Sound — 7
Over the past several album releases, Nickelback has become the band that everyone loves to hate. Maybe that reputation is deserved for their songwriting which is almost a caricature of formulaic songwriting, or possibly even for the repetitive lyrical themes: sex, strippers and drinking. I'll admit that I was definitely in that category of music listeners who looked at Nickelback with almost disgust, but I've been trying to listen to "Here And Now" with fresh ears. Back in the day, with the release of their first albums, "The Curb" and "The State" you saw a different band, or maybe just the same band without the preconceived notions going in to listen to them.
Nickelback was formed in 1995 by three Kroegers (Chad, Mike and Brandon) and Ryan Peake. They released their first album almost immediately ("Curb"), almost immediately after the release of their debut EP, "Hesher" in 1996. Brandon Kroeger left the band in 1997, replaced by Mitch Guindon who was replaced by Ryan Vikedal in 1998. Ryan Vikedal was replaced by Daniel Adair in 2005 and is still with the band. The other three members have stayed with the band since being founded. Chad Kroeger began, reputedly in 2001, dissecting all hit songs on the radio to understand the formula for creating hit singles. Since then, Nickelback has had numerous hit singles and earned the enmity of a large portion of music listeners for what is seen as formulaic songwriting and insincerity.
"Here And Now" is mostly heavier rock, or alternative metal with a few softer songs. The album clocks in at just under 40 minutes with 11 tracks. The riffs are very catchy, and being completely honest, if these came on the radio I would not turn the station. If I was going out partying with friends then I might want the album as our traveling soundtrack. Formulaic? Yes. Repetitive lyrical themes? Yes. Rockin? Yes. The songs on "Here And Now" seem to be consistently good, musically. There are a few tracks that are a little bland, but for the most part the riffs are powerful. The soloing isn't extensive, but in good taste and adding to the overall song. At the end of the day, taken as a single work and not part of a collective of albums, "Here And Now" is a solid release and is a very fun album to listen to.
Lyrics — 6
I've kind of grown to look at Nickelback the same way I looked at Poison back in 1992 when I was first really getting into music. Poison made some good rockin' tracks, then made some tracks "for the ladies", so to speak. Nickelback does the same thing. Poison used blatant metaphors for sex and came off as just trying to chase hit songs. Nickelback does the same thing. I'm not sure if I can really blame Nickelback for this while their songs are formulaic and have the same themes recycled over and over, the members seems to have a good time playing and when it comes down to it that is what a band is all about (and maybe all a rock band should be about).
As a sample of the lyrical content, from the track "Midnight Queen" you have "she's my midnight queen/ I'm locked and loaded and ready to go/ she's gonna lick my pistol clean/ she's got a hold of me and she ain't lettin' go". And then you have lyrics from "Trying Not To Love You" such as "you call to me and I fall at your feet/ how could anyone ask for more/ our time apart like knives in my heart/ how could anyone ask for more" then finally going into the chorus "Trying not to love you/ only goes so far/ trying not to need you/ is tearing me apart" and so on. For the ladies and such.
Overall Impression — 7
Nickelback hasn't skyrocketing into being one of my favorite bands with the release of "Here And Now", but I have to admit it isn't a terrible album. This isn't an album that I would be listening to on a regular basis on my mp3 player, but again I wouldn't change the radio station either. I guess my overall feelings towards the album are lukewarm. Not even lukewarm some of the riffs I really dig, but on the other hand the formulaic quality and the lyrical themes I almost detest. Very hot and cold mixture of feelings with this album and with Nickelback in general. My favorite songs on the album are probably "This Means War" and "Kiss It Goodbye". There are a few songs that I feel like are rubbish specifically "Don't Ever Let It End" and "Lullaby". The remaining songs are pretty much radio fodder. It is not a bad album, not a great album and not an especially sincere album.