Here's the thing about Nickelback: They're coming to St. Paul's Xcel Energy Center on Aug. 6 to celebrate the 15th anniversary of hit album All The Right Reasons by playing it front-to-back (Scott Weiland-less Stone Temple Pilots open; more info here).
Here's the other thing about Nickelback: The Canadian rockers rule and you're boringly grasping at the lowest hanging fruit if you dunk on them.
Now, you could argue my exposure to Nickelback is limited to hearing hit singles like "How You Remind Me," "Photograph," and "Rockstar" in passing over the years. You wouldn't be wrong.
But I could argue Nickelback, those massively popular post-grunge tradesmen, operate from a space of zero pretense, humbly dishing out inoffensive radio rock to appreciative legions of fans. The world's most hated band knows they're not cool. They don't care. To an irony-poisoned individual like me (really... what exactly are my motives here?), that's refreshing. And another thing! I just listened to "How You Remind Me" four times on Spotify and feel comfortable deeming it a certified bop.
Elsewhere (OK, on 89.3 the Current), indie-rock bands like Fitz and the Tantrums, Cage the Elephant, the Lumineers, Foster the People, Of Monsters and Men, and fuckin' Dawes go unchecked, allowing gullible listeners to imagine they're hearing tasteful music. Nickelback would never dream of tricking you like that.
Yet the haters keep coming at poor ol' Nickelback. A petition to bump the Grammy-nominated group from the 2011 Thanksgiving Lions-Packers game attracted 55,000 signatures; Rolling Stone readers named them the No. 2 worst band of the '90s, just behind Creed; even President Donald Trump mocks 'em. Yet the four-piece punching bag perseveres, selling out arenas and paying haters no mind.
Dragging Nickelback is like an IPA drinker scoffing at a Miller High Life drinker -- maybe you're right, maybe you're wrong, but it's a bad look. There's an honest, populist homeliness about Chad Kroeger & Co., so spare them your tired barbs.
Take us out, boys!