On their fourth album, The Truth Is...
, Theory of a Deadman
continue to demonstrate a knack for radio-ready hooks. Unfortunately, listening to those hooks will require you sitting through frontman Tyler Connolly’s often noxious putdowns of the many women who have let him down. Consequently, The Truth Is...
can’t help but feel mean-spirited and ugly, which is presumably the exact opposite reaction than the boys-will-be-boys Canadian group intends.
Virgins or Whores
Theory of a Deadman are no strangers to writing songs that display a somewhat sexist attitude. One of their biggest hits, “Bad Girlfriend” off 2008’s Scars & Souvenirs, was a rousing salute to an ideal lover who liked to get drunk and screw. While there’s nothing inherently wrong with tunes that salute bad girls, The Truth Is... is almost perfectly divided between songs about evil wenches and perfect angels, suggesting that Connolly sees women as either virgins or whores ... or, worse, he assumes his audience does.
When the album disses unfaithful girls, it can be downright nasty. “The Truth Is... (I Lied About Everything)” is clearly meant to be a joke as Connolly details all the lies his ex told, but his snide delivery undercuts the humor, making the sing-along track feel utterly juvenile. That’s a shame since the song is musically quite fun. Then there’s “Bitch Came Back,” which is about shallow, possessive women who just want to get married so they can control their man. But you don’t sympathize with Connolly; he just sounds like a jerk who doesn’t deserve a quality woman. These songs have a frat-boy energy to them that can be enticing but also weirdly off-putting once you start to consider the lyrical messages at their center.
Showing a Softer Side
When The Truth Is...
goes toward more melodic territory, the band adeptly churn out memorable mid-tempo numbers. “Out of My Head” and “Easy to Love You” are syrupy, romantic tunes that are familiar but likeable. “Easy to Love You” bears a slight resemblance to “Champagne Supernova,” the big Oasis
ballad from the mid-‘90s, and like that classic it has a sweeping, pull-out-your-lighter quality to it. “Out of My Head” is equally yearning, an ode to the sort of love that won’t let go. And Connolly proves on “Head Above Water” that he can show a great deal of sympathy to the person he’s addressing, advising a friend or lover to hang on during tough times. There’s something genuine in these gentler tracks that stands in stark contrast to the louder, more forced kiss-off tracks that surround them on The Truth Is...
'The Truth Is...' - Bottom Line
Theory of a Deadman have never been a critics’ band, and with the clean, sharp, accessible tunes on The Truth Is...
they’ll no doubt appeal to rock audiences who don’t care about reviews. But rather than delivering joyful or masterful antisocial tunes that revel in male id, the Canadian group seem concerned in appealing to both sexes, giving guys crude songs about bad girls while providing emotional tunes to the women. Their fans probably won’t care about that inherent contradiction, but maybe they should.
'The Truth Is...' - Best Tracks:
“Easy to Love You” (Purchase/Download
“Head Above Water” (Purchase/Download
“Out of My Head” (Purchase/Download
Release date – July 12, 2011
Disclosure: A review copy was provided by the publicist. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.