Somehow, it’s always funny when someone makes a Creed joke, isn’t it? Same with Nickelback or Rita Ora. These aren’t just people who fell off the map and fell from grace. These are artists who are alive and well, selling a lot more records than expected, who have a strong fan base somewhere. But for one reason or another, there’s a majority on the Internet and in the media who have decided that they hate these artists. Bono treaded that fine line when he decided it was a good idea to force his album on everyone that owns an apple product. Their names have become synonymous with “bad taste” and more often than not, when Nickelback is uttered in a conversation, it’s at the butt of a joke.
You’ve seen it in action. A few years back, there was that link that went around Facebook, you know the one. “Who to unfriend!” it read. You clicked the link and it redirected you to your Facebook friends who “like” Nickelback. It’s like cyberbullying, but a collective consciousness of bullies, messing with some of the most successful bands in America.
What is it about us that makes us love to hate so much? It feels good to to agree when people put down these bands. Could you imagine paying anything to see Creed in concert? Nickelback? Iggy Azalea? I just… Why can’t we imagine that?
I remember the first time I saw a Nickelback music video. It was the video for “Someday” on MTV Hits, channel 472 if you grew up anywhere near me. I don’t know when or how it happened, but somewhere in the following 13 years, I learned to love to hate the band. It almost feels like I woke up one day and was embarrassed to think that Nickelback is a band I can get behind. The thing is, when I first saw the video I actually kind of liked the song? Crazy, I know. But that was before I knew what it meant to like Nickelback, or even what people thought of the band across the globe. I think somewhere along the way, I saw people spewing hate for the band and jokes on the Internet putting the band down, and I finally realized that in order to fit in, I also have to hate the band. It doesn’t matter why, I just had to.
And I still don’t really understand why. Like, they obviously have a fan base. People who actually buy their records and go to their shows. It’s easy to dismiss this fact by saying “People who listen to Nickelback are idiots though.” or “They obviously have never heard good music.” But being educated doesn’t really have anything to do with listening to music, does it? I mean, you don’t need to be able to read to hear a song and decide whether you like how it sounds or not. Since when did listening to unpopular music equate to a lack of culture or education?
A quick Google search revealed that I’m not actually the only person on Earth who doesn’t get why people hate these bands so much. There are a ton of possible reasons listed as to why people hate these bands, but no one solid reason that isn’t based in personal bias or conjecture. I guess what I’m trying to find out is, why are there bands that everyone seems to hate, and how did we learn to hate these bands? Because Creed, Rita Ora, Nickelback, and beyond have never done anything to hurt me personally. And though I’ve engaged in the occasional light-hearted hateful banter, I’ve never felt my ears were particularly assaulted by their music. Actually, listening to them now, I don’t see anything bad about their music per se. It’s not my cup of tea, and a little generic, maybe, but not bad.
I think my friend summed it up perfectly when I asked him if he hated Nickelback. He told me, “I kind of piggyback off of hate for Nickelback. I hate them, but I’ve never listened to them.” Why do people really hate bands like Nickelback or Creed? Because other people hate them, I guess.
Maybe I am like the Nickelback fan, not “enlightened” enough to get why it’s all so bad. Is it wrong to not totally hate these artists based on some social construct of what’s good music and bad music?
I don’t know. But maybe someone enlightened, someone who gets it, can tell me.