I shared a post on FB the other day talking about Coldplay in a negative light. The event got me thinking about how I really liked Parachutes, but I am not a fan of everything after. That lead me to thinking about Nickelback, Sum 41, and the other bands that kind of fell out of favour quickly and harshly.
Now, to be totally up front about this, I like Parachutes. I like Silver Side Up. I like Half-Hour of Power. To be totally honest, I kind of liked these bands and one point or another. They all fell victim to trend following.
Let me explain my reasoning with Coldplay and Nickelback as the prime examples.
Parachute was a fantastic album. Yes, certain parts of the music world got very sick of Yellow, but it was Radiohead if they continued with The Bends era. It was poppy, but quirky. It stayed close enough to mainstream to keep attention, but was deep enough if anyone wanted to look further into the album. Parts of it, like the track Trouble, were absolutely amazing and fresh. However, they got a taste of mainstream success with Yellow, and they refused to give it up. When Clocks took the basic formula, but made it anemic; the writing was on the wall. Soon, pretty much the next album, every song was a formula to manufacture singles. Those of us who had been keeping our ear to their releases with phobias of being let down, noticed immediately what happened.
Nickelback is the same, but very different. It was no secret that little thought was put behind their runaway hit How You Remind Me. The thing that hurt so much with this band was that the rest of Silver Side Up was not horrible, but very few people know anything off that album aside from the single.
To be clear: I am not saying that it is great by ANY stretch of imagination. The single was written in just over 10 minutes, and Chad Kroeger has been very candid about that fact. The album lacked any foresight, and a majority of the songs felt shallow. This was because POTENTIALLY they were. They were a band for six years before that song came out, so if they had ANY foresight, they jumped on the formula that they suspected would launch them into the stratusfield.
To continue this dunk/defense of Nickelback, CANCON (a law governing Canadian Content in the arts) both boosted and FUCKED there career. As a Canadian, it was the next thing to impossible to avoid Nickelback. This is also what hurt Sum 41 in the end, as their “acceptable” songs were played everywhere you turned. Combine that with the fact that both bands got huge around the last push of radio/music video did little to help. Since this was a time before streaming, cars and store constantly played songs by these bands because equal parts they had to and they were popular.
IN CONCLUSION: I feel sorry for these bands. I’m not a fan for other reasons, but I do feel sorry for them. It shows that the arts are a fickle mistress, and being popular and staying popular are two VERY different things.