Sound — 8
Nickelback has a very distinct sound and this is the heaviest music they've released thus far. If you're looking for some simple get up and go music, this is the CD to get. They obviously decided to crank it up a notch yet still hold true to the music/lyric pattern that has made them so popular. Many songs, although, do sound somewhat overproduced. You can tell there was a lot of "clean up" with multiple layerings of Chad's voice as well as several enhanced guitar effects. Not to say that's bad but certainly far from some of the rawness heard from many songs on prior albums. The song "Side Of A Bullet" is a great Dimebag tribute and you can definitley hear his chops within that were added post-mortem. Photograph is a great song that really tells a story and puts you in the moment. Can't say that's the case with most of the other songs (which it doesn't need to be). Musically, this cd works well and some songs even make you want to drive faster or break something.
Lyrics — 6
The lyrics are another story. Most of the songs have a great sound musically and then the lyrics kick in and the disappointment begins. As I said, Photograph is the exception, especially if you watch the video. But listen to the song "Next Contestant" and you'll know what I mean. Good sound but he sings about how he's going to beat up the next guy that looks at or touches his stripper girlfriend and how they'll "Walk away in pain". That's the "Next Contestant." Huh? The song "Animal," again, has a good sound but lyrically is very thoughtless. He sings about how he, and presumably his stripper girlfriend from "Next Contestant," are driving down the road and "She has both hands on my gears." You're laughing now aren't you? Well, I was when I heard some of these songs. I expected something much better from these guys. Not that every song has to have some deep meaning or profound statement but some of these songs contain half drunk bar room napkin lyrics.
Overall Impression — 8
Overall this is still a good buy and you won't be disappointed if you already like Nickelback's sound, Chad's voice, and tuned-down, heavy handed power chords. I like this somewhat better than "The Long Road" but only somewhat. No matter what, you just can't beat Chad Kroeger's distinct voice in melody or in belting through the microphone, the song "Photograph," or the addition of Dimebag's licks to the very cool song "Side Of A Bullet." These 3 things alone are worth the 12 or 13 bucks to own it.