About Newsroom Classroom Search  

Bearing a Dark Side
By Kathleen D., Fredericton High, Fredericton, NB

Silver Side Up
by Nickleback
EMI Records (2001)

A Canadian band of the real world. Nickleback's lead singer and guitarist, Chad Kroeger, speaks with passion of everyday life-altering events. Events that will forever influence his own life.

After the quiet debut of their first long-player, "Curb", and their second, "The State", Nickleback unleashed their third c.d., "Silver Side Up", onto the music industry. "Silver Side Up" roared through the tabloids, making a name for the young group. Their first hit single, 'How You Remind Me', caused a Nickleback fever across North America. Soon, their unique rock style was bursting in nearly every home.

Nickleback, however it may seem, were in fact not an overnight success. This statement couldn't be more further from the truth. Chad and his bass-playing brother, Mike, constructed the skeleton of the band in the mid 90's in the small town of Hanna, Alberta. During the year 1996, the brothers relocated in Vancouver, where Chad started writing his own songs, and adding his passionate touch. While recording in Vancouver, the band was joined by a young drums player named Ryan Vikedal and a second guitarist named Ryan Peake. In that very year, Chad and his gang churned the first album, Curb. During road work, it was the year 2000 that The State was recorded. The album was picked up by America and proved to be a moderate success. It all went uphill from there.

The quality of the sound of "Silver Side Up" is at its peak. The sound is generated to such perfection that it feels as if you're standing in the middle of Chad, Mike, Ryan V., and Ryan P., crashing and pounding away on their instruments.

Chad and his band speak through the style of their music. The pounding of the drums and thick strums of the electric guitar express a vengeful anger in some songs, whereas they can be toned to long, smooth notes and rhythmic tapping to create a melancholy atmosphere. From rock to a country like feel, Chad sways between different music styles to adjust the mood.

Nickleback's lyrics are poetry in motion. Chad pours his heart and soul into the words of every song. Chad speaks of his parents messy divorce, his father's abandonment on him, and his mother, Mike and his survival through it all. Chad uses many tools in giving us a vivid picture of his struggles and experience. Child innocence is one of his most effective tools. I love how he uses child innocence in the song Too Bad; "You left without saying goodbye, although I'm sure you tried. You call and ask from time to time." How he turns his innocent feelings into harsh, mature anger strengthens the message he tries to portray. He changes the child hearted passage from Too Bad into a dig at his father's ego; " You call and ask from time to time, to make sure we're alive." Chad's deepest fears and experiences are shared through his music. His lyrics are clear, and very descriptive. Nickleback's song Never Again paints a child's view of a violent relationship; "He's drunk again. It's time to fight. She must've done something wrong tonight. It's time to run when you see him, clenching his hands... I hear her scream from down the hall. Amazing she can even talk at all." and "Just tell the nurse, you slipped and fell. It begins to sting as it starts to swell. She looks at you. She wants the truth. It's right out there. In the waiting room." Not only the events and feelings of his life but his general outlook on his self and life. He speaks strongly of his point of views of himself in his song How You Remind Me; " Never made it as a wise man. Couldn't cut it as a poor man stealin'. Tired of livin' like a blind man. I'm sick inside without a sense of feeling... This time I'm mistaken, for handing you a heart worth breaking."

I respect Chad's style. He doesn't waste his time with the sugar-coated side of life, but the thick and hard side. He speaks of the events that can really throw a curve in your path. It's all real. He doesn't try to impress anyone, just inform and inspire them. I know his music has kept me on the right path through my similar mishaps. Just knowing you're not alone, and that every feeling is right, helps so much in the otherwise slow and painful recovery from life's bullets. Everything Chad sings about will effect everyone, in one way or another, at least once. We won't all have a fantasy relationship or amazingly attractive people at our call, so Chad doesn't waste his precious messages on false hopes.

Chad sheds every ounce of his blood into his songs. He tells stories of his hard times, while still touching on the good and glorious. Always making sure to mention his mother and his brother's survival through even the most intense situations, Chad doesn't dwell on the hard times and his sadness, but embraces his experience. Chad's story shines through his songs as it is poured through the entire song and gradually grows as the song progresses; "Fathers hands were lined with dirt from long days in the field... Father's hands are lined with guilt for tearing us apart." . Of course Chad takes great pride in mentioning his broken family's achievements; " With mouths to feed, just trying to keep clothing on our backs, and all I hear about is how it's too bad... Guess it turned out in the end. Just look at where we are. Made it out, still got clothing on our backs." Chad leaves you with a feeling of faith in yourself and realization of the real world for those living in a fantasy.

Chad takes the position with pride of flipping up the dark side of life and bearing it to the world.


Back to Front Page