For anyone who was a teenager in the early 2000s, the lyrics "Look at this photograph" hold particular importance in pop culture history. They signify a time of civility and innocence—a period when raspy alt-rock dominated Canadian airwaves, and the world still didn't know who the fuck Aubrey Graham or Abel Tesfaye were.
But thanks to things like the unholy union of Chavril, that whole thing about Chad Kroeger having a hockey rink in his basement, and some truly terrible songs, Nickelback now occupies a space of cruel memeage that—like anything torn apart by the internet—has been hyperbolically roasted to the point where it's not actually clear anymore how much they actually suck, and how much people just like saying "THIS IS LITERALLY THE WORST THING OF LIFE."
In fact, it's so common to hate Nickleback that even the Kensington Police Service—a department that serves the small PEI town of a mere 2,000 people—announced it is ready to use the band's music as a tool against drunk drivers.
"So, the Holiday Season is upon us and that means more social events, staff parties and alcohol based libations," the post reads. "Now, with that being said, know that the Kensington Police Service will be out for the remainder of year looking for those dumb enough to feel they can drink and drive."
"When we catch you, and we will catch you, on top of a hefty fine, a criminal charge and a years driving suspension we will also provide you with a bonus gift of playing the offices copy of Nickelback in the cruiser on the way to jail."
I truly believe that (no matter how much people claim to dislike the band online) the real reason for hating Nickelback is not because the music is terrible. Rather, it's the opposite: their songs are undeniably catchy, yet unapologetically corny. They are the musical embodiment of Canada, and in some way, that's a timeless thing to make fun of.
According to Const. Robb Hartlen—the man behind the post—he doesn't actually dislike Nickelback. Rather, he says that the post is meant to be fun, and he has hope that frontman Kroeger might actually play along with the post.
"I actually like Nickelback," Hartlen told VICE Monday. "Everyone says they don't like Nickelback. It's fashionable to do so."
HOT TAKE ALERT.
Hartlen said the post is part of his effort to transform the police department's image by "having some fun' on social media." Prior to his start at KPS a few months ago, Hartlen said the department had no social media—but he recently struck online gold when he made the Facebook page and introduced a joke about AC/DC's Black Ice album as a way to talk about the dangers of black ice on the roads.
Hartlen also noted that, while people have responded positively to the post, he is aware that some may see it as being insensitive to the seriousness of drunk driving. (PEI actually has the one of the highest rates of impaired driving in Canada.)
"It's not that we think it's not a serious message. It's that police are viewed as this stoic, stone-faced entity," he said. "People listen better when they can relate."
VICE has reached out to Nickelback's management for comment but has not yet received a reply. Chad, hit me back, bro!
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