x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

The Guetta-Nickelback connection

David Guetta and Nickelback? You heard it here first

A colleague asked which artist the Creamfields headliner David Guetta should collaborate with next. The answer is Nickelback, without a question.

The reasoning is straightforward: Guetta is the Nickelback of dance music while Nickelback are the Guetta of rock.

Consider this: both are equally loved and loathed for their music, with some labelling them the rebirth and others the death of their respective genres.

The comparisons don't end there, either. The Frenchman Guetta and the Canadians Nickelback began as independent artists who built up a fan base by initially composing more interesting variations of their current tunes.

Nickelback were more on the metallic edge before drifting off to lucrative, poppy territory, while Guetta's earlier material was more breezy and organic before he cashed in with super-polished productions.

Both artists' success didn't solely come from what their critics deem selling out. Instead, their tunes acted as a safe bridge to genres their fans feared to investigate.

Guetta, more than any of his peers, merged the worlds of hip-hop and dance. Correctly identifying hip-hop's gift for rhythm, he married dexterous rappers to dance hooks and, in turn, created a new legion of fans who found hip-hop too grimy and electronic music too cold.

Nickelback fused elements of modern heavy metal and 1990s grunge with a keen ear for pop hooks, making a home for fans scared off by Metallica and too tough for the likes of Matchbox 20.

Another ace up their sleeves is that both sound much better live than on record.

Guetta's sold-out solo performance at du Arena in March (and again on Friday for Creamfields) found him loose; he gave his most sugary hits a harder sound that was almost tribal.

It was the same formula followed by Nickelback last month when they were headlining one of the Formula One concerts, also at du Arena. Live on stage, they unleashed their inner metal band, converting a few cynics into fans in the process.

Finally, both artists revel in their popularity and do not miss the early days.

"I figure, if I'm going to open up my mouth and scream into a microphone, I want as many people as possible to be around to hear it," said the Nickelback's frontman Chad Kroeger en-route to Abu Dhabi.

"There are always going to be people that will want to keep the music in the basement, but for me it doesn't make sense," said Guetta after his Abu Dhabi performance earlier this year.

You see? Both artists are made for each other.


Saeed Saeed is a reporter for The National's Arts & Life