Ayo Jegede
reviews editor
April 06, 2004
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Nickelback
The Long Road

does anyone remember when, in 1984, John Fogerty's record label Fantasy sued him for plagiarizing...himself? 'Old Man Down The Road' from Fogerty's only successful album Centerfield, Fantasy protested, was simply a carbon copy of CCR's 1970 hit 'Run Through The Jungle.' even in his half-life following CCR's precarious and global fame Fogerty could smell the shit Fantasy record had used to try and desecrate his career. but perhaps echoing a kind of chivalrous, weighty defense of utmost artistic honesty, Fogerty's court battle would be seen as merely a joke worthy only of watercooler gamming. the very idea of defending yourself against your former self is, at best, ontologically humorous and, at worst, pretty fuckin' ludicrous. but in that process Fogerty implicitly took a bullet for every musician, from Neil Young to Beck, who identified with artistic liberalism. part of the suit against Fogerty was a simple matter of artistic control and the unspoken contractual pressures placed on numerous musicians to produce a viable product. well if Fogerty gave Fantasy records a couple of nightmares then Nickelback is every record company's wet dream.

Chad Kroeger told Billboard that Nickelback and Tool aren't too dissimilar of artistic entities. his argument was that there is nothing wrong with pop-Rock since, hey, Tool's sold a few million records. it must mean that Tool's pop(ular) as well and their groups share a substantive bond fractured only by continuous airplay, video play, marketing, and songwriting. try this: take 'How You Remind Me' from Silver Side Up and 'Someday' from The Long Road and play them simultaneously. now there will be some overlap in the lyrics--there may be some initial cacophony--but what you hear overall is nothing more than a miraculous, almost scientific conjoining of both songs. this isn't just time signatures being the same, i'm talking of the guitar plucks and breaks being exactly on top of each other. congratulations, you've just listened to the accusations of artistic incest Fogerty was trying to avoid 20 years ago. now i know that Tool has sold a substantial amount of records and are 'popular,' but i think we can discount the argument of popularity-as-pop-music.

Nickelback is essentially midwest arena rock, in the same vein as 3 Doors Down and Puddle of Mudd. even in the video for 'Figured You Out' as the camera pans to the audience, there's a distinct feeling of Christian insurrection; they're all there to 'rock out!' the night before they leave for Ivy Tech State College.* the band's seething discontent and unrelenting bellyaches are blunted by non-threatening (and duplicate) song-writing and singing. friends who've heard me voice my opinion on the band have dismissed it as being too summary of a judgment of a group that is already under-appreciated by musical snobs such as myself. that would be true if the band had changed even a minutia of their musical signature through four albums. i was actually taken aback when i learned that they made so many and makes a 'best of' compilation, well, pretty much a joke. i'm not asking for an Adore or Phantom Planet--both albums i appreciate--but at the very least they should make sure their songs don't overlap. literally.

Mr. Fogerty, i salute you!

*i used Ivy Tech not to demean anyone who attends the school but simply as a staple of the mid-west.

Release date: September 23, 2003
Label: Roadrunner
Rating: 0.1 / 10

[RMR]