Chad Kroeger laughs when asked if the phenomenal sales for 2005’s “All the Right Reasons” gave confidence to Nickelback as it set out to make its sixth studio album, “Dark Horse.” “No, because look what we have to try to live up to,” says Kroeger, who co-founded the quartet in 1995 in Alberta, Canada. “There’s a mountain sitting behind us. We’ve got to try and put something out now that’s going to stand up to that. So for us, the bar has been raised ridiculously high.”
“Dark Horse,” which comes out this week on Roadrunner and was co-produced by Mutt Lange, certainly has a target to clear. Buoyed by seven multiformat hit singles and five No. 1 videos — and apparently unaffected by widespread critical drubbing — “All the Right Reasons” has sold 10 million copies worldwide, according to Roadrunner, and spent a staggering 110 consecutive weeks in the top 30 of the Billboard 200.
First single “Gotta Be Somebody” has already sold more than half a million downloads in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan. “I had the chorus, and we recorded it, actually, when Mutt went home to go spend some time with his son. Before he came back I played him this chorus over the phone, and he was like, ‘Oh, I want to get working on that song as soon as we get back to the studio!'”
“Dark Horse” is Lange’s first full album production credit since ex-wife Shania Twain’s last album in 2002. “I think Mutt was coming into a situation where he knew Nickelback fans were happy with everything we’d been putting out so far,” Kroeger says. “He didn’t really want to change the band too much; he just wanted to bring in a slightly different perspective and a slightly different influence. It definitely still sounds like Nickelback, but you’re definitely going to hear a couple different flavors.”