Sometimes people ask me what it's like to be an Arsenal fan. A lot of my friends don't follow the FIFA Barclay's Premier League and they don't quite get it. Luckily I can always tell them, think of what it means to be a Nickelback fan. Every time you turn on the radio, you know you'll hear some tight, lyrically rich rock and roll that makes you think and gets you smiling. And when I can put on an Arsenal match as I have my morning Red Bull, it's the same feeling.
In honor of Arsenal's best match of the season, these are match ratings to the theme of songs by the world's best rock band.
Five Stars: "How You Remind Me"
Many Nickelback fans will pooh-pooh the band's breakout hit. And it's true, the lyrical depth of later hits like "Something in Your Mouth" is only hinted at. Earlier rockers such as the Candlebox tribute "Diggin' This" have a raw masculinity whose edges are sanded down here. But every Nickelbacker--really, every fan of rock and roll music--knows that the moment Chad Kroeger drawled, "It's not like you / to say sawry," a new musical era began That's exactly how I felt watching Arsenal bury Manchester United on Sunday.
Alexis Sanchez: When you score goals like Alexis, everyone knows you're a five-star player. But what many people don't understand is how hard the Chilean superstar works. Chad spent years in studio breaking down all the biggest hits of rock radio, running the gamut from Staind to Three Doors Down, and that hard work finally paid off in "How You Remind Me." Sanchez had been struggling for goals, but just like Chad he never stopped watching tape or working out, and both were justly rewarded.
Mesut Ozil: Sometimes there's a man, and sometimes there's a lyric just for him. "This is how you remind me of what I really am." Ozil's brilliant passing embodies what it is to be Arsenal. When the midfield maestro was finally promoted from the Arsenal academy two years ago, we were all reminded of who we are. If you want to understand Ozil, think of "How You Remind Me" and you'll get it.
Five Stars: "One Last Run"
Just like this underappreciated gem from Nickelback's 1999 album The State not all performances for the Arsenal are understood by the masses. That the genius doesn't catch the eye of the average fan or ear of the average listener doesn't matter to a purists like us, though. We just get it.
Theo Walcott: "Best of friends where'd they all go/ Try and find but no one ever knows" It's almost as if Chad and the guys were writing that lyric for Theo. We all know he would be starting for Barca or Bayern if he wanted, but unlike the traitors van Persie and Cesc, he stayed behind because he loved the club. I mean, he loves the club so much he keeps refusing to play in big international tournaments so he can stay fresh. Legend.
Santiago Cazorla: "And I want it all/ thought I got/ better find this all/ and I found out where it's all at". While some may marvel at the lyrical "genius" of a Bob Dylan, an Elvis Costello, those so called legends never had vision to rhyme "all" with "all", or "got" with "at" in rapid succession, never had the guts to craft lyrical magic without a unifying metaphor. The unorthodox beauty of these lyrics are only matched by the unorthodox beauty of seeing Santi making plays in the final third despite wearing shirts so ill fitting that he looks like an overstuffed sausage. In fact we should call him Chorizito as chorizo is a spanish style sausage. I know most of you probably haven't tried it, but it's delicious.
Petr Cech: "Better now than I'm before". Cech's transition to the club has been amazing and I do not care that some say he may be more inclined to little errors since the transfer. When one is as committed to playing football the right way as we are, expression and emotion will overwhelm the logical part of the brain from time to time and mundanities like covering the near post, or in Chad's case keeping tense constant, will be forgotten. Comes with the territory, really.
Five Stars: "Figured You Out"
Some people think of Nickelback as just Chad's band. They're so much more than that. Here we want to celebrate the Arsenal players who might not stand at the front of the stage, but without whose unsung efforts there wouldn't be a band to front. Being a true Gunner means you see these subtleties, just like being a Nickelback fan means being a fan of the whole damn band.
Francis Coquelin: When "Figured You Out" starts rocking an uncultured fan might focus on Chad's words. "And I love the places that we go / And I love the people that you know." And we love those lyrics just as we love our flash players like Alexis. But behind the vocals is the powerful bass of Mike Kroeger, churning away to keep the rest of the band in time. When I see Coquelin winning tackles and passing quickly out of midfield, I hear Mike laying down rhythms that make Nickelback the band of our lives.
Per Mertesacker and Gabriel Paulista: Great defenders can seem to disappear when they don't make mistakes. This is true of drummers too, but when Mertesacker and Paulista are reading the game, or when Daniel Adair is thumping a beat that makes you want to jump angrily in place and "accidentally" spill beer on people, they show how much more a center back or a drummer can achieve.
Mesut Ozil: That makes two five-star ratings for Ozil, and you may be confused. How can the same player be both a standout performer and a hidden gem? Well, how can Chad Kroeger be a soulful lyricist, a guitar virtuoso and the defining sex symbol of contemporary rock?
Five Stars: "S.E.X."
Hector Bellerin and Nacho Monreal; "Better bring your friend along/ better off together than one at a time" Despite possessing superhuman capacity for human empathy and subtlety, both clearly on display in "If Everyone Cared", Chad is a only man, and a man has needs. The fullbacks appealed to the baser human desires last time out with their directness and aggression. In fact, every time these boys overlapped in the attack it was a footballing menage a trois, two of our attackers on one of theirs.
Aaron Ramsey: Aaron Ramsey's beard wants to have sex I think.
No Arsenal player, and no song in Nickelback's discography, deserves a mere four star rating.
Of course no Arsenal player, and no song in Nickelback's discography, deserves just a three star rating.
You really think there's a two-star Nickelback song? Get out of here. Arsenal players likewise.
The Short Fuse has been taken over today by Cartilage Free Captain, SB Nation's Tottenham Hotspur blog! For the humor-impaired, articles posted today are intended to be parody and do not reflect the views (or even the writing!) of The Short Fuse writing staff.
But we did not make up a single one of those lyrics. All real.