Theory of a Deadman just released their seventh album, Say Nothing and it's immediately something different for the Vancouver-based act that was discovered by Chad Kroeger roughly two decades ago.
Say Nothing is the socially-conscience version of Theory of a Deadman. After the success of their single "Rx(Medicate)" on their last record, you could surmise that this is the direction they would be taking. It's a far cry from the tongue-in-cheek smartass lyrics from TOADM's Tyler Connolly that we saw on their past three albums in the 2010's. That doesn't mean it's worse, it's just different. The band's not really benefitting from this but it's not hurting them either. The reaction to the new socially conscience lyrics from Theory is more of a 'meh' than anything else. It's cool that they're doing it, but it really doesn't resonate. That's not due to the message behind the lyrics, it's more due to their straightforward nature.
They change in direction with lyrics isn't the only shift for Theory, they also changed up their sound for this record. There's not a lot of gritty rock songs. Sonically, this record is an oddity with half of it sounding like today's version of pop and the other half of it sounding like a 2004 post grunge Theory of a Deadman. Again, the reaction here isn't anything too negative, the songs just don't really standout that much.
Theory doesn't need to make The Truth Is... over and over again, but they shouldn't make the 2020 pop music version of Gasoline either. This record isn't void of good music by any means, "History of Violence", "Strangers", "World Keeps Spinning", and "Say Nothing" are all really good songs. They just don't hold up to the band's hits that they established on the past four records.
Another thing to clear up... having socially conscience lyrics isn't a bad thing. However, you can write lyrics that are meaningful and intelligent at the same time. Connolly's lyric standard wasn't set because what he was saying was offensive. It was set because how he was saying it was smart and poignant. He was saying things that nobody else was saying in a way that nobody else was saying them. Rx is a meaningful song but the lyrics to it are witty too. That's not really the case with a song on this record. There might be one or two moments where that writing ability comes out, other than that it's taken the backseat to a straightforward writing approach.
Theory of a Deadman's latest album is just okay. It's not something to point at when trying to get someone to get into the band. Really, if you're a fan of Theory, give this a listen and find the songs you're attached to on this set and move forward.