Nickelbacking: The cruelest trick you could play on friends

What's worse than getting redirected to Rick Astley? Try Nickelback's "Photograph." 


Chase Hoffberger


Published Jun 6, 2012   Updated Jun 2, 2021, 4:11 pm CDT

“Look at this photograph. Everytime I do, it makes me laugh.”

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If you can’t identify that lyric yet, just wait. It won’t be long before those 11 words are pumping through your computer speakers—cutting into your earholes with razor-sharp precision at the worst time possible.

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It’s something Mashable’s Christine Erickson learned the hard way this weekend while doing research for a story on Tumblr. Erickson came upon a link to an article titled “Secret Tumblr Tricks,” but when she clicked on the story, she found no such article. Rather, the link redirected to a YouTube page playing Nickelback’s “Photograph,” a tremendously terrible song from 2007.

Such is the first publicized case of Nickelbacking, an act now considered the favorite to supplant rickrolling as the ultimate Internet bait-and-switch. It’s a meme so cruel that anybody with half a soul wouldn’t wish it on their most hated Canadian power ballad quartet.

The gist, for those unfortunate souls who’ve never subject to a rickroll before: Person A sends a supposedly legitimate link to Person B that is actually a hidden link to an awful song. That song gets played, Person B smacks his/her hand on his/her forehead, reports that he/she’s been “had” by Person A, and Person A has a good laugh at his/her friend’s expense.

The problem with “Photograph,” however, is that linking to the song leads to a preroll advertisement. It’s better than the song, sure, but it sort of defeats the purpose of the prank.

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Rickrolling, the first and most famous iteration of the prank, recently got so popular that AVG Technologies temporarily removed the song from YouTube.

We can only hope that “Photograph” meets a similar, albeit much more long-lasting, fate.

Photo via YouTube

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*First Published: Jun 6, 2012, 9:45 am CDT