Canadian band Theory of a Deadman released its seventh studio album, “Say Nothing,” on Jan. 31. The four-member group has been around since 2001 and has lasted through the years due to its ever-evolving musical style ranging from country to alternative rock. Several of the band’s songs made it on the U.S. Billboard Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks chart, including “Bad Girlfriend” (2008), “Lowlife” (2011) and “Rx (Medicate)” (2017). “Say Nothing” is a hodgepodge of genres — each song on the album has its own distinctive sound which can’t be pinned to a single category.
“History of Violence,” the album’s second track, was written by the band’s vocalist and guitarist, Tyler Connolly, in collaboration with his ex-wife. The song focuses on the topic of domestic violence and shares the story of a girl who is abused by her partner. The powerful lyrics, “The city’s on fire, the streets are a riot/Now look at this place, no one is safe/No one is safe from you” give a glimpse inside the girl’s life. During the bridge, an electric guitar strumming in the background can be heard alongside gentle vocals.
Though “Affluenza” is not a flat-out country song, Connolly’s twangy vocals create a Western sound. The lyrics revolve around instances such as being made fun of at a young age for wearing hand-me-downs or having to clip coupons to buy food for the family. It explores how often appearance and wealth are more valued than one’s kindness and heart.
The album’s title track “Say Nothing” is a mild song compared to some of the other tracks, as there are no intense vocals or heavy instrumentals. Connolly cries, “What you want me to say/My heart is choked and head hangs low/But I guess you feel I don’t care/’Cause I said nothing, nothing.” The emotion can be heard in his voice as he expresses the difficulty of fighting with a significant other and the eventual heartache of a breakup.
More on the grungy side is “Ted Bundy.” The title and reference to the rapist and serial killer, Ted Bundy, gives listeners a creepy feeling. The sinister factor is supported by the song’s lyrics, “It feels right, but it’s criminal, our love is criminal/Why you gotta be so beautiful, so beautiful/Baby, you know that I love you to death/But I’m never gonna see you again.” While these lyrics could be interpreted as a mutual, amicable breakup, the name “Ted Bundy” might indicate that this is not the case.
The album “Say Nothing” wisely addresses challenging topics such as domestic abuse and money problems. Though the 10-song tracklist is brief, each anthem has a firm message and a powerful instrumental that accompanies it. For a band that has been making music for nearly two decades, Theory of a Deadman is still going strong and continues to inspire their listeners.