Silver Side Up


Roadrunner Records, 2001

REVIEW BY: Duke Egbert


Remember in the mid-nineties when everyone thought plain old rock and roll was dead? What a bunch of silly people.

Nickelback blew open the Canadian charts in 2000 with their CD The State, and the word was abuzz that the Canadian quartet had something special going on. Now, with their American debut my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Silver Side Up, we here in the Least Musically Interesting Country In North America (Canada: Our Lady Peace. Mexico: Tejano Music. Us: Backstreet Boys. Any more questions?) get a chance to hear the hype, and damned if there isn't some substance behind it. Nickelback writes "good songs with good melodies that you'll sing at our shows," according to guitarist Ryan Peake.

Damn straight they do. Silver Side Up is, plain and simple, a great album of rock and roll. Unlike a lot of current "rock" bands, there's nothing intermixed; no rap, no crap, no techno-grunge-industrial hybridization. This is four guys, two guitars, and lotsa good old-fashioned noise. What really separates Nickelback from the pack, though, is the fact the noise has substance.

The CD kicks off with the blistering "Never Again", a vicious, scathing indictment of domestic abuse, and never lets up. Everyone's heard "How You Remind Me", but it's worth noting as a song in its own right - hooky harmonies and brooding, intense lyrics. "Hangnail" churns and writhes, lead vocalist Chad Kroeger alternately snarling and screaming but never once losing control of the song. The production is impeccable, really bringing out the tasty crunchiness of Nickelback's guitar-driven sound without blurring it into pablum - and focusing perfectly on the gentler acoustic-driven sound of parts of "Good Times Gone" without stripping its power.

There isn't too much to complain about on Silver Side Up. "Hollywood" meanders a bit, and I'm not as fond of the guitar line; only on that track does Nickelback sound like they're straining a bit. But had I had this CD before December 31 - silly of me, really - this one might have bumped someone off the Top Eleven list. You won't ask for your money back on this CD. Silver Side Up is a winner.

Rating: A-

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© 2002 Duke Egbert and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Roadrunner Records, and is used for informational purposes only.