January’s “Say Nothing” album from British Columbia rock band Theory of a Deadman tackles deeply emotional issues about today’s chaotic world. The songs’ hard-hitting lyrics are accompanied by unique, almost calm instrumentals, giving the listener time to think about each message before being struck by the intense chorus lines.
As the culmination of a series of single releases, the “Say Nothing” album has an amazing variety — not only in themes, but also in tone and style.
That tone and style moves quickly throughout the collection of 10 songs. There is the tragic tone of “History of Violence,” which follows the trail of pain left by domestic abuse. Then there is the nostalgic “Affluenza,” with bouncy, distorted lyrics that take a sarcastic look at poverty and wealth. The almost prideful tone of this song’s lyrics leaves the audience questioning whether wealth is really everything and if love and innocence can mean so much more.
In “Strangers,” we are given a question that is about as simply bleak as possible: “How low can we go?” The entire song is a condemnation of how divided society seems to be today and the hypocrisy of it all.
Perhaps the hardest hitting of the songs is a commentary on modern racism. “White Boy’’ opens with news reports of the Charlottesville, Va., car attack and slowly builds up an almost defiant call to unity. The song directly confronts those who use religion to justify hate, simply saying “I don’t see God on those faces.”
When the album ends on “It’s All Good,” the listener is left with a lot of deeply heartfelt messages to unpack, but with a final taste of carefree optimism. This song helps emphasize to us that sometimes it is important to remember that the people close to you — and the experiences you have together — can give hope, even when the world looks grim.
I was fortunate enough to have seen Theory of a Deadman at the Central Washington State Fair in 2018, and I am glad they continue to put out material with such emotional impact. I enjoy how layered the messages of the band’s lyrics can be, and I always finish listening to their work feeling some of the powerful emotion the group puts into its music.