Nickelback and Trapt

As an adulthood-long vegetarian, I don't much care for meat. But potatoes I love: boiled, broiled, roasted, baked, freedom fried, whatever. This means I'm digging about half of The Long Road, the new one by stout Canadian hard-rockers Nickelback and the follow-up to 2001's mega-selling Silver Side Up, the home of "How You Remind Me," the best Temple of the Dog song anyone was lucky enough to hear last year. Sadly, the 'Back don't reach as deep into their bag of bubble-grunge brio this time around: too much puffed-up wheel-spinning like tough-tempoed opener "Flat on the Floor" and the riff-rattling "Because of You"; too few full-throated power-ballad melodies like the ones in "Feelin' Way Too Damn Good" and lead single "Someday." (Front man Chad Kroeger's lyrical gristle, though, remains organic enough for any tofu chomper: "I like your pants around your feet," "We gotta make love just one last time in the shower," "For 48 hours I don't think that we left my hotel room.") Openers Trapt are currently trapped in modern-rock singledom thanks to the inexplicable success of their hit "Headstrong," an enjoyable-enough sliver of silvery guitar chug, passably impassioned emo-metal yowling and disappointingly recorded drums that could do with some extra oomph. It's, like, the hash browns of alt-rock.
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Mikael Wood