Classic Rock - - The Hard Stuff Reissues - nick hasted



The band you love to hate hit vinyl.

Maybe Kurt Cobain would be singing songs about strip­pers and blowjobs by now. That, any­way, is the leap Nick­el­back made be­tween de­pres­sive sec­ond al­bum The State and their sixth, the par­ty­ing hard Dark Horse, a stark con­trast made by this trio of vinyl reis­sues.

The lurch in sub­ject mat­ter may con­firm that Nick­el­back are in­au­then­tic. Or it could just mean Chad Kroeger the mil­lion­aire rock star has more fun than Chad the small-town delin­quent.

That early self, pin­ing for his largely ab­sent, im­pos­ing dad, was buried deep in the lyrics of The State (5/10) in 2000.

The panic at­tack and de­sire to fit in dur­ing opener Breathe are typ­i­cal, at a time when Nick­el­back didn’t seem so dif­fer­ent in in­tent to their cur­rent bête noire Slip­knot. What lets it down is the undis­tin­guished post-grunge sound.

By 2008’s Dark Horse (6/10), life is a good deal grander. Sex beats love all the way, with iden­tikit bal­lads pulped by highly en­ter­tain­ing booze-a-thon

Burn It To The Ground. Kroeger’s cer­tainly be­ing au­then­tic here.

2011’s Here And Now (5/10) finds the band nervily point­ing the fin­ger at fame-cor­rupted fakes on Kiss It Good­bye. Though heav­ier than they’re given credit for, it’s slickly unimag­i­na­tive.

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