Whatever happened to all those rock bands that kinda sounded like Nickelback but weren't Nickelback?
Remember when rock and roll ruled the airwaves?
I'm not talking about The Rolling Stones or Motley Crue. I'm talking about that clean-cut modern rock from the beginning of the 2000s, when every rock band that popped up appeared to be just carbon copies of Nickelback. Rock had been heading in a more commercial direction for a long time, but 2005's All the Right Reasons was a special kind of basic and propelled the genre into a bottomless pit it never really crawled out from.
Panned by critics nationwide, rock and roll traditionalists used All the Right Reasons to lament the death of their favorite genre, but regardless, the project went 7x platinum in Canada, and dominated American radio for the entire year with songs like "Rockstar" and "Photograph." The album was one of the best selling projects of 2015, and equally stale acts followed in Nickelback's steps, from Lifehouse and Rob Thomas to Trapt and a genuinely awful band called Silvertide.
But when Nickelback announced that they'd be releasing new music this past Friday (they ended up releasing a horrendous cover of The Charlie Daniel's Band's "The Devil Went Down To Georgia"), the internet roasted them non-stop, showing that perhaps we have turned a corner as a society and that the world's most loved and hated band is no more than a meme in 2020.
Still, whatever happened to those bands that followed Nickelback's lead? Sure, they all kind of sucked, but a lot of them were actually better than the false prophet they blindly followed. Here are a few of those bands and what they're doing now.
Remember when Chris Daughtry was the most talked-about thing in music thanks to his surprise elimination from 2006's American Idol? He was a fan favorite, lauded for his belting technique and surprisingly versatile range. Within hours of his dismissal from American Idol, he was offered a frontman spot in the then-decently-relevant rock band Fuel. But Daughtry said nay and charted his own path. He soon formed his own band, and 2006's Daughtry became one of the most talked-about and fastest-selling rock albums in recent memory.
The project's lead single "It's Not Over" went platinum, pillaged every radio station, and snagged two Grammy nominations for "Best Rock Song" and "Best Rock Performance Given by a Duo or Group." The album itself was one of 2006's highest-selling efforts, but the critical response was mixed. Panned as "commercial" and "generic," Ken Barnes of USA Today referred to them as "FuelNickelStaindback," a fair assessment in hindsight. Remember that weird song they did about serial child abductors?
The band's sophomore effort Leave This Town would be even more popular, with their rock-ballad "Life After You," (a song Daughtry wrote with Chad Kroeger) once again dominating the charts and defining their legacy.
But slowly the band's popularity would disintegrate. Their third effort Break The Spell was their lowest charting album to date (despite being, actually, one of their best releases), and so their follow-up strove to be an album of pure pop-rock ballads to reignite their "Life After You" fanfare. 2013's Baptized, as a result, was the band's most cringe-worthy effort, with horrendous tracks like "Battleships" and "Waiting For Superman" forever sealing their fate as a corny, dated rock act.
As corny as they were, they're still better than Nickelback, because that Daughtry sure can sing.
3 Doors Down
Another vanilla rock effort of the early-aughts, the band's 2000 debut The Better Life remains their best selling record. It was one of 2000's best selling efforts and was certified 6x platinum in the United States. That's because "Kryptonite" was unlike anything they'd ever released before or ever would again. Featuring a splash of lo-fi, some hazy psychedelia on the vocals, and a driving chorus, the track remains a solid rock song.
But let's be honest, chances are that casual listeners knew that "Kryptonite" wasn't as prolific as their cheesy magnum opus "Here Without You." Released on their otherwise unmemorable sophomore effort Away From the Sun, the rock ballad represented a Nickelback-like shift the New York quartet would never bounce back from. Away From the Sun was significantly cleaner and more commercial than its predecessor, and "Here Without You" would become the perfect song to document the suppressed emotions of the early aughts.
Lyrics like "I'm here without you baby, but you're still with me in my dreams, and tonight girl, it's only you and me," would cause the group to be satirized for years to come. The group is still making music (they just released their sixth album back in 2016), but they have since dissolved into a watered-down rock act with nothing new to say.
With that said, "Kryptonite" very much still slaps, which I can't say for most of Nickelback's discography.
With a splash of Post-Grunge angst, Staind pretty much equated to a Nickelback with darker eyeliner.
Formed in Springfield, Massachusetts in 1995, the group's seven albums dabbled in nu-metal and grunge without ever losing that clean-cut commercial sound. "It's Been Awhile," and "Outside," the softest tracks off their 5x platinum sophomore album Break The Cycle, remain their most popular singles and transformed the band from a potential metal act into angsty post-grunge balladeers.
"So Far Away," another rock ballad, was by far the most popular single from the band's fourth (and surprisingly heavy) record, 14 Shades of Grey; and Chapter V, the band's most pop-focused, commercially accessible record, spawned three moderately successful singles, two of which were also ballads. While the band's mainstream status slowly started to fade after Chapter V's success, the group actually made some of their best music once the spotlight drifted away.
2008's Illusion of Progress was critically admired for its versatility as it incorporated blues, country, and fresh optimism. "Most of all, the music packs as much a punch as ever–and more variety," wrote The Boston Globe. "Staind sometimes departs from its rock-metal power ballads for tunes that suggest Pink Floyd...and even Brit band Oasis."
The band's final self-titled album came on the eve of an awkward break-up, but the record was obsessed with snapping necks, and in turn was the band's heaviest record to date, devoid of any cheesy ballads, and indicative of the superb metal band they could have been had fame not boxed them in.
With all that said, Aaron Lewis, who is now killing it as a country singer, was always a far better songwriter than Chad Kroeger. Traversing topics like mental illness, addiction, fatherhood, and finding one's self, Staind covered topics far darker than anything the suppressed 2000s was willing to discuss. Cheesy ballads aside, deep down the quartet always knew how to truly rock.
Theory of a Deadman
It's impossible to speak on Nickelback's legacy without talking about TOAD. As the first band to sign with Chad Kroeger's label 604 Records, Theory of a Deadman emerged with a self-titled debut that sounded so much like Nickelback that people actually thought it was a Chad Kroeger's side project. It might as well have been, 6 out of the 10 songs on TOADS debut were penned by Kroeger himself, and frontman Tyler Connolly had just as gruff a vocal style. "If we do, we do," Connolly told The Oklahoman when asked if he thinks his band sounds like Nickelback.
For their sophomore effort, the band sought to quell any comparisons to their label head, and for Gasoline they collaborated with Ozzy Osbourne guitarist Zakk Wylde in the hopes of distinguishing themselves and creating a conceptual record that "would involve several guest players of Wylde's stature." But after the musicians had been assembled, the label "footed the bill," hoping the sessions would create a "batch of new songs." So TOAD headed back to the drawing board.
Still, Gasoline was more multifaceted than its predecessor and incorporated blues and country along with its post-grunge commercial sound, but the Nickelback comparisons remained. So for their third, and heaviest, record, TOAD creatively pushed themselves and created some memorable moments as a result.
"By the Way," which actually featured backing vocals from Chris Daughtry, was surprisingly heavy and satisfying, but ballads like "All or Nothing" and "Not Meant to Be" still reeked of Nickelback's cheesy ethos. But then came "Hate My Life," a disgruntled track about a blue collared grunt who hates, well, pretty much everything. The song was kitschy, but fun in a gross, misogynistic kind of way. The single was moderately successful, and the band had latched on to their niche.
Their fourth effort, "The Truth Is…" leaned fully into TOAD's new aesthetic of being the soundtrack to angry white trash. The album's lead single "Lowlife" is practically "Hate My Life" part 2, and the project's title track is an ode to crazy ex-girlfriends who lie about everything, driven solely by a quirky ukulele. Of course, making white trash music means you were inevitably going to be offensive:"I like her so much better when she's down on her knees," Connolly croons on "B*tch Came Back." "'Cause when she's in my face that's when I'm starting to see / That all my friends are laughing thinking that we be wrong / Well she's so f*cking stupid that she's singing along."
Of course, the vibe behind The Truth Is… never had any true staying power considering how derogatory it was, and it faded into obscurity as quickly as it emerged. So TOAD returned to alt-metal in 2014 and released Savages, their best and heaviest work. But the damage had already been done, and they still felt and sounded like a dated rock act of yesteryear. So they went pop with 2017's Wake Up Call and have since continued down that path to make more inspiring tunes.
"I think the #MeToo movement is so large and powerful," Connolly told Popdust in an exclusive interview, "and it's fantastic that women are gaining strength and [fighting] for equality. Being an all-male band, I think for us to support that is what we're looking to do." For that sentiment alone, they remain exponentially better than the band that birthed them.
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Sometimes you've just got to get yourself that Winter Candy Apple and Iced Gingerbread.
I hope Jen from Appleton, Wisconsin is doing well these days.
As for Angela, the star of the best Bath & Body Works rant of all time (and there are surprisingly many on YouTube), I hope she's living a Winter Candy Apple-scented life to the fullest.
In 2012, the aspiring vlogger posted a rant about her dire mission to acquire two coveted candles from Bath & Body Works: Winter Candy Apple and Iced Gingerbread. The outstanding 11-minute video recounts her harrowing journey to the store in APPLETON, WISCONSIN (it's very important the store is called out for their heinous treatment of Angela).
After the video was discovered and spread across Tumblr, it was recognized as a cultural masterpiece of our time, a treatise on the frailty of the human condition and our undying perseverance to end our own suffering at any cost.
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It's an unprecedented time for brand deals and nonsensical collaborations
I'm convinced that the Supreme Oreos that terrorized the internet (and which I haven't stopped thinking about since) were the cultural reset.
Released in February 2020, right as everything started to go wrong, these bright red Supreme Oreos were met with equally visceral confusion and anticipation. Despite many on the internet claiming that Supreme and Oreo had gone too far, the 3-pack of Oreos inevitably sold out in minutes online.
It seems Oreo have not learned their lesson. Just announced: their collaboration with Lady Gaga
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Life is short, go for a bold eye like Jules.
From Rue's grungy over-sized aesthetic to Jules' femme futuristic looks, there are plenty of outfits shown throughout the series to inspire you to reinvent your whole wardrobe. Not to mention the makeup looks, which are so unique and striking as to have inspired hundreds of Halloween costumes last year. But why reserve a neon eye shadow or sequin eyelid look for Halloween when you can channel your inner Maddie or Jules all year long?
Euphoria Season 2 may be a few months away, but HBO is releasing two special episodes much sooner. The first of these specials, "Trouble Don't Last Always," focuses on Rue (played by Zendaya) and just dropped on HBO Max. To celebrate, we've listed some of the most essential cosmetic products to help you make your Euphoria-inspired makeup dreams come true—no drugs required.
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Here's what to stream this weekend.
If you're anything like us, you're probably overwhelmed by the sheer number of albums being released on a weekly basis.
Popdust's weekly column, Indie Roundup, finds the five best albums coming out each week so that you don't have to. Every Friday, we'll tell you what's worth listening to that might not already be on your radar.
Jordana, Something to Say to You<iframe src="https://embed.spotify.com/?uri=spotify:album:2A6VsLoEwhNrIX1PnxSNoL" id="43d23" frameborder="0" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="c0e2765824817964f2530f04b869de70" expand="1" height="480" width="100%"></iframe><p>Inspired by 2000s indie rock as much as current rap heroes like Lil Uzi Vert, Jordana Nye's second full-length album, <em>Something to Say to You,</em> is a chameleonic collection of lo-fi bedroom pop. After her early SoundCloud releases caught the ears of New York indie label Grand Jury, Jordana's sound has leveled up — wavering between layered electronica and acoustic ballads — without ever losing her homespun charm.</p>
Dogleg / Worst Party Ever, Go EP<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vbWVkaWEucmJsLm1zL2ltYWdlP3U9JTJGaW1hZ2UlMkZhYjY3NzA2YzAwMDBiZWJiMjVhYjkzNTkxNDJkYWViM2IzMzEyZDY5JmhvPWh0dHBzJTNBJTJGJTJGaS5zY2RuLmNvJnM9MzQ4Jmg9NTQ5MWIwMzBiZjA5ODIwMjlhOGExMjc4OGY2ZDdkN2JmMzRiMjFiOGE5Njk1MTZkYzczN2FlZTgzOTdmYjFjNiZzaXplPTk4MHgmYz0xNjQxNTAwMjA2IiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYzNjI2NjkyMn0.bm0HvEP0OlqD3CA4ZqtRJWHYLPhNQb8X6X9Lzt6zIKM/img.jpg" id="3c88f" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="b9aae84184b12a4b2de84b15b1052ff0" />Dogleg x Worst Party Ever - "GO"
Winston C.W., Good Guess<iframe src="https://embed.spotify.com/?uri=spotify:album:76e0yvuj6mQqf9A4l2MxR1" id="32d8f" frameborder="0" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="21bd6eeae038c3dd0c92abde74a04988" expand="1" height="480" width="100%"></iframe><p>Winston Cook-Wilson is a songwriter, music journalist, and frontman of the Brooklyn rock band Office Culture. On his latest release under the moniker Winston C.W., <em>Good Guess, </em>Cook-Wilson takes a quieter approach, with his jazzy piano and vocals backed by upright bassist Carmen Rothwell and guitarist Ryan Beckley. At once intimate and spacious, <em>Good Guess </em>acts as Cook-Wilson's reflection on a period of personal turmoil last year in a fitting soundtrack to healing.</p>
Drakeo the Ruler, We Know the Truth<iframe src="https://embed.spotify.com/?uri=spotify:album:3JHBh2GhfyEDtV9n2sSy77" id="fd6b0" frameborder="0" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="9c28db37b4280421677b5cec637ac060" expand="1" height="480" width="100%"></iframe><p>In November, when most of America was awaiting the results of the 2020 presidential election, Darrell Caldwell—the Los Angeles-based rapper known as Drakeo the Ruler — was <a href="https://www.npr.org/2020/12/01/940814717/drakeo-the-ruler-less-than-a-month-out-of-prison-releases-we-know-the-truth" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">released from prison</a> following years of institutional corruption at the hands of Los Angeles' District Attorney, Jackie Lacey.</p><p>Less than a month later, Drakeo has released his latest full-length project, <em>We Know the Truth, </em>a collection of gritty West Coast hip-hop that feels like a culmination of the rapper's emotions while behind bars. He wrote all the lyrics while in prison.</p>
Joan of Arc, Tim Melina Theo Bobby<iframe src="https://embed.spotify.com/?uri=spotify:album:741roIjrflAKmW4Cxe1U3K" id="310d5" frameborder="0" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="915b9785440a12cb635fe3eb4c3acd29" expand="1" height="480" width="100%"></iframe><p>Joan of Arc were one of the most polarizing bands to emerge from <a href="https://www.popdust.com/essential-emo-albums-2645236632.html?share_id=5564901" target="_self">emo's second wave</a> around the turn of the century. Formed by frontman Tim Kinsella after the dissolution of his short-lived yet highly influential band Cap'n Jazz, Joan of Arc offered a more experimental interpretation of the genre. </p> <p>Kinsella's knack for challenging expectations is still prevalent today on the band's final album, <em>Tim Melina Theo Bobby. </em>Idiosyncratic, evocative, and sprawling, the record helps memorialize the legacy of a band whose impact was often overlooked in its heyday.</p>
Boba's back and our heroes lose. Season 2 just went full Empire Strikes Back.
With only two more episodes left in the season, The Mandalorian kick-started the final narrative arc with an explosive new entry.
The Mandalorian "Chapter 14: The Tragedy" premiered Friday, December 4th on Disney+. We're going to breakdown and explain all the major moments in this episode as well as its implications for the future of Season 2 and the series as a whole. It's all spoilers from this point forward. Do yourself a favor, watch Season 2, Episode 6, and come back!
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