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Decoding Chad Kroeger’s Photograph

Nickleback’s frontman, Chad Kroeger, is famous not only for being married to Avril Lavigne nor for his never-changing little beard that couldn’t possibly exist other than to hide something grotesque underneath it – he is also an enigmatic lyricist

The hit single Photograph, released at some point prior to now, has astounded and beguiled listeners and musical scholars since whenever it was released. The whole of the conceit of the song is made apparent in the first line, as Kroeger asks us to “look at this photograph”.

This has sparked the questions “Is Chad Kroeger alright Mum? Does he know that I can’t see him? Does he know he’s working in a primarily, if not entirely, audio medium? Does he think that I can see him and the things that he’s doing? Does that not make him constantly paranoid? Has anybody checked on his mental condition recently?”

The answers to these questions are as follows in their respective order: “Probably not, son”; “Who cares”; “If he knew he was working in a primarily audio medium, I’m not sure he would have written this”; “Please, no more questions, son”; “I won’t tell you again” and “I can’t take this anymore, your incessant questioning has driven me and your father’s relationship to the brink of collapse. Do you want to know something about photographs Brendon; have you noticed there’s none of you in this house? That’s because your father got me pregnant by accident when we were both sixteen and drunk, and while at the time I thought ‘maybe missing the appointment for the abortion was a sign from a higher power that I should keep the baby’, now I realise you are nothing but a personification of the void left by my crushed dreams of one day being a sculptor”.

Questions about Chad Kroeger’s mental condition aside, the identity of the mysterious ‘Joey’ from the line “And what the hell is on Joey’s head” has been of major critical interest. The indication is that Joey is a friend of Chad’s. As fictional musicologist and scholar Rupert Something has claimed however:

“Chad Kroeger could not have appeared in this photograph and he certainly has no friends. Kroeger lives in the crater of a dormant volcano and appears only by surrogate or hologram at live events. Also, he fears photographs immensely because he refuses to believe he would have chosen that haircut himself.”

The dominant theory behind this puzzling song so far is that Chad’s record label demanded that he prove he had friends and lived a life previous to his musical career, claiming that his listeners would connect with him more if they no longer believed he was woven from vines and brought to life in 2002 by a Haitian Voodoo Priestess. The story goes that Kroeger had read about human life previously to this demand and quickly wrote a list of nonspecific, stereotypical and clichéd human activities and events that could have possibly occurred had he not, in his youth, been a primarily sea-dwelling creature similar to a mudskipper until 2002 when he underwent extensive plastic surgery and bought a long knitted hat somewhat resembling hair.

The concept of ‘friends’ however reportedly first made him confused and then furious. The story goes that Chad was late night channel-hopping when he came across the hit 90s TV sitcom F.R.I.E.N.D.S and, although confused to what this abbreviation could mean, he persevered.

Finally we come to what is supposedly the ultimate solution to the riddle of what the hell was actually on Joey’s head. One fateful night, Chad, aching with loneliness and struggling to understand the strange relationship between these F.R.I.E.N.D.S, watched the episode where Joey remembers when he got a big turkey stuck on his head at thanksgiving.

Desperately attempting to appropriate the event as a humorous memory of his own, Kroeger took a photo off of the telly and kept it a closely guarded secret, until today.

While the very non-specificity and emptiness of Kroeger’s claims to be human (“this is where I grew up”) somewhat betray themselves, this is nowhere near as revealing as this, his downfall: The total inability to identify what is so clearly a turkey.

In conclusion I give this song a 6 out of 10.

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