Look At This Nickelback
Nickelback’s “Photograph” was released as downloadable content for Rock Band 2 recently, bringing a bit of personal history full circle. Much like how the heart-wrenching lyrics of “Photograph” reflect on wasted youth, I would like to take this moment to examine how the song made itself an unforgettable part of my life.
Back in 2007, I was assigned a review for Karaoke Revolution Presents: American Idol — the latest entry in Konami’s singing franchise, and the first to carry the American Idol license.
Reviewing any karaoke game is always a challenge, since any given reviewer is only going to know how to sing about half of the songs included on the disc. So I worked my way through the setlist, listening to some songs for the very first time and learning how to sing them on the spot.
One track stuck out — Nickelback’s “Photograph.” It seemed to come up more often than any other song in the single-player career mode, and when I’d finally completed the game, I was encouraged to sing a final encore. The song it picked for me was, of course, “Photograph.”
After singing it so many times in a row, the lyrics stopped mattering entirely, and at one point I managed to get a perfect score on the song just by deliriously singing the word “Nickelback” over and over.
Look at this Nickelback
Every time I do, it Nickelbacks
And the Nickelback did Nickelback
Nickel Nickelback the Nickelback!
What made this particularly memorable was the custom character I’d created for the game using a feature that allows players to capture their own faces with an EyeToy camera. This was, actually, a pretty neat concept. Players represent themselves in current-generation games with Xbox 360 Avatars and Miis; putting their actual faces on in-game characters was an unusually forward-thinking idea back in 2005.
So why hasn’t this feature been used in any game since? Well, it might be because it makes you look like a muppet burn victim.
Imagine this guy — this monster — singing along to “Photograph” using only variations on the word “Nickelback,” and you’ll understand why I love this song so much, even though it is actually quite terrible.
To its credit, though, Karaoke Revolution Presents: American Idol at least gave me an outlet for my secret furry fetishism.
Last weekend, thanks to Rock Band 2, I sang a cover of “Photograph” that lay dormant for three years — this time with a backing band. It was every bit as wonderful an experience as I’d hoped.
Every Nickelback was backin’ at the backdoooor
Then it Nickelbacked and Nickelbacked and backed some mooooore
I then followed up with similarly stirring renditions of the Spin Doctors’ “Two Princes” and Smashmouth’s “All Star” shortly before passing out.