Everybody loves an easy target, and Nickelback appear to have stepped up to the plate to become one of the most hated bands in the world. That’s the impression you’ll get at least. But we have to wonder how many closet Nickelback fans there must be.

You see the band continue to fill stadiums, and are one of few remaining bands who can still sell records by the truckload. Nickelback’s just released new album, Here and Now, sold 227,000 copies in its first week in the US alone, good enough for a No. 2 debut on the charts and just missing out on Number 1 by a few thousand.

The album has now charted in over 21 countries, including going number 1 in Japan and Australia. Wait, what? Yes, you read that right. Nickelback topped the charts here. But before you start banging on about how you’d rather drink bleach than listen to a Nickelback song consider some of the recent behaviour of the band.

Victims of an online campaign to have them booted off as half-time entertainment at a football game in Detroit that saw a petition garner over 55,000 signatures, the band nonetheless pressed ahead with the performance.

But while many artists would have simply walked away, Nickelback played regardless, amongst all the booing from the crowd, knowing full well that they weren’t even getting paid for the gig. That’s right, the band was there in support of an education campaign by the United Way.

And just last week a young band from Nickelback’s home turf in Canada, Pardon My Striptease, challenge to rock veterans to match donations to their province’s children’s hospital if a song they wrote could beat Nickelback’s new single on the iTunes charts. Pardon My Striptease’s song was written for a one-year-old who is battling brain cancer at the hospital.

So what did Nickelback do? They turned around and donated $50,000 to the hospital and challenged the two local papers who had been making a big song and dance about whether they would to match them. The papers have thus far remained silent.

“It choked everybody up,” guitarist Brendan Woodruff from Pardon My Striptease told the Vancouver Sun. “You know, $50,000 is amazing. [Nickelback] took our game and took it a step higher.”

In these days and ages it has become almost de rigueur to disown a band if they should dare to commit the crime of becoming popular. Sure, don’t get us wrong. Nickelback’s music still sucks. And if you want to get laid anytime this century it’s probably best to steer well clear of them. But maybe we’re all being a little too harsh on the band.

And before you jump down out throats accusing us of being rednecks with no musical taste, we’re simply congratulating Nickelback for the genius of positioning themselves behind poor little sick children. Nice move Nickelback. You win this round.