sings along, there is pyro and fireworks. Even if you don't like their music, you are not bored at this show. I liked Nickelback before seeing them live, but after seeing them live, I felt like I had solid enough grounds to actively challenge the haters.

Finally, I like Nickelback because they don't mind being hated. In fact, in an interview Chad said he was thankful for the haters because, "They keep ragging on the band. If they had stopped writing all this stuff about us, there would be no controversy left in the band and we probably would have died out years ago." And it couldn't be more true. The people hating the most are the ones that keep Nickelback going. Much the same in my life. The people who tell me my dreams are impractical and unrealistic only motivate me further to prove them wrong.

The saddest part of it all is that I can't figure out where all the hate stems from. Silly as it may be, I did read and do research on this exact topic, trying to hear out the two sides - but my hands are still coming up empty. All I can figure is that Nickelback is hated because they don't actually give anyone a reason to hate them. If you're one of those people that loves to hate, next time someone asks you why you hate Nickelback, a response as simple as, "It's not my preferred genre of music," or "I don't like his voice," would be taken with appreciation in opposition to the blank stares I usually get or the snarky, "Why wouldn't I hate them?"s.

Related:
10 Controversial Reasons Nickelback Is Actually Awesome

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