That Chad Kroeger, what a crazy bitch.
Canadian post-grungers Nickelback were by far the biggest commercial success story that rock music had to offer during the ’00s; they picked up Creed’s yarl-filled mantle when that band imploded and ran with it, dominating radio with the watery half-ballad “How You Remind Me” and selling records like it was still 1999. Despite all their success, though, Chad Kroeger and his pals wanted more; namely, they wanted to conquer the hallowed halls of the strip club.
Nudie bars were seen as something of a desirable outlet for rock bands further marginalized by radio’s increasingly sclerotic playlists, particularly in the wake of Buckcherry’s 2006 “Crazy Bitch,” which rode the pole to millions of download and ringtone sales. (They even inspired their own radio format for a brief moment.) “Crazy Bitch” still moves about 3,500 people a week to hand over $1.29 to iTunes some three years after its initial release, a sorta-impressive tally for a catalog track that isn’t “Don’t Stop Believin’.” You can bet Nickelback wanted some of that scratch.
“Something In Your Mouth”–which was co-written by Kroeger and Canadian superproducer Mutt Lange–is pretty much “Crazy Bitch” lite, with Nickelback doing its best impersonation of a band that knows what a groove is. (Kroeger apparently came up with the track’s admittedly not-terrible riff while playing around with his cell phone. Ayo, technology!) And to lead the proceedings, Kroeger turns his Yarl-O-Meter to “half-cocked sneer” and tries his hardest to call a woman a cockteasing whore without actually using the phrase:
She loves the night scene bar queen
Living for the fun taking over every dance floor like she’s the only one
In the spotlight all night kissing everyone
Trying to look so innocent while sucking on her thumb
You’re so much cooler
When you never pull it out
So much cuter
With something in your mouth
(you naughty thing)
You’re ripping up the dance floor honey
(you naughty woman)
You shake your ass around for everyone
I love the way you dance with anybody
(the way you swing)
And tease them all by sucking on your thumb
You know, at least in “Crazy Bitch,” Josh Todd was open about actually sleeping with the woman in question, instead of merely hate-wanting her.
And yes, the song’s subject puts nothing racier than a thumb in her mouth during its agonizing duration–Nickelback’s relentless eyes-on-the-prizeism means that no out-and-out references to sexual contact could pass through the studio. Of course, when Kroeger sings about putting things in mouths, some scholars of Nickelback lore might have uncomfortable flashbacks to his revelations of extreme bendiness. Perhaps that was a quease-inducing Easter egg for the true Nickelbackers out there?