Release Date: November 18, 2008
Reviewed by Evelyn Miska

Nickelback may be one of the most maligned groups in recent pop-rock history and, to be honest, there is a great deal of truth in those criticisms. No strangers to re-hashing age-old themes of sex, drugs and rock and roll, Dark Horse is a perfect example of what is frustrating about Nickelback. Full of bombastic choruses (one can imagine them envisioning just “how cool” it would be to perform such songs in packed arenas) and verging on distastetful and offensive lyrics, there is little to like about Dark Horse.

“Something In Your Mouth” just might win the award for most offensive song on the album. With banal lyrics such as “gotta meet the hottie with the million dollar body” and “dirty little lady with the pretty pink thong” the song doesn’t get off to a great start. The chorus is the clincher with the stellar lyric, “You’re so much cooler when you never pull it out, ‘cause you look so much cuter with something in your mouth.” Cringe-inducing and likely offensive to some listeners, this is a perfect example of lead singer Chad Kroeger’s crass approach to women.

Nickelback can’t seem to decide if they’re trying to be the soulful and empathetic types or the hard-drinking, stripper-loving types. On the predictable ballads such as “Never Gonna Be Alone” and “I’d Come For You” the best that can be said is that the lyrics about thongs are left behind, but listeners may have trouble finding any shred of sincerity in Kroeger’s lyrics based on the grossness of most of the other tracks.

One has to wonder if Kroeger or the band as a whole is trying to prove how manly they are with tracks such as “S.E.X.” and the song is just what the title leads one to expect. Trite and inane lyrics, Kroeger’s signature growl and attempts at singing make the song almost unbearable to listen to, and one of his bandmates might want to give Kroeger a dictionary since he seems to think “simplety” is a word.

It isn’t unusual for a band or artist to have a slip-up with a song or an album that doesn’t meet their true potential. While Nickelback has never been likely to win an award for great originality, they have managed to write a few guilty-pleasure pop-rock songs. If listeners are expecting something similar to the hit “How Your Remind Me,” they better keep looking. Die-hard Nickelback fans may still enjoy Dark Horse, but the album is definitely not going to earn the band new fans.

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