The "God of Rock"

Nickelback – Rockstar (2006)

To be a rock star is to achieve Nirvana. You have an army of fans, get to travel the world, and be responsible for enriching the lives of thousands of people. It is a term that has transcended music itself. It is also the focus for Chart-Topping Canadian rock band, Nickelback’s hit anthem Rockstar.

The "God of Rock"
The “God of Rock” Himself (Source: Roadrunner Records)

The song is incredibly hook-driven, after hearing the acoustic guitar ring out and hypnotic drumbeat, you’ll have the track stuck in your head for months. The chorus manages to inspire a fervent desire to sing, regardless of who or where you are. It is catchy, with a simple and effective arrangement that evokes the tonal sounds of a country record. Alongside the video’s settings, for instance, by an Army Base, effectively conveys the feel of America, ultimately lending back to the songs core ideas.

Shots like this one helps convey the Patriotic feel of Rockstar
Shots like this one help convey the patriotic feeling of Rockstar. (Source: Roadrunner Records)

The lyrics are an interesting affair covering the monologue of a wannabe rock star, listing the perks of the gig to the “God of Rock” (Legendary ZZ Top Vocalist Billy Gibbons) and the sacrifices they are willing to take. Nowhere in the lyrics do they mention about the actual craft of making rock music, only the superficial thrills and the realistic costs in order to achieve this vocation. Here is where the song is interesting, holding up a mirror to the perceived realities of the rockstar lifestyle, and in a way, highlighting the unintended appeal of these trade-offs to the common person.

Even Gene Simmons wants to be a rockstar!
Even Gene Simmons wants to be a rock star! (Source: Roadrunner Records)

The video is a montage of everyday people and celebrities mouthing along to the lyrics. Representing how endemic the dream of being a titular rockstar actually is. It also showcases a whole host of cameos from actress Dominique Swain to Gene Simmons. Here the cast takes lip syncing up to 11 and it serves as an effective tool to get the audience to sing along and have fun with the track. The video ends with a shot of an audience at a Nickelback concert singing the final line of the final chorus, singing it directly to the viewer. It is a strong send-off for the video and the chorus of the crowd helps the line resonate as the video ends, summing up the concepts of the song succinctly.

This shot was definitely not chosen in an attempt to boost readers
This shot was definitely not chosen in an attempt to boost readers. (Source: Roadrunner Records)
...Nor this one
…Nor this one. (Source: Roadrunner Records)

Nickelback’s rockstar is a catchy tune that manages to get everybody nodding along and singing, like any good rock ballad would, but it rewards you for taking the time out to actually listen to the words you’re singing and realise the shallowness of the dream. Putting it up there with some of the other oxymoronic anthems that have had their message misinterpreted. The chorus famously states that “we all wanna be big rockstars” but the question is after taking it all on board, do we?

The music video can be found here… If you want more positive reviews delivered to the e-mail box of your choice, you can click on that little text bubble at the bottom of the screen. Do you agree, disagree or have a suggestion for another pop-culture artefact that needs a positive light shone on it? Leave a comment in the comment box below! But remember to keep it positive!

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