All The Right Reasons Nickelback
CD Review by Ray D'Ariano
/ 2/2006

Track listing:
1. Follow You Home 2. Fight For All The Wrong Reasons 3. Photograph 4. Animals
5. Savin' Me 6. Far Away 7. Next Contestant 8. Side Of A Bullet 9. If Everyone Cared
10. Someone That You're With 11. Rock Star

Label: Roadrunner Records / Release date: October 4, 2005

Overall rating: 7

Uncle Sam taught him to shoot
Maybe a little too well
Finger on the trigger, loaded bullet
He hit the stage so full of rage
And let the whole world know it
Six feet away, they heard him say
"Oh God, don't let him pull it"

Please God, don't let him pull it
How could you put us through it?
His brother watched you do it

How could you take his life away? (What made you think you had the right?)
How could you be so full of hate? (To take away somebody's life)
And when I heard you let him die
And made the world all wonder why
I sat at home and on my own I cried alone
I scratched your name
On the side of a bullet

Lyrics from "Side Of A Bullet"

I know all about the rep that this band has in the metal circles. Nickelback is considered to be "pretty boy" metal, often dubbed as a "passing phase" or wimpy pop radio fodder. Let me tell you, when the band delivers lines like the one's above, they are a legitimate force of rock 'n' roll bombast. Written for their fallen comrade, ex-Damageplan / Pantera guitar legend Dimebag Darrell Abbott, "Side Of A Bullet" is a song that should completely bury a lot of the "prettiness" attached to the Nickelback name. There is an authentic, pissed off, burning anger inside of singer Chad Kroeger that comes smashing through on this tune. I think it's time we start to give this band the respect it deserves. Don't get me wrong, they get caught in the snafu of writing the radio hit again on this record, but let's face it; these guys can rock out with the best of them for a majority of the time.

I was about to write that Nickelback is at their best when they play the heavy groove, but I had to stop myself. Nickelback is just as good when they write the radio hits like "Someday" from their last release, "The Long Road," and "How You Remind Me" from their breakthrough album, "Silver Side Up." They have perfected the art of balancing melodic radio rock with fist pumping heavy metal. Nobody does it better. I think the band shows its small weaknesses when they start getting simple and adolescent with their lyrics.

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
There goes the next contestant

Lyrics from "Next Contestant"

These lyrics come across as "tough talk" when the band is powering them, but they just sound like an episode of "General Hospital" or some schoolyard banter when they stand alone. They had something similar to this kind of amateur-ish writing with their hit "Figured You Out." Talk like "I like your pants around your feet" gets you placed in the Old School Metal doghouse real fast. You must ask yourself, "Would Black Sabbath or Metallica, or even newcomers like Disturbed and Godsmack, ever utter these words?" Uhhhhh, So, we've figured out why the old school, "true" metal fan have turned on these guys; now let's find out why these guys have turned on almost every other fan of rock 'n' roll out there. It's really very simple - they can write catchy songs, and they can play.

The disc starts off by rattling off a few heavy, grinding rockers that really show that this band is capable off dishing out the meat and potatoes metal. The tight, aggressive grooves make "Follow You Home," "Fight For All The Wrong Reasons," and "Animals" three of the heavier songs in the Nickelback catalog. To hear the Bon Jovi-type radio single "Photograph" sandwiched between these hammering tunes, is like feeding the family Chihuahua to a hungry bear; you love your Chihuahua, but you also like to feed that bear. Now, this is where the album goes a little south. We get two more of those Bon Jovi-types, and it just seems to slow down the record a bit. "Savin' Me" and "Far Away" are both good songs, but I think it's a case of enough is enough. I love you, I miss you, yadda yadda yadda; we used to call them "chick tunes" back in the day. Two in a row is two too many for this band. Now that we have plenty of food for that hungry bear though, it comes back by way of "Next Contestant" and "Side Of A Bullet." But the band quickly returns to churning out another Kidz Bop destined radio tune called "If Everyone Cared." they go on to give us "Someone That You're With," which is more of a straight forward rock song that, like almost all of Nickelback's material, is well written with great structure and hooks. It isn't until the final track of the record that we get a new look from Nickelback. "Rock Star" is a song with enough lyrics that just might qualify it as a novel. They're all creatively pieced together to form a sort of Country rock rap about the rock star lifestyle, with a hint of Kid Rock-influenced attitude thrown in on the choruses.

Well we all just wanna be big rock stars
And live in hilltop houses driving fifteen cars
The girls come easy and the drugs come cheap
We'll all stay skinny 'cause we just won't eat
And we'll hang out in the coolest bars
With the VIP's and the movie stars
Every good gold digger's gonna wind up there
Every Playboy bunny with her bleach blond hair
And we'll hide out in the private rooms
With the latest dictionary of today's who's who
They'll get you anything with that evil smile
Everybody's got a drug dealer on speed dial
Hey hey I wanna be a rock star

Lyrics from "Rock Star"

If you're a Nickelback fan, and have enjoyed their previous albums, I see no reason why you wouldn't find this to be to your liking. Nickelback is a regular hit machine that has found the perfect delicate balance of hard rock and radio rock. If nothing else, they prove that they are consistent. They have been popping out their brand of catchy rock songs for quite some time now, and they show no signs of slowing down here. I'm just hoping that the next record is full of those hungry bears, 'cause I hate Chihuahuas.