We have to talk about how embarrassingly bad Nickelback’s lyrics are
Have the Canadian rockers reached a narrative nadir on their new album?
Nickelback are one of the most divisive bands out there. But you already knew that.
Few groups get the abuse they do. And they’ve been getting it for a long time.
Yet for all the hate, there’s a lot of love for the Canadian rockers and there’s no doubting that they are hugely successful.
Few bands have such an immediately identifiable sound as Nickelback — there’s no mistaking them for anyone else.
Perhaps for many, they are also a guilty pleasure. And, please keep this quiet, I have to admit to being a fan since buying their breakthrough record Silver Side Up (which incidentally was their third) That album’s No 1 single How You Remind Me is as good today as it was then.
I’ve followed the band’s career ever since and despite their recording more dodgy songs than most, I’ve always retained a soft spot for them, I even named my dog Chad after their lead singer!
But as much as I like Nickelback I’ve always been confounded by the paucity of their lyrics. Now I’m not expecting Chad Kroeger to pen lines like Becker & Fagen or Paul Simon, but I certainly expect him to have improved as a lyricist, especially now he’s on album number nine. And if having a way with words is beyond him, then at least collaborate with someone who does.
Sadly, neither has manifested itself on Nickelback’s new album, which most listeners would almost certainly say sounds almost exactly like the previous eight. But if anything, rather then improving, the lyrical content has regressed. In fact, one song has some of the worst lyrics of any Nickelback song — and that’s saying something. They’re so bad, I had to write about it.
The track is called Must Be Nice and the lyrics are quite simply unspeakably bad. It would appear the song is about someone who’s life is “a goddamn fairy tale” and with that singular thought, the lyrics literally borrow from — or perhaps more accurately — are appropriated from a bunch of — yes, you guessed it — children’s nursery rhymes.
Hearing them being sung is discomforting enough, but when you see them laid out before you, it’s just plain embarrassing.
I can’t believe any other rock band has ever featured lyrics quite as cringeworthy or infantile as:
“Jack be nimble, Jack be quick, Jack wound up with a broken neck.
Humpty Dumpty, do your thing, Daddy’s gonna buy you a diamond ring”
It’s hard to know what they were thinking.
Here’s the full lyrics:
One step, two step, electric slide
Red fish, blue fish, blow your mind
Engine, engine, number nine
Mama’s gonna let you set the moon on fire
Jack be nimble, Jack be quick
Jack wound up with a broken neck
Humpty Dumpty, do your thing
Daddy’s gonna buy you a diamond ring
Oh, it must be nice
To spend each day in paradise
You wonder why you’ve never failed
Your life’s a goddamn fairy tale
Your life’s a goddamn fairy tale
Suzie steamboat, you’re so fine
Grant the wish I wish tonight
Tinker tailor, whatcha’ got?
Wheels on the bus are falling off
Pretty maids all in a row
Yes, sir, yes, sir three bags full
Silver spoon at supper time
Four and twenty blackbirds, oh, so high
And here’s the link to the song itself http://bit.ly/2sQrXjq
While Nickelback still remain one of my guilty pleasures, if this is the best they can muster, I’m not sure for how long that can continue.
In their own words — borrowed ones of course — the wheels on the bus are falling off.