The Daily Collegian reviewed the new Nickelback album, Dark Horse, in today’s edition of the paper. Now I had reviewed the same album about a week and a half ago, so it was a pleasure to see that someone on the Collegian staff shared my sentiments about Nickelback’s mediocrity and unoriginality.
Until I read the album’s final grade, that is.
Throughout the course of the review, the author, Andrew Steadman, blasts Nickelback for continuing to use the same formulaic approach to songwriting, juvenile lyrics, a lack of subtlety, and much more. While reading, I found myself agreeing with all of his points. “Yeah!” I shouted to myself, “Someone agrees with me! This album is horrible! Tell it like it is!”
Yet it still received a grade of a C-.
Let me put this into perspective. A C- is a passing grade. If I got a C- in all of my classes from now until the end of college, I would still graduate. Getting a C- on a project would mean that there was some sort of redeeming quality about it, something that would prevent it from being deemed a failure. What could Steadman have thought was redeeming about Dark Horse?
I went back through the review and could only find two remotely positive things that were said about the album – the song “Something In Your Mouth” could be considered “dumb fun” and the last track opens with laughter, a departure from the rest of Nickelback’s catalogue. Are those two moments really spectacular enough to propel Nickelback’s latest offering of musical feces to a passing grade?
Furthermore, if Dark Horse can earn a C-, what would be deserving of an F? Would I have to record myself playing a single note on the saxophone for forty seven minutes (sorry, Kenny G) while describing my hatred for Penn State football in order to get a failing grade? Or would that just be a D?
This whole review reminds me of an old adage – Rolling Stone did not become irrelevant in a day. People eventually stopped caring about what Rolling Stone had to say about music when they realized that every review fell somewhere along the 3-4 out of 5 mark (speaking of which, Rolling Stone gave Dark Horse a 3.5 out of 5, and their review was significantly more positive). If the Collegian wants to be respected as a music review source, then I suggest they take more chances and give more outstanding scores to media. After all, why bother reviewing if your scale is C- to B+?