Nickelback, Rockstar: the lyrics and their meaning

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Rockstar is an old song by Nickelback, written in 2006. The song became again viral in 2021 after a TikTok creator, The Lottery Winners, remixed the song in a Sea Shanty version inspired by Wellerman. The new version became popular after Nickelback re-shared it here on TikTok and also on Youtube, and people started to deepen the lyrics of the original song, which are different than in the Sea Shanty version. In this article, we will explore the initial song’s meaning and provide the complete original lyrics at the end.

You can find the official video of the original song below.

Nickelback - Rockstar [OFFICIAL VIDEO]
Watch this video on YouTube.

Rockstar: inside the lyrics and their meaning

Rockstar is a song about the thirst for fame. In the lyrics, Nickelback’s members say that their life and career still haven’t gone the way they wanted, as they are still not very famous as they wanted to be. Although the band had already made several number-one hits like 2001’s How You Remind Me and 2003’s Someday, the song’s beginning describes their struggle to be recognized as VIPs, trying to get into clubs without success.

I’m through with standing in line to clubs I’ll never get in
It’s like the bottom of the ninth and I’m never gonna win
This life hasn’t turned out quite the way I want it to be

From there, the lyrics inside Rockstar describe the kind of lifestyle they want to achieve: having big mansions, being surrounded by groupies, owning expensive cars, and living the stereotypical life of a rockstar. The dream of every musician, according to the song. This narrative takes most part of the song, already from the first verse:

I want a brand new house on an episode of Cribs
And a bathroom I can play baseball in
And a king size tub big enough for ten plus me
(Ah, so what you need?)
I’ll need a, a credit card that’s got no limit
And a big black jet with a bedroom in it
Gonna join the mile high club at thirty-seven thousand feet
(Been there, done that)
I want a new tour bus full of old guitars
My own star on Hollywood Boulevard
Somewhere between Cher and James Dean is fine for me

All lines are about being rich, famous, and recognized. The symbols of wealth are the ones people see on TV or in magazines. There is also a recurrent voice (the lines in parenthesis) that asks them if that’s what they really want and what they are keen to do to achieve that. In the song, that voice is interpreted by ZZ Top’s singer Billy Gibbons and his role may be revealed in the pre-chorus:

I’m gonna trade this life for fortune and fame
I’d even cut my hair and change my name

People interpreted those lines as selling their souls to the devil: trading this life, changing names and haircuts, all that might mean sacrificing essential parts of their identity to achieve what they really want, to be real rockstars. From this point of view, it’s the devil talking through Billy Gibbons’ voice, and the outcome of the agreement would then be what’s described in the chorus, representing all the stereotypes of a famous musician again:

‘Cause we all just wanna be big rockstars
And live in hilltop houses driving fifteen cars
The girls come easy and the drugs come cheap
We’ll all stay skinny ’cause we just won’t eat
And we’ll hang out in the coolest bars
In the VIP with the movie stars
Every good gold digger’s gonna wind up there
Every Playboy bunny with her bleach blond hair, and we’ll
Hey, hey, I wanna be a rockstar (Ooh)
Hey, hey, I wanna be a rockstar

Is Rockstar by Nickelback ironic?

The question comes naturally while analyzing the real meaning of Rockstar lyrics, and we can most likely confirm that the song is, in fact, ironic. Nickelback were already famous and rich when they wrote this song, and indeed they faithfully described the excesses of that lifestyle. Even the band’s bassist Mike Kroeger confirmed in an interview with Tone Deaf that the lyrics are “absurd.” Another confirmation of the ironic theory is the official video you can see above: the lines are sung by ordinary people expressing the general desire to become famous, not by Nickelback’s singer Chad Kroeger.

From this point of view, the real meaning of the lyrics inside Rockstar is: being a famous rockstar is like selling your soul to the devil, and all the extreme expressions of lifestyle we describe in this song are just an illusion of what a life worth living is. We understand that being rich and famous makes life easier in many aspects, but listing all the symbols of that fame, we hope you realize that it’s all pure appearance.

Read other popular song lyrics meaning on Auralcrave

The complete lyrics

I’m through with standing in line to clubs I’ll never get in
It’s like the bottom of the ninth and I’m never gonna win
This life hasn’t turned out quite the way I want it to be
(Tell me what you want)
I want a brand new house on an episode of Cribs
And a bathroom I can play baseball in
And a king size tub big enough for ten plus me
(Ah, so what you need?)

I’ll need a, a credit card that’s got no limit
And a big black jet with a bedroom in it
Gonna join the mile high club at thirty-seven thousand feet
(Been there, done that)
I want a new tour bus full of old guitars
My own star on Hollywood Boulevard
Somewhere between Cher and James Dean is fine for me
(So how you gonna do it?)

I’m gonna trade this life for fortune and fame
I’d even cut my hair and change my name

‘Cause we all just wanna be big rockstars
And live in hilltop houses driving fifteen cars
The girls come easy and the drugs come cheap
We’ll all stay skinny ’cause we just won’t eat
And we’ll hang out in the coolest bars

In the VIP with the movie stars
Every good gold digger’s gonna wind up there
Every Playboy bunny with her bleach blond hair, and we’ll
Hey, hey, I wanna be a rockstar (Ooh)
Hey, hey, I wanna be a rockstar

I wanna be great like Elvis without the tassels
Hire eight bodyguards that love to beat up assholes
Sign a couple autographs so I can eat my meals for free
(I’ll have the quesadilla, ha-ha)
I’m gonna dress my ass with the latest fashion
Get a front door key to the Playboy mansion
Gonna date a centerfold that loves to blow my money for me
(Does this make me look fat?)
(So how you gonna do it?)

I’m gonna trade this life for fortune and fame
I’d even cut my hair and change my name

‘Cause we all just wanna be big rockstars
And live in hilltop houses driving fifteen cars
The girls come easy and the drugs come cheap
We’ll all stay skinny ’cause we just won’t eat
And we’ll hang out in the coolest bars

In the VIP with the movie stars
Every good gold digger’s gonna wind up there
Every Playboy bunny with her bleach blond hair, and we’ll
And we’ll hide out in the private rooms
With the latest dictionary of today’s who’s who

They’ll get you anything with that evil smile
Everybody’s got a drug dealer on speed dial, well
Hey, hey, I wanna be a rockstar

I’m gonna sing those songs that offend the censors
Gonna pop my pills from a Pez dispenser
Get washed-up singers writing all my songs
Lip sync ’em every night so I don’t get ’em wrong

Well, we all just wanna be big rockstars
And live in hilltop houses driving fifteen cars
The girls come easy and the drugs come cheap
We’ll all stay skinny ’cause we just won’t eat
And we’ll hang out in the coolest bars

In the VIP with the movie stars
Every good gold digger’s gonna wind up there
Every Playboy bunny with her bleach blond hair
And we’ll hide out in the private rooms
With the latest dictionary of today’s who’s who

They’ll get you anything with that evil smile
Everybody’s got a drug dealer on speed dial, well
Hey, hey, I wanna be a rockstar (Ooh)
Hey, hey, I wanna be a rockstar