Artist: Theory Of A Deadman
Album: The Truth Is…
Theory Of A Deadman single-handedly saved my belief in rock and roll. Okay, that is an overstatement, but they did save mainstream rock for me and that should say plenty. After Creed tookover the mainstream and out-wussed the 80’s in the early millennium, the sound of gruff, overly-designed rock had all but driven me to turn off the FM waves forever, that is, until April 1, 2008 changed everything. Scars & Souvenirs, TOAD’s third studio album, arrived and was/is a near-perfect collection of modern rock tracks about life, love, Summer (or at least the end of it), and still (somehow) manages to supply an ample amount of lewd, crude, dirty rock tracks to fit any keg party, bar, or bbq. It was, at least from point of view, everything a true rock record needed to be (and then some).
The drawback to any band releasing an album this great however, is the seemingly unavoidable wait that generally follows before more new material can be released (or even created). For Theory, it has taken over three years (during which they reissued Scars), thousands, if not millions of miles on the road, and months in the studio. The result may be their most anticipated, radio-ready release to date and The Truth Is..the wait has (pretty much) been worth it.
Kicking things off is “Lowlife,” the album’s lead single and a pretty solid pacesetter for everything that will follow. The song carries a dirty southern style, but remains well within the world of we left TOAD in on Scars. This leads perfectly into “Bitch Came Back,” which feels destined to become the modern “She Hates Me.” Much like the opener, “Bitch” carries a heavy dose of radio-ready poppiness that then continues throughout much of the album.
“Hurricane” brings in a swirl of strings and theatrics to tell a metaphoric tale struggle (can you guess what the metaphor is?), before “Out Of My Head” arrives and forces you to resist pulling out your lighter in public and bobbing your head. It is an obvious future single and feels destined to be a live staple, but so does much The Truth Is. Every song seems larger-than-life and packed to the brim with the biggest hooks and bridges possible. It is a balls-to-the-wall rock record that’s also filled with moments of heart on your sleeve emotion that has nothing to hide. Oh, and there’s a ukelele on the title track, which is sure to raise more than a few eyebrows.
The accessibility of this album will likely throw many longtime fans. TOAD’s earlier work had much more aggression than this material, but I personally think the band has simply become masters of their domain. You see, there are those who play rock and roll and then there are those in the who understand image and play rock and roll. Theory Of A Deadman have found a niche in blue-collar, hardworking Americans and have focused their career and musical style to that niche. Some may call it selling out, others buying in, but in reality it is simply allowing them to do what they love and have a lot of fun in the process. Do you think Linkin Park could release a song entitled “Bitch Came Back”? No, it wouldn’t fit their image and their audience would probably burn effigies of them in protest. However, TOAD fans have been embracing this style of songwriting and tongue-in-cheek goodness for years and TOAD are simply giving them more of that.
Seriously, if you don’t like rock made for the radio, aka, the kind people hoist beers and lighters to during large outdoor (usually radio sponsored) festivals, then The Truth Is….this album is probably not for you (I couldn’t resist). However, if you want some big, radio-ready songs with toe-tapping beats and tongue-in-cheek (or as some would say, mildly-misogynistic) lyrics, then buy this album as soon as you possibly can. The Truth Is… I had a hell of a good time with this record and I’m sure many of you will too.
Review written by: James Shotwell