Review: Nickelback – ‘Feed The Machine’

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Often the butt of the world's music jokes, Nickelback has produced a surprisingly likable (though by no means top-quality) single to fuel anticipation for their upcoming album.

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Since the runaway commercial success of All The Right Reasons in 2005, Nickelback has been heavily (and fairly) criticised for the repetitive and formulaic nature of their music, frequently overusing themes of strippers and drugs. Therefore, it was certainly unexpected to hear ‘Feed The Machine,’ a comeback single focusing instead on the dangers of an all-powerful government with a surprisingly catchy guitar hook to match.

Straight off the bat, the song drops into a heavy riff to let you know that this is no run-of-the-mill, unremarkable Nickelback song. Above a clash of drums and guitar, Chad Kroeger’s impassioned vocals immediately attack a “charlatan to idolise” in reference to the leader of the titular machine, warning of their power before entering a well-sung but ultimately forgettable chorus. The subsequent instrumental bridge is great to rock out to, although the remainder of the song is just as plain, usually with nonsensical lyrics (“The gears forever turn to grind the mice”) and rarely picking at the heart of the matter.

Ultimately, ‘Feed The Machine’ provides an incredibly infectious and engaging guitar solo that returns between choruses to rock out to. Kroeger also warns fairly effectively, however it gets bogged down in its own heavy rock path with some bizarre lyrics and an unfortunately plain chorus. Had it been a little bit better, Nickelback’s most interesting song in years may well have fed insecurities about my own music tastes given their status as music’s meme kings. In the end, though, the most compelling thing about Nickelback’s latest single is that it’s not as awful as the rest of their work.

‘Feed The Machine’ is out now via BMG

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I play/watch/listen to things, then write about playing/watching/listening to things. Special powers include downing two litres of tea at a time and binging a 13-episode Netflix series in 12 hours

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