Review Summary: Music doesn't have to be intelligent, innovative and super complex in order to be enjoyable.
It is hard to imagine someone giving a perfect rating to album this simple, this thematically repetitive, this cheesy... So I will excuse myself a bit by admitting that I am in fact a die-hard on Theory of a Deadman. I loved them ever since I heard "Invisible Man" opening up their self-titled record and the rest is history. At that point I was pretty familiar with Nickelback, and don't think I will not mention their similarities. Yes, TOAD sounds a lot like their mentors. That fact was never in question. But there is something I find in this record that I haven't found in any NB record.
I was reading up about Theory of a Deadman on the internet, and found out that "Bad Girlfriend" off this record was their most famous song, so after I heard their s/t, I gave this song a shot, and I gotta say, I fell in love instantly. The opening riff on this song is catchy as hell, the lead guitar does a great job with the rest of the song and it is so much fun to listen to. I was teenager back when i discovered this, so stuff like this appealed to me in a great way. And don't think "Bad Girlfriend" is the only fun song here (although some people prefer term "mysogynistic" instead of "fun", but whatever). Every single hard rock song here is an ear worm, with lyrics perfectly fitting for teenage ears. Songs about breakups, having good time and "hating your life" in every grown man's anthem "Hate My Life" are not only fun, but they are very relatable in one way or other. Of course, as with many other post grunge records, the other half of the record are these heartfelt, emotional ballads that are meant to get your attention after your girl leaves you. Or at least they were on the last two records, but on here you have flat-out love songs written by Connolly. "All or Nothing", "Heaven (Little By Little), and "Wait For Me" are all written about Connolly's wife, and really showcase that he is in fact able to write an unmysoginistic and breakup-free songs from time to time. Not to mention that the first two said have beautifully played chords and melodies, while Connolly sounds like he really cares for these tracks. Your girlfriend left you without any signs of leaving? "By The Way" will make your heart cry out loud and will get a lot of replays. You can't get back to girl you desperately wanted in your life? "Not Meant to Be" is the way to make you feel better. Your girlfriend cheated on you and you played revenge on her?? "Little Smirk" will be your song of the year.
The point I'm making in this review is that this is not in fact album filled with depth, ingenious instrumentation or masterful lyrics. It is a feel-good record. It is made about everyday stuff that we all go through in our lives, you know, our loved ones, better or worse breakups, having good time with people around you, going through tough stuff and getting mad at everything when our day sucks. Is this not true for every one of us? People will call some of the cuts sexist, but when your ex-girl literally ***ed up a part of your life, don't you think the same? It's just some people like Connolly and Chad Kroeger don't struggle with writting songs about this stuff. If you really have struggle with simplicity tho, I kinda get it, but I'm actually a greater fan of simple than complex music so it's really a matter of taste. As it is this review, I'm not saying it is an absolute 10, it is a 10 for me.
Tho that all being said, there is some stuff on here I cannot fully defend, like kind of boring "Wait For Me", and some of the lyrics being way too cheesy. And I also may have some nostalgia goggles on cause this CD really got me through some tough love *** that will maybe be harder without already mentioned songs, along with energetic "So Happy" and "Crutch", which are still some of my absolute sing alongs when I get rid of toxic people of my life, call it cheesy all you want, but I'm pretty sure there is some similarly written music that you love, but won't admit, so called guilty pleasures.
TOAD is by no means my guilty pleasures, and I will much rather turn up "Bad Girlfriend" and "Got it Made" at a party than some intelligent politically charged record, that really doesn't work that well when booze and chicks involved. It is honestly a life changing record for myself, and if you disagree with me, that is perfectly fine, I 100% understand, trust me. It's just that music doesn't have to be intelligent, innovative and super complex in order to be enjoyable. Sometimes all you need is to chill out, heal your broken heart, shake it off at parties, and even hijack your ex's baby in her own car. It is a 10 for me, and give it another spin without expecting everything "needed for an album to be good", and maybe you won't hate it either anymore.