Just to get it out of the way, no one is saying you should like Nickelback. In fact, if we're being honest, there are plenty of good reasons you might actively dislike them: their occasionally problematic lyrics, how their success has resulted in the signing of other bands that aren't very good, the “She Keeps Me Up,” the sound of Chad Kroeger's voice, the fact that their Vevo page is a mess, so on and so forth. And yet, somehow whenever you ask someone to explain why Nickelback are monsters worthy of scorn, 95 percent of the time you're going to get this tired response: All their songs sound the same.
This is, of course, simply not true. Nickelback have about four core types of song they write, which shouldn't be surprising because that's how most bands operate; seriously, unless your favorite band is Ween, odds are good a band you love is just recycling the same ideas over and over again.
So, seriously, why all the hate for Nickelback? They don't write the worst songs in modern music. They're not the worst live act. Chad Kroeger doesn't even have the most punchable face. Again, hate them if you want, but Nickelback as the most joked-about band is a meme that was run into the ground years ago. Let's find a new object of scorn. Here are some suggestions.
FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH
A glimpse into the cesspool that is the odd subgenre known as “Bro Metal” reveals that the coagulated refuse known as Five Finger Death Punch is the soggiest brown gem of them all. How this deformity of metal ever made it to the national stage is a mystery best left to conspiracy theorists and basement-dwelling meme builders, but here we’ll explain why their music deserves your wrath and rejection. First, besides sounding like a wood chipper plugged into an amp and being a general embarrassment to metal, FFDP should have parted ways with lead singer Ivan L. Moody as soon as he was arrested for allegedly strangling his longtime girlfriend and mother of their 17-year-old daughter. At that exact point, the band should have fired him immediately; that they haven’t — All that Remains singer Phil Labonte finished out FFDP’s tour after Moody’s “mental meltdown” last November, but only as a temporary fill-in – makes the group worthy of the crosshairs on your shade grenade. KRISTY LOYE
Maroon 5 were once a good band. Songs About Jane is a solid enough record. “Makes Me Wonder” is a genuinely great song. But after that it's been pretty much an endless parade of uninteresting pop fluff. Their songs may not all sound the same, but they're the most unremarkable earworms in modern music, taking everything great about pop music and sucking the soul out of it. And even then, that might be okay were it not for the fact that you can't actually escape them. You are way more likely to come across them on TV or on the radio or at the mall than you are Nickelback. I know it's hard to hate someone as beautiful as Adam Levine, but just imagine you had no idea what he looked like. You'd be way less forgiving. You know this in your heart. CORY GARCIA
Pearl Jam is the golden calf of '90s-era grunge rock; with its tinny, lo-fi guitar intros and overblown choruses, the band seduced a generation of Gen-Xers into believing that their commonplace suburban agonies were worthy of stadium praise. Its songs are full of pseudo-profundity obscured by the incoherent warblings of Eddie Vedder. Listening with a 21st-century ear, the music is self-indulgent and intolerable, a kind of angsty white-guy navel gazing. Ultimately, the group's catalog is a marginally creative collection of classic-rock hooks run through with enough reverb to shake the hearts of the disaffected. Using an angry, pounding pathos to conceal its lack of substance, Pearl Jam has plagued us with obnoxious earworms kept alive by a dying radio industry. And for all of the band's laudable activism against Ticketmaster and beyond, you can't get around the fact that the music suuuuuuuuccccckkkks. KATIE SULLIVAN
Whenever I hear a Pentatonix song, I wanna bang my head between two frying pans because then at least I would hear some bells. It’s been awhile since that Ben Folds TV show made a cappella troupes popular and long enough for those Pitch Perfect movies to have killed the trend, and yet this quintet is a platinum-selling group, all without the conventional support of things like drums, guitars and keys. Millions of you can’t be wrong, I guess, but it all rings hollow to me. Plus, I just can’t forgive them for pilfering such a metal name to attach to their nice but wiener-softening singing. Pentatonix is the anti-Viagra. JESSE SENDEJAS JR.
I really wish someone would muzzle Pitbull. Anytime I see him, he’s pandering to his audience in the phoniest of ways. Look, ’Bull – no one is that happy to be at work, even someone who’s making millions of dollars for inane, Donald Trump-approved lyrics like “In Brazil they're freaky with big ol' boobs, And their thongs, blue, yellow and green,…” In case you haven’t heard, “Mr. Worldwide,” there’s a global movement of women who aren’t going to stand for your marginalization anymore. Stop reducing people to breasts and underwear already. These lyrics are from the song “International Love,” in which “Mr. 305” (why does he keep reminding us he is a Mister??) actually raps, “In Lebanon, yeah, the women the bomb.” Seriously? What Nickelback musical crime is worse than that? JESSE SENDEJAS JR.
RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS
I’ve covered this in greater detail before, and I don’t hate their entire catalog (By the Way is an underrated piece of art, IMO), but the Chili Peppers just never resonated with me. This has mostly to do with the fact that frontman Anthony Kiedis has, to put it politely, questionable songwriting capabilities, but also because I’ve seen them live twice and Kiedis seemed bored and uninterested on both occasions. He also only seems to sing about California and relationships gone wrong. It was fun for a while, but at some point, you have to change the narrative a bit, dude. CLINT HALE