Saturday, June 26, 2010

Chad Kroeger: A Man of Subtlety & Taste


                 When one thinks of excellence in musical composition several names come to mind like Mozart, Beethoven, Handel, and Debussy, but I hereby declare the list to be incomplete, nay, grossly deficient. For it is unadorned by one of the greatest auditory prodigies mankind has ever produced. A man wielding so much raw talent that his six foot albino frame can scarcely contain it, a man whose sex appeal and hubris have formed an unprecedented symbiotic partnership to benefit the breadth of all humanity, a man whose only shortcoming is his inability to accept his own shortcomings. My only regret is that I only have two ears with which to appreciate his body of work.
Chad Kroeger was born on November 15, 1974 in Alberta, Canada, Kroeger first picked up the guitar at the ripe age of thirteen. His meteoric rise to fame was briefly interrupted by a misunderstanding the Canadian authorities callously referred to as “breaking and entering, theft, and vandalism.” What budding young musician hasn’t repeatedly broken into a publicly-funded middle school to reallocate education funds? At any rate, Kroeger eventually completed high school and began writing songs that embodied the full spectrum of human emotion that he would later showcase under the banner of his band Nickelback.
In 1996, the group released the seven-song EP Hesher which contained many songs that would later appear on their first full length album Curb. Chad’s star really began to shine on the band’s 1998 album The State which contained auditory gems such as “Cowboy Hat,” “Old Enough,” and “Little Friend.” The album’ first single, “Leader of Men” is a sweeping social commentary that deftly exposes the crumbling infrastructure of the broadening middle-class. When asked to comment on his opus, the always humble Canadian replies, “This is a song about tripping on 'shrooms!” Indeed.
In 2001, Kroeger & company unleashed Silver Side Up, a vessel for the most important contribution to modern culture since the birth of Ryan Seacrest. “How You Remind Me” became the top rock song of that decade and established Chad as a mouthpiece for the masses. Recently I ran an algorithm on the song’s lyrics to remove any words that were repeated more than once and I was floored to realize that I was left with (in original order) the rough outline of a touching Haiku:
Tired blind sick inside without sense feeling
Didn't know that said love swear
Still do so bad because with damn near killed

The album would eventual sell almost six million copies and was quickly followed up with 2003’s The Long Road which debuted at number six and would later be certified triple-platinum. Among the disc’s eleven tracks, Kroeger nestled a tender, romantic sonnet called “Figured You Out.” A sampling:

I like your pants around your feet
I like the dirt that's on your knees
And I like the way you still say please
I love your lack of self respect
While you're passed out on the deck
I love my hands around your neck

While “Figured You Out” undoubtedly became a staple at weddings, Kroeger outdid himself with 2005’s “Animals,” another affectionate ballad that utilizes tasteful euphemizes to describe a night of courtship:


You're beside me on the seat
Got your hand between my knees
And you control how fast we go by just how hard you wanna squeeze
It's hard to steer when you're breathing in my ear
But I got both hands on the wheel while you got both hands on my gears
By now, no doubt that we were heading south

Concerned that the song’s lyrical content was too ambiguous, Mr. Kroeger selected an image of two rhinoceroses (rhinoceri?) engaging in sexual congress as the single’s cover art. Like any great composer, Kroeger continued to reinvent himself and in 2008 the band released Dark Horse, an exemplary showcase of Chad’s subtle prose. On the single “Shakin’ Hands,” the front man openly lamented the moral bankruptcy of the fairer sex:
A congressman would call her every once in a while
Got the school girl skirt on the top of the pile
She’d done everyone once
And everyone knows
You got to get a little dirty when you’re digging for gold
Apparently still concerned that his views on fornication had been unexplored, Mr. Kroeger also wrote “S.E.X.” where he yet again used his refined sense of understatement to explore sensuality:
Yes, sex is always the answer, it's never a question
'Cause the answer's yes, oh the answer's yes
Not just a suggestion, if you ask a question
Then it's always yes, yeah
As with any artistic pioneer, Kroeger has had his share of detractors. Some publications have failed to grasp his trailblazing vision such as:
Rolling Stone
"If you're looking for originality, you might want a full refund instead of a Nickelback."
“All the Right Reasons is so depressing, you're almost glad Kurt's not around to hear it.”


The New York Times
“For hard-rock ridiculousness, Nickelback is tough to beat.”

NOW Magazine
“Kroeger’s voice sounds more like a wounded goat than ever before, and their blatantly recycled songs touch on familiar themes like strippers, sex, prostitutes, drugs, sex, drinking, and sex.”

All Music Guide
“Despite all their newly developed relative nuances, Nickelback remain unchanged: they're still unspeakably awful.”

“Nickelback are a gnarled, vulgar band reveling in their ignorance of the very notion of taste, lacking either the smarts or savvy to wallow in bad taste so they just get ugly, knocking out knuckle-dragging riffs that seem rarefied in comparison to their thick, boneheaded words.”

The Guardian
“Nickelback's music reaffirms every sex-and-stupidity cliche hard rock can offer.”

Pop Matters
“Kroeger sounds sophomoric, inane and downright stupid.”

We can only hope that Mr. Kroeger will persist in defying the wishes of critics, music fans, and aficionados of good taste by continuing to expand his body of work. Certainly he cannot be held accountable for the populace’s failure to recognize his genius, despite the fact that it is waiting for them every time they attempt to listen to a modern rock radio station.
What is intolerable is that these same shortsighted critics have begun to impugn Mr. Kroeger’s character. Just last week, The Montreal Gazette reported that Chad fired his longtime maid for having the audacity to wear some of his current girlfriend’s old discarded clothing in public. Unsatisfied with removing the single mother’s source of income, Mr. Kroeger then proceeded recant a promise he made to the maid’s young children to give them tickets to a Nickelback show in their hometown.
Many feel that such actions were exaggerated and callous, but I would sharply disagree. Should we really expect a wealthy rockstar to tolerate “the help” wearing their current female companion’s cast-off outfits? Sure, it starts with her wearing what’s-her-face’s blue jeans but before you know it she is dipping into you 401K and you are unable to get the electricity cut back on at your summer house in Boca Raton. Personally, I think that these maids should be grateful they are even allowed to touch the leather-trimmed undergarments of his faceless conquests. In fact, I would pay a security team to regularly break into my maid’s home, gather their family together, and set fire to all of the discarded clothing in my possession that might be of use to their impoverished existence.

2 comments:

  1. I can't prove this, & it makes little difference anyway, because Chad is neither ever going to live up to the "promises" that he made on Dark Horse, nor even at least do the right thing & tell the world who he wrote those songs for & about. I'm only saying this because it's anonymous, & I want it out there in cyberspace in case something happens to me (a likely scenario because I'm a very self destructive person). A million years ago, Chad Kroeger saw me on ECTV, & he also read things that I wrote out on my channel about my life. I've always loved Nickelback (although I understandably feel differently now that Chad Kroeger is sharing his life & bed with a woman other than me). I bought Dark Horse & got chills when I heard the songs on it. I wrote To Chad, but I never (of course) got a reply back from him (hence the reason why I would NEVER be foolish enough to say anything to anybody WHOM I DIDN'T KNOW about this). I told Chad that I would be at a certain bar. One of Nickelback's band members talked to me at this bar & made a reference to something I'd written to Chad (via Nickelback's myspace account). This of course caused me (the naive fool who would never commit suicide but who is truly ambiguous when it comes to her desire to live or not)to BELIEVE that Chad did write all those songs on Dark Horse for & about me. I sent to Chad about 1000 short & long letters in 10 month's time, until I finally realized that I'd been fkd with for some unknown reason. Chad may very well have written those songs like "Gotta Be Somebody" & "You're Never Gonna Be Alone" about his IDEALIZED me, but (deep down) he's a Rock Star who loves his freedom & lifestyle. I think he must have realized that he could never be with me (the real woman). I "labeled" Chad Kroeger EVIL, because what Chad did to me by having Daniel speak to me made me FALSELY believe that Chad LOVED me & would save me. But the truth is that I know (deep down) I couldn't be with Chad anyway.

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  2. Dear Anonymous,

    I have no way of knowing whether or not this response is an elaborate waste of time so I will err on the side of brevity. Please, in the name of all that is holy, do not allow the lack (or presence) of acknowledgment from Chad Kroeger negatively affect your life. I am in no way qualified to give relationship advice, but any and all empirical data that I have gathered would indicate that he is a certified tool.

    Also, a self-destructive personality is a pre-disposition not a permanent condition (I let you know when the T-shirts are available..)

    Listen to some Pearl Jam and feel better!

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