Nickelback’s melodic post-grunge embraces the radio-friendly vibe of ’80s Canadian rock (think Bryan Adams and Loverboy) and the introspective bent of angsty ’90s alternative. Unsurprisingly, this gives the Vancouver band widespread appeal: In the 2000s, they crossed over to the pop world with emotionally rich hits, such as “How You Remind Me” and “Photograph,” but kept a firm toehold in the heavier realm with the slashing “Too Bad” and the Southern rock-inspired “Rockstar.” Led by guitarist/vocalist Chad Kroeger, his bassist brother Mike Kroeger, and guitarist Ryan Peake, Nickelback initially coalesced in the early ’90s in Hanna, Alberta, as the cover band Village Idiot, playing alternative songs by Urge Overkill and fellow Canadians The Tragically Hip. Early songs show traces of this period—the 2000 radio hit “Leader of Men” takes cues from the stacked harmonies of Nova Scotia power-pop act Sloan—although 2001’s global smash Silver Side Up found Nickelback settling into their rowdy but tender approach to mainstream rock. Even as musical trends changed, the band remained successful (2005’s All the Right Reasons hit No. 1 in multiple countries) by keeping their sound fresh. The Korn-reminiscent “Must Be Nice,” from 2017’s Feed the Machine, for example, interpolates lines from nursery rhymes and Dr. Seuss, while the album’s title track boasts jackhammering metal riffs. Like all rock bands with staying power, Nickelback strike a perfect balance between sonic familiarity and measured risk-taking.
ORIGINHanna, Alberta, Canada