According to legend (or Wikipedia), Nickelback take their name from bassist Mike Kroeger’s former job at Starbucks, where he would frequently utter the phrase “Here’s your nickel back” when giving customers their change.
We only mention that now because it’s quite possibly the only explanation for the ‘Back’s brand-new “Trying Not to Love You” video, which premiered Friday (August 17) and just might be the greatest thing they’ve ever done (next to “Bottom’s Up,” of course) … or at the very least, the weirdest.
The clip stars Jason Alexander — best known for his work as George Costanza on “Seinfeld” (or, to a lesser extent, Bob Patterson) — as a kindly coffee monkey who falls in love with a customer and attempts to woo her with his frothy creations. His plan appears to be working, as the two share small talk and some cosmically caffeinated fantasy scenes, until a lone-wolf lothario (also played by Alexander; that’s right, dual roles!) shows up on the scene and tries to steal the spotlight. Turns out, he’s also handy with the steaming pitcher, and the two engage in a high-noon barista battle in which no milk is left un-frothed.
As the two sling lattes, a crowd gathers, and though at the end of their showdown, the suave Alexander stands triumphant, it’s not enough to sway the affections of the woman — played by Brooke Burns, in a role that rivals anything she did on “Baywatch” — who leaves with the other Alexander on the back of a scooter. Oh, and the whole thing is presented as a sitcom (complete with title cards) and Nickelback themselves never actually make an appearance (maybe they were in the bathroom or something).
Yes, it’s certainly a stylistic departure for Nickelback — mostly because there are no helicopter shots or pyrotechnics — and though their label, Roadrunner Records, assures us it is the “official video,” the “Trying Not to Love You” clip seems to have many folks thinking otherwise. A sampling of early YouTube comments runs the gamut from utter shock (“WTF is this? This is a pice [sic] of sh–!”) and disbelief (“Do Nickelback know that their song is being used for this video?”) to anger (“What the hell did I just watch? A video about nothing?”) and, well, acceptance (“Come on guys, this video sucks, but the song is great”).
Of course, there are some fans who seem to genuinely enjoy the video, thus proving that, as is the case with all great art, no two opinions are alike. And while we’re still awaiting any kind of actual comment from Nickelback about the clip — an email to the band’s rep was not responded to by press time — we’d like to think that somewhere, they’re reading all these comments and having a good laugh … and maybe a half-caff soy latte too. Come to think of it, that’s not a bad idea. It’s Friday, after all.