From Nickelback to Bickelnack

I saw that Nickelback  just received a Grammy nomination for Best Hard Rock Performance with their song ‘Burn it to the Ground’ and wanted to celebrate the event. Since Nickelback is known for their consistent sound, I thought I’d try to remix their Grammy-nominated performance to highlight their awesome self-similarity.  So I wrote a little code to remix ‘Burning to the Ground’ with itself.  The algorithm I used is pretty straightforward:

  1. Break the song down into smallest nuggets of sound (a.k.a segments)
  2. For each segment, replace it with a different segment that sounds most similar

I applied the algorithm to the music video.  Here are the results:

Considering that none of the audio is in its original order,  and 38% of the original segments are never used, the remix sounds quite musical and the corresponding video is quite watchable.  Compare to the original (warning, it is Nickelback):

Feel free to browse the source code, download remix and try creating your own.

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  1. #1 by Luke Barrington on December 3, 2009 - 2:08 pm

    That is now the most Nickelback I’ve ever listened to…

    The video segmentation is great – I didn’t realize that this was so easy to do.

  2. #2 by Adrian Holovaty on December 3, 2009 - 3:35 pm

    This is awesome.

    I’m not sure I’d call the remix “quite musical,” though. Maybe “just as musical as the original” would be more accurate. :-)

  3. #3 by Brian McFee on December 3, 2009 - 3:50 pm

    This is awesome. It reminds me of an idea that I had for making a Nickelback detector (along the lines of your Journey detector): it would be a measure of homogeneity of an artist’s catalog.

    Guess I should get coding…

  4. #4 by TEDJAMES on December 3, 2009 - 5:32 pm

    Does that guy bleach his hair?

  5. #5 by kioopi on December 3, 2009 - 5:45 pm

    Don’t let your work fall into the wrong hands!

    If Nicklebacks producers knew, they’d probably just generate a couple of new albums with it and call it a day.

  6. #6 by Benjamin on December 3, 2009 - 6:53 pm

    Have you tried your algorithm on a music video that you DO like? My guess is that you will find that the results are similar. It’ll still sound vaguely like the original song.

  7. #7 by Terry Hart on December 4, 2009 - 12:18 pm

    Awesome :) Any chance the same algorithm could be run using several songs from Nickelback’s catalog? I’d imagine the results would be much the same.

  8. #8 by markeyev on December 7, 2009 - 9:39 am

    Хуйня и издевательство. Всю музыкальность потерял по пути к “узникалиации” песни.

  9. #9 by Jason Soares on December 15, 2009 - 7:47 pm

    I hope you are familiar with the track Nickelback – How You Remind Me Of Someday.mp3? Someone realized that if you lined up 2 of Nickelbacks tracks next to each other and only adjusting tempo the songs lined up uncannily similar.

  10. #10 by Chris Loosley on December 25, 2009 - 2:34 am

    Well, you proved that Nickleback’s music is boring, no matter how you slice it.

  11. #11 by Pavel on January 5, 2010 - 12:43 pm

    Markeyev, da? Mne voobscheto novaya versia nravitsa bolshe.

    (Markeyev, really? I like the new version better.)

  12. #12 by OtherMichael on January 5, 2010 - 2:43 pm


    I’d be interested in hearing the replacements from a larger sample catalog — not just the artists own. This depends a lot upon the “similarity” algorithm, as well as the size of the audio “nuggets”.

    This is not quite Markovian analysis, which always gets more interesting with a larger sample.

  1. » Nickelback vs. Nickelback: Ein Self-Similarity Remix | 78s - Das Magazin für bessere Musik
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