This is Video Nasties, a new monthly column by Andrew Anderson - starting with the coolest guys in rock!
Nickelback. It’s a dirty word. It’s bland. It’s a band. It’s Chad Kroeger. It’s a joke. It’s awful.
Video Nasties is a look at the evolution of musicians through the egotistical medium that is the music video. First up, I’m taking the good ship Loud And Quiet for a trawl through the history of Nickelback’s, dredging up their bottom dwellers and dissecting them on deck in an attempt to discover just who they are, how they see themselves, and what it all means for us living alongside them on planet earth.
Founded in 1995, Nickelback are four Canadians who make very popular music. Chad Kroeger, a denim-dressed everyman for the empty, is their leader. In 2001 their first big hit ‘How You Remind Me’ sold approximately four trillion copies and is the most played song of all time (probably). Since then they’ve plopped out another half dozen albums and become an integral and oft-mocked part of popular culture.
1. HOW YOU REMIND ME (2001)
Clear your mind. Now think of the word ‘Nickelback’. What do you see? If you’re like me it is probably an image of Chad Kroeger (Choader to his friends) in a dark room taking big strums on a guitar while shaking his dime-store-Jesus hairdo. In other words, it’s a scene from the music video for ‘How You Remind Me’. Directed by the Brothers Strause, ‘How You Remind’ sets the rules that all subsequent Nickelback videos follow:
Rule #1: The band must play with constipated expressions on their faces.
Rule #2: The visual metaphors must be as obvious as those in Kroeger’s lyrics.
Rule #3: Chad must be at the centre of the plot (if there is a plot).
Rule #4: The audience watching them play must be surprisingly sparse.
Here’s what I reckon the directors pitched to the band: “Chad looks sad in a bathroom because his girlfriend has left him. He sees her in his house, in the street, and then at a concert he is playing, but she keeps dissolving before his eyes. Every time that happens all the colours go blue because he’s sad. Then you guys play the song using your best big strums, constipated expressions and animatronic movements to a crowd of about seven people.”
At the time of writing ‘How You Remind Me’ has been played 280,000,000 times on YouTube (really).