The only sure thing in the music business in 2008? The testosterone caddies of AC/DC, Metallica, Hinder, and Nickelback — bands who make fist-pumping anthems for the masses, and collect platinum plaques like they seem to collect hangovers and cocktail waitresses. Welcome, record buyers, to the Year of the Dude.
Having moved a combined 16 million copies of their last five albums, Nickelback hardly need to call their latest CD Dark Horse; the International Rawk Constituency is already salivating at the thought of a new round of thunderous sonic shenanigans. Over 11 tracks, deep-throated singer Chad Kroeger and Co. faithfully serve up equal parts party-animal machismo (”Burn It to the Ground,” ”This Afternoon”) and single-entendre raunch (”S.E.X.,” ”Shakin’ Hands”), punctuated by the occasional grand-gesture power ballad (”Gotta Be Somebody,” ”If Today Was Your Last Day”).
It”s hard not to be put off by the execrable lyrics of album opener ”Something in Your Mouth” (the song is basically kryptonite for feminists). Otherwise, though, the band’s Beavis- like embrace of rock & roll debauchery is a sort of marvel of low art. Also impressive? Their ability to switch effortlessly between R-rated Animal House antics (”No class, no taste/No shirt’n s–faced”) and earnest inspirational-poster goo (”Leave no stone unturned, leave your fears behind/And try to take the path less traveled”). A foolish consistency, after all, isn’t just the hobgoblin of little minds — it totally gets in the way of dudedom, too. C+
Download This: Listen to songs from the new album on the band?s MySpace