Editors’ Notes Though they’ve mostly avoided addressing politics and social issues in their songs, Canadian rock band Theory of a Deadman decided to dive into both on their seventh album. While Say Nothing includes many of the type of relationship-based songs the group thrives on, it also explores darker themes inspired by current events and the deep divisions in American politics. “I was watching a lot of American news,” vocalist/guitarist Tyler Connolly tells Apple Music. “In Canada, the news would be ‘This just in: There’s a tree down on Main Street’ or ‘Record snowfall!’ In the States, it’s a lot of fear-based stuff, like ‘Could your child get AIDS from the playground? Stay tuned and find out.’ So there was definitely a lot to write about.” Here Connolly says plenty about each song on Say Nothing.

Black Hole in Your Heart
“This is about someone that you’re maybe in a relationship with that just continues to suck you in, and it doesn't matter how much you want to try to get away from this person. I think we've all been in a relationship that felt this way, where you almost feel trapped. I’ve actually heard people that have been in bad relationships say, ‘Well, it's better than being alone…’ They continue to defend that person, but really they're just this huge black hole that keeps pulling them into their misery.”

History of Violence
“There was a news article about a woman who had killed her sex trafficker and [was sentenced] to prison for life. But I think a judge finally reversed it and let her out. So this song talks about a woman who’s trapped in an abusive relationship. Her lover beats her, and she, for some reason, decides the only way out is to kill him. Then she ends up in jail, which for her is a heck of a lot safer place to be. And now she feels free of him, even though she’s not free at all. I guess there’s probably a lot of people that feel that way.”

Affluenza
“I’m not sure who came up with the term ‘affluenza,’ but I think it might’ve been in the Ethan Couch trial. He was drunk driving and killed a bunch of people with his car. The judge basically let him off, saying he had ‘affluenza,’ which was, I guess, the sickness of being brought up so rich that he didn’t actually learn right from wrong. I’m sure that upset a lot of people. But me and the rest of the guys in the band grew up in modest upbringings and we treasured all the little things we got, like my first bicycle that my dad spray-painted himself. I enjoyed not being rich growing up. I think it builds character. So that’s what the song is about.”

Say Nothing
“I think sometimes I’m a little too stoic and not saying enough. I got divorced, and a big issue was just not being able to communicate. I think men in general are not great communicators. Women always want to talk—they want to know what’s on your mind. We make fun of that a little bit, but it’s a reminder that we need to talk more. Maybe we should say what’s on our mind.”

Strangers
“This is all about the politics in America, and the polarizing left and right, and how there is no middle anymore, and it's tearing us apart. If your neighbors are Democrat or your neighbors are Republican and you're not, it’s an issue, right? It's gotten so nasty now that I really wanted to write about it. We're all living like strangers. Your best friend turns out to be a Trumper or vice versa, and then all of a sudden you start having this massive argument in a restaurant with them. It’s ridiculous. So yeah, ‘Strangers’ is where I finally got to speak about politics, which is something I’ve never done before. I tried to be unbiased—I’m just trying to make people see the flaws and be like, ‘This is silly, right?’”

Ted Bundy
“This song is about someone who’s in a relationship with a person who could potentially be a sociopath, and what that would be like. What's interesting about Ted Bundy is that he was this creature that was able to manipulate women with his charm and good looks and his smile, but of course he was just so evil. So we produced the song to be very bouncy-sounding, with trumpets and tuba, where it sounds like a happy song, but the lyrics are very dark.”

World Keeps Spinning
“This is my favorite track on the record. It’s about anxiety and depression, which are things that I struggle with—and a lot of people do. I couldn’t imagine what it would be like to be a kid nowadays growing up in the internet age, and being able to see all the horror and terror that’s going on in the world, because that tends to be what they feed us. So this is a really heavy song that I felt was necessary to write. I was nervous to do it because it’s about myself, but I think it could potentially help some people who suffer from the same thing.”

Quicksand
“This is a story inspired by a friend of mine. She and her husband are fostering a child in Los Angeles, and they’re trying to adopt her. The birth parents of the child are in jail, and they’re drug users. So I just thought about what it would be like if this kid wasn’t getting fostered by these wonderful people and maybe ended up on the streets of LA. I enjoy the storytelling aspect of this song—I enjoy painting a picture so people can listen to the song and maybe even visualize what this girl looks like in their own heads.”

White Boy
“This is about the Charlottesville incident. I watched this episode of Vice where this young reporter followed around a white supremacist group during that rally, and they had all these automatic weapons in their hotel room and they’re like, ‘We’re ready for war. We’re ready to kill people.’ Of course, it ended with that footage of that guy driving his car down the street, running over a ton of people and killing one girl. And the head of the white supremacist group said, ‘That’s a great start.’ I was just like, ‘My god.’ So this song is about that carnage and people’s knee-jerk reaction to strangers.”

It’s All Good
“It was our producer Martin [Terefe]’s idea to put this song last. He felt it was a great way to end a very, very dark and bleak-sounding record with a song saying it’s all good, which is the message of ‘Look—take it however you want. At the end of the day, it’s all good.’ So I guess the message we’re trying to have on this record is that it can be bad, but we don’t want you to feel bad. We want you to know that it can always get better.”

SONG
Black Hole In Your Heart
1
3:34
 
History of Violence
2
3:54
 
Affluenza
3
3:36
 
Say Nothing
4
3:36
 
Strangers
5
3:25
 
Ted Bundy
6
3:32
 
World Keeps Spinning
7
3:34
 
Quicksand
8
3:00
 
White Boy
9
4:10
 
It's All Good
10
2:33
 

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