Silver Side Up

Silver Side Up

Nickelback bassist Mike Kroeger and drummer Ryan Vikedal establish a full-throttle momentum in the first moments of "Never Again," the song's intensity levels increasing further with Ryan Peake’s slashing riff and Chad Kroeger’s ferocious vocal performance. Besides being a compelling opening salvo for Nickelback’s third album, the song is an unequivocal statement of purpose, one that demonstrates just how far the band had come since its founding in 1995. Like "How You Remind Me" and "Too Bad"—the two songs that helped turn Silver Side Up into the band's commercial breakthrough—"Never Again" rewards Chad Kroeger for his diligence through the Alberta rockers’ early years; the young songwriter learned his craft by reverse-engineering hits by the era’s biggest acts to figure out how he could most effectively construct his own songs, then road-testing the results over the course of hundreds of live shows. This can be considered the section of the post-grunge Venn diagram where Nickelback’s ambition overlaps with the wider rock audience’s hunger for sounds that moved past the tropes of '90s rock while reinforcing '70s hard-rock fundamentals. Though the burly likes of "Woke Up This Morning" still indicated Nickelback’s debt to Pearl Jam and Alice In Chains—two former clients of Silver Side Up co-producer Rick Parashar—"Just For" and "Hollywood" draw Nickelback closer to the fresher, bolder, and arguably heavier likes of Linkin Park and System Of A Down. An even more important element in the template Nickelback was busy forging is the emotional potency in Kroeger’s lyrics. For all the hooks that he packs into "How You Remind Me" (at least three, including the "yeah-eah" part), the song’s staying power may have more to do with Kroeger’s canny ability to zero in on the rage, yearning, doubt, and resentment that can fill a heart when a romance goes south. Tougher feelings also fuel "Too Bad," a terse rocker whose lyrics capture the painful dynamics that often develop between fathers and sons, and "Good Times Gone," a more wistful ode that gets a lift from the slide guitar contribution by Big Wreck’s Ian Thornley. Such expressions of hurt and vulnerability lend a rawer and more personal aspect to the band's relentless drive to make an impact.

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