SE40 Week 5 – You Can Keep The Goddamn Nickel If We Can Have Your Passport

We Canadians have a strange relationship with those of our own who manage to achieve international success in any field. On the one hand we’re fiercely proud of any Canadian who “makes it” out there in the big bad (American) world, and we delight in pointing out, about anyone famous, “hey, did you know that she’s Canadian? Yup it’s true.” And we really love it when our successful cultural exports are obviously Canadian, like these:



At the same time we will often feel betrayed by those who leave for larger, if not greener, pastures. Like this guy (and no it wasn’t his fault, but yes I’m still hurt).


I remember my dad announcing the trade to me, which I didn’t quite understand, but I knew it was bad, and that we’d lost something irreplaceable.

There’s another category of Canadian stars who never achieve success internationally, and it puzzles us. Like these guys, who should be international legends:

They're freaking awesome, I'm from Kingston, so just keep your comments to yourself.
They’re freaking awesome, and I’m from Kingston, so just keep your comments to yourself.

And finally, there is the dark, terrible category of Canadian internationally known celebrities: the ones we just pretend aren’t ours. Such as:




You’re thinking, oh god yes Bieber is the worst. But no, he’s not. The worst is so much worse:


Yes. Nickelback. No Canadian export has brought us more shame than these clowns, and I’d say that without hearing a single second of their music, based solely on Kroeger’s hair.

Hey baby. I'm wearing a velour tunic. I'll let you touch it.
Hey baby. I’m wearing a velour tunic. I’ll let you touch it.
Chad, baby, we think you will sell 5% more records if you look more like Clay Aiken, will you do it? You had me at "sell".
Chad, baby, we think you will sell 5% more records if you look more like Clay Aiken, will you do it? You had me at “sell”.

These guys are the very essence of brainless, terrible everything, holding aloft the torch bequeathed to them by the Jovi and Axl. Nothing on earth can satisfactorily explain why Nickelback, of all the great acts in Canada, became so huge, except maybe the lingering effects of lead paint on IQ. And in spite of all this, this week’s quiz amazingly revealed that Nickelback’s (cringe) hit song How You Remind Me (2001) was the most lyrically sophisticated rock tune to hit number one. Yes, this is truly a case of being the tallest midget, but still it’s disappointing.

The video for the song shows the band playing in a club, using that stupid green filter every rock video of the day used. Then, using the even worse blue filter, we see Kroeger seemingly hallucinating about his memorable times with a vaguely pan-ethnic woman (prostitute?). Kroeger is then sad, which is subtly hinted at by him walking in the rain. Then cut back to the show, and the pan-ethnic prostitute appears in real life. Kroeger then pushes her away dismissively, which is what real men do. She leaves, but the music is so awesome that she returns and dances sexily. The end. What a video!

Now let’s look at the lyrics.

And this is how you remind me
This is how you remind me
Of what I really am
This is how you remind me
Of what I really am

It’s not like you to say sorry
I was waiting on a different story
This time I’m mistaken
For handing you a heart worth breaking
And I’ve been wrong, I’ve been down,
Been to the bottom of every bottle
These five words in my head
Scream “are we having fun yet?”

Yeah, yeah, yeah, no, no
Yeah, yeah, yeah, no, no

That’s the most sophisticated rock song?! Jesus! How bad could the other contenders be? Well, in a way I’m happy to report that at least in the last two decades there are virtually no rock songs at number one to contend with Kroeger, expect Creed‘s total abomination With Arms Wide Open, so that’s some sort of consolation (ed note: Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men were commercial wreaking balls in their day, damn!). For a tour of the truly atrocious, check out the wiki list of post-grunge bands. Yikes.

But I, in my service to you dear reader, have risked my very sanity to uncover Kroeger’s greatest crime for your amusement, and I think I’ve done it. Unfortunately he has tonnes of money, which he has probably used to buy a pet panther named Chad Kougar and to set up a charity to help underprivileged children grow goatees. Such activities don’t really hurt us, the rest of the world. But Kroeger couldn’t limit himself to these sorts of things. Oh no, he insisted on creating a record label and signing acts even worse than himself, like a mould colony breeding on itself. So thanks to Chad we now have My Darkest Days, straight out of Peterborough. Here we see them pictured doing their very best to look extra vacant (success!) and to dispel the rumours that at least one of their parents are women’s studies or environmental science professors at Trent.

All set boys? Yup, nothing we'll later regret here, let's do it!
All set boys? Yup, nothing we’ll later regret here, let’s do it!

Kroeger heard these guys and signed them instantly, and their next big song was Porn Star Dancing, which was so awesome that he insisted on guest starring on it.

The video features the band playing in a happy, fun strip club, and the song – if it’s about anything at all – is about how actual women have agency, which is a total drag, so pornography and strip clubs are way more fun. I’m not kidding. Here’s our boy Chad’s verse:

Stacy’s gonna save herself for marriage
But that’s just not my style
She’s got a pair that’s nice to stare at
But I want girls gone wild

But I know a place where there’s always a show
The dollar decides how far you can go

STOP IT. SERIOUSLY. And there is zero, none, absolutely no sense of irony at all in any of this trash, or any hint of realization that he’s actually perfectly summarizing his own career. Oh god. Here, see for yourself, and see if you can’t last more than five seconds. I’ve cued up Kroeger’s cameo for you.

This review of the Nickelback song Rockstar from the Guardian is pretty entertaining if you want some more piling-on. And don’t forget that in the Canadian Trivia League “the worst band in the world” is a legally acceptable substitute for Nickelback.

Tune in tomorrow for a bonus edition featuring the ultimate Canadian celebrity.

4 thoughts on “SE40 Week 5 – You Can Keep The Goddamn Nickel If We Can Have Your Passport

  1. Epic. I’ve told Paul before he has it backwards; I always tell teams during the answer round that the correct response is “Worst Band in the World”…but that we will also accept “Nickelback”.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Why oh why did that never occur to me?! It’s so obvious! Paul you need to issue a Trivial Papal Bull immediately to your acolytes to instruct them in this change of dogma.


  2. FWIW, the survey was based on raw syllable counts … so if your chorus has a lot of single syllable words, you’re screwed. This is why country did so well … no “yeah, yeah, yeah” no “baby, baby, baby”


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