Review by Suzi H
Alright, Nickelback. Lots of people hate them (hello! – Ed). I’ve been publicly mocked on more than one occasion for liking Nickelback, but like them I do and have done since I first heard How you Remind Me more years ago than I want to think about, and The Long Road and All The Right Reasons have been in my personal top ten favourite albums since forever. Anyway, I’ve donned my flame retardant blanket in preparation for this review. (flame-thrower… ready! – Ed)
And that’s just to save me from my colleagues!
Hyperbole out of the way and let’s get down to business. No Fixed Abode is Nickelback’s eighth studio album, and their first release on Republic Records following their split from Roadrunner Records. It kicks off with the aggressively cheerful Million Miles An Hour. The opening riff is classic Nickelback and then there’s some weird synth dubbing effect going on which represents how the band might sound if they were in an 80’s cartoon. Anyway it’s a bizarrely pleasing combination and by the time the album’s segued into Edge Of A Revolution I’m headbanging away at my desk quite happily (what?! – Ed).
Nickelback are not known for their political lyrics. In fact they’re normally heavily criticised for singing too much about sex, strippers, drinking too much and young male violence and posturing. Edge of a Revolution is an amusing pot-shot at capitalism from a band who are routinely accused of being utterly unoriginal and mass produced (that’s what they are! – Ed). Anyway, the riffs are rather enjoyable, and the lyrics made me giggle, so it’s a win as far as I’m concerned.
Next up we have the disgustingly commercial What Are You Waiting For. It’s like Bruno Mars Does A Big Rock Single. In fact, you know that week of every year of the X Factor where they do ‘Rock Night’ and spend the evening murdering perfectly good songs, who never did anything to deserve it? (*shudder* – Ed) That’s what What Are You Waiting For is and frankly, Chad and co. should know better. D- for that one boys (that’s more like it, Elfie! – Ed).
She Keeps Me Up is a dirty sexified rock song, mixed in with some really funky 70’s style beats. I like it. It’s classic Nickelback with a hint of Motown, and of course they’ve gone back to what they do best (definition applied loosely, mayhap? – Ed), which is singing about sex (…which is the nearest the majority of Nickelback fans will ever get! – Ed). I know people criticize Nickelback for the amount of time they spend singing about sex – more accurately about the fact they aren’t getting any or that when they are they shouldn’t be sleeping with the people they are – but really they’re very good at it, and they should just play to their strengths.
Make Me Believe Again, Satellite and Get ‘Em Up are standard middle of the album filler tracks (you’ve just summed up their entire recorded output there, m’dear! – Ed). There’s nothing wrong with them (so you say! – Ed), but as a long time listener I could match up the riffs in them to previously released Nickelback material and that’s a bit sad. I swear hand on heart that the opening of Get Em Up is the same as the opening of Something in Your Mouth from the Dark Horse album.
The Hammer’s Coming Down is the first moment where Nickelback break the mould on this album (can’t we just break the album? – Ed) – there’s a piano, and some strings and an opening that isn’t reliant on the sort of riffs that cowboy bars from movies are founded on. It quickly peters out into another generic pop-rock song, with some vaguely uplifting orchestral bits. Sadly it’s immediately followed by Miss You which my 11 year old, Bruno Mars obsessed daughter will like, and which I, not a fan of whistly chirpy tunes, dislike intensely.
No Fixed Address draws to a close with Got Me Runnin’ Round and Sister Sin which is exactly the sort of funked up, dirtied down commercial rock song I like for light listening. Until it gets half way through and then there’s a weird-assed rapping section that fits the song but is annoying. The final track Sister Sin is probably my favourite from the album – it’s got a feel good beat (why has the image of Hugh Dennis popped into my head? – Ed), some nice backing vocals and lends itself to a nice groove in a dark club.
All in all No Fixed Address is exactly what you can expect from a commercial band like Nickelback. These guys aren’t trying to produce the best or most exciting rock music, they’re making commercial pop rock so that radio stations can play something that’s edgier than Taylor Swift and isn’t hip-hop. It’s not a terrible album – I’ll probably play it regularly for background music that won’t lead to my non-Metal husband and kids muttering about “all the growling and screaming”. It’s a bog standard, not very exciting release, and for that I am going to give it a boring, but respectable 2.5 stars out of five. If you don’t like Nickelback, you shouldn’t listen to it, and if you do, you’ll think it’s alright.
Although next time lads – stop listening to Bruno bloody Mars!!!
(Who’s this Bruno Mars, by the way? – Ed)