The Bottom Line
Nickelback have labored for 4 years in the shadow of their massive #1 hit "How You Remind Me," an anthem often associated with the tragedies of September 11, 2001. It's possible they've finally found a worthy followup in this simple nostalgic rock ballad.
Listen to "Photograph."
- Universal nostalgic reminiscing in the lyrics
- Chad Kroeger's room-filling voice
- Chorus that begs for singing along
- A glint of humor
- It takes a few times listening for this song to rise above the ordinary
- Basic guitar, bass, drums midtempo rock
- Lyrics describe a past of good and bad that's not always easy to leave behind
- Underlined by a confident pop melody
Guide Review - Photograph - Nickelback (Roadrunner)
The internal battle over knowing whether to stay or leave is not new territory for Nickelback, the band from British Columbia. It has been a part of the group's lyrical subject matter since their Canadian breakthrough album The State back in 2000, but rarely has their touch on the subject been so gentle and universal. Instead of straining for post-grunge bombast, Nickelback let the simple rock ballad in "Photograph" speak for itself.
Lead vocalist Chad Kroeger has been criticized for using the sheer power of his voice to pummel a song into submission. Here his trademark vocals sound merely confident and assured. You won't mistake his style here for artful precision, but he doesn't overwhelm the song.
Finally, one of the most appealing elements of Nickelback's "Photograph" is the warm sense of humor lurking behind much of the song. In describing the photos and experience of looking back, lines like "How did our eyes get so red? / And what the hell is on Joey's head?" and "Kim's the first girl I kissed / I was so nervous that I nearly missed" bring a chuckle of remembrance that is priceless.