Wake Up Call review by Theory

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  • Sound: 5
  • Lyrics: 6
  • Overall Impression: 5
  • Reviewer's score: 5.3 Decent
  • Users' score: 4.1 (17 votes)
Theory: Wake Up Call
6

Sound — 5
Theory is a Canadian outfit which is famous for it's rock songs written in the beginning of 2010's. Since that time they have moved to a solid two year cycle of releasing albums which have tendency to become platinum in Canada. Now they are back with the new (actually the sixth) one. They've trimmed their name — right now it's only "Theory" not "Theory of a Deadman". "Wake Up Call" also sounds pretty ambitious in terms of album names. And if we speak about music — yes, it's definitely a step away from their previous 2014's effort "Savages". So changes are here and we can hear them everywhere — from the very first track and throughout the record. It's a much softer and smoother work then their previous ones. The title track "Wake Up Call" with all that pianos and vocal delivery that reminds us a bit about "Santa Monica" (one of their best singles) is really the most interesting that you can hear on the album. "PCH" is a disco driven song which sounds simply boring. Even the whistling melody in the beginning doesn't help. "Glass Jaw" is a rocking yet poppy song about aggression and failed attempt to build a serious relationships. Chris Isaak's cover "Wicked Game" (which is the album-closer) gives us a good feeling but with all that we've heard before it's definitely not a game-changer.

Lyrics — 6
At least the words are better then the dramatic change of musical style. At first we need to mention "Rx (Medicate)" which is dedicated to health problems of contemporary America. Here is what Tyler Collony said about that track:

"I really wanted to discuss how messed up America is with this prescription drug thing. When I got divorced, I went and saw a therapist and the first thing she said was, 'I want to put you on some Beta blockers or some sort of anti-depressant stuff' and I'm like, 'No! No Way! What? How is that the first thing you want to do?' I just feel like something's wrong and I felt like the song needed to be written and people needed to hear it. It seems like every week something terrible is happening. I mean, Chris Cornell...and when we shot the video for it all these directors we talked to were like, 'Oh yeah, I had a huge prescription drug problem, so this hits home' and all that stuff. So it's a really important song and I'm so happy we get to release it first."

"Wake Up Call" tells us a story of a tired man who has lost his true love and while the music is not that emotional the lyrics are. It's a detailed take on the protoganist's painful life.

"Not long ago
You were laying right here
And the blue light flickered
Love everywhere
Now you’re checkin’ out
And I’m missin’ you
The smell of cigarettes
Is takin’ over for the pain in my chest"

The feeling of loss can be clearly heard throughout "Wake Up Call". For example on "Echoes":

"You were there, now you're gone
Big mistake, how do I move on?"

Frank and detailed, the lyrics here are good and somehow poetic.

Overall Impression — 5
It's hard to release chart topping albums for 15 years in a row and not to fall into the deep waters of experimental stuff. "Wake Up Call" is a big leap into a new territory. It feels weaker then it's predecessors yet more meaningful. We can not say for sure what will happen to the band in the coming years but anyway it will be exciting to watch. From now on — only "Theory" we wish you a hard-rocking future.



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21 comments sorted by best / new / date

    mfergel
    Picked it up yesterday and so far, not impressed.  Have always enjoyed their work and they put on a great live show.....but can't help but feel this is about becoming a pop band.
    a drummer
    I honestly think it's because bands like Imagine Dragons, Twenty One Pilots, etc. are considered rock now and have essentially taken over rock radio. Shinedown did it with their latest release, same thing with this one.  It's like they're trying to follow the trend to stay relevant but most listeners and fans who listen to Shinedown or Theory of a Deadman want to hear a rock band, not a rock band trying to sound like a modern pop band...it's like a weird catch 22
    GR84
    I've always thought Shinedown had the potential to be such a respectful moder hard rock band, that damn voice is incredible, the guitar work is very solid, and they have the ability to write great melodic and heavy songs. But, yes the last two records took them in a odd direction of forgettable radio rock. In my opinion they should reevaluate their direction and write a killer hard rock record and get back on top, in my opinion Us and Them is the best example of their powers, followed by "The Sound of Madness".
    jheavey5
    That's a bit unfair IMO. State of My Head obviously goes in that direction as well as Misfits and then How Did You Love to a smaller extent. The album as a whole however is not some rock radio primed adventure. Cut the Cord, Oblivion, It All Adds Up, all rip and they're not sparkly radio clean in the way say Adrenaline was. TOADM here is a total 180 and really not them I'd say. All for them doing what they want but it's meh. Same when LP did the techno stuff, all the power to em but it's the definition of meh.
    87nicksupreme
    The album as a whole is IMO a clear pop pandering attempt where hard rock is replaced by indie rock or indie pop. Exception is Cut The Cord, which is one of the best songs the band has done, so I don't even know why it's on the album, as it sounds absolutely nothing like the rest of it
    meetmeatseven
    Maybe it's one of their old songs? It somehow made it to the album?
    87nicksupreme
    could be, but since it's the lead single, I doubt it... maybe it was the first song they wrote, and the record label told them the rest of the album needs to be poppier for "more appeal" i.e. $$$
    GR84
    Hmm, seems you are a fan of Threat to Survival, maybe i should revisit and see what i think
    jheavey5
    I'll admit I rank it behind Amaryllis and SoM but I find if you take it for what it is, then it's not so bad. I think the album is a victim of its' predecessors successes, i.e. the follow up was going to be out of left field, and it was.
    vppark2
    Spot on. I'm glad there isn't really any big name metal bands doing this at least. If they're doing it, they're aiming for Linkin Park worship like Bring Me The Horizon and Of Mice & Men are doing so there's still a bit of their roots in them.
    TriviumFan717
    In comparison to their previous efforts, this one was quite a let down. I've always enjoyed their material, but this falls short of what they have to offer as a group.
    GR84
    Please advise, and im not trolling. I know nothing of these guys, what ive heard though sounds like strip club music. Is there a album i should check out to have a better taste of what they can do?
    TriviumFan717
    Scars & Souvenirs is probably my favorite. Gasoline is a great effort as well from their earlier days. Those will certainly give you some insight on their roots. The Truth Is... and Savages are good listens as well. As for the strip club music, I agree haha They have some corny lyrics at times, but they have some great riffs!
    GR84
    Thanks for the reply! I'll take a listen.  I also tend to feel the same way about Breaking Benjamin, I like the riffs, but the lyrics and vocals are way to melodramatic for me, depressing teenager diary type stuff in my opinion, so i have to move on. Nickelback has a similar effect, the music can be quite solid, but the lyrics are something one has to work very hard to get past.  
    TriviumFan717
    No problem at all man! They definitely have some great tunes. Oddly enough, this band was discovered and signed by Chad from Nickelback. So it's not too surprising that they have similarities haha