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All the Right Reasons’ has it all wrong

Chris McGrady | Saturday, February 18, 2006

If you liked any of Nickelback’s previous albums, it is almost a guarantee you will enjoy its most recent effort, “All the Right Reasons.”

If you think the album is solid because it is a strong musical effort – expanding Nickelback’s capabilities and ranges – then you are most definitely wrong.

This album will be a must-have for any Nickelback fan for only one reason. It sounds exactly like every other Nickelback album.

Borrowing a page from every other cookie-cutter rock group, Nickelback seems to have found its way to the cutting-room floor and pieced it together to create a sort of pseudo-head-bashing-oh please turn it off now-mess.

As for lead-singer Chad Kroeger, his vocals sound strained, forced and altogether silly as his already overdone voice is synthesized electronically. He shouts lyrics like “Is that your hand on my girlfriend? Is that your hand? I wish you’d do it again, I’ll watch you leave here limping” from the seventh track, “Next Contestant.”

At times, “All the Right Reasons” sounded similar to a previous Nickelback album as, at times, there was trouble distinguishing when one song ended and a new one began. With the exception of tracks such as “Photograph,” every song follows the same two formats: 1) cue drums, cue cliché driven rock guitar riffs or 2) cue cliché driven rock guitar riffs, cue drums.

There are a few bright spots on the album, mainly the sixth song, “Far Away.” On this track, Nickelback defies its normal genre and creates a song with carefully written lyrics and solid musical arrangement. Nickelback generally avoids the mistakes it makes on previous songs by not doing anything overly ornate and confusing. And, albeit briefly, the musical talent of Nickelback shines on “Far Away” through all the fluff that obscures most of the other tracks’ musical vision.

Unfortunately, Nickelback slips back into the same rut on track seven, which is apparently the place angry-love-rock goes to die.

The lone effort that stands out among tracks eight to 11 is No. 10, which seems to have hints of outside musical influences, bordering on country, rock and pop flavors. It’s nearly a success.

But the rest of the album remains obscure, with homogenous music blending one song into the next.

This pattern continues until the final track, “Rockstar.” The song’s message seems to either explain Nickelback’s attempts at success or to make the proclamation that rock stars typically have the wrong reason for pursuing musical careers. Either way, the song lands somewhere in between and is clearly a weak attempt at an anthem.

On an overall disappointing album, Nickelback does show they have musical talent. However, the musicians’ application of that disappears behind cliché rock. Stranded somewhere between pop-rock and hard-rock, “All the Right Reasons” clearly has it wrong.