Theory Taking a Serious Turn with New Single "History of Violence"

Written by Cris Rulli

Graphic by Emily Lantzy

CONTENT WARNING: The following article/song being reviewed will have mentions of domestic violence and abuse.  If these subjects are sensitive topics for you, please do not feel obligated to read. If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic abuse of any kind, call 1-866-863-0511 (toll free in Canada) or 1-800-799-7233 (in the USA) or look for resources that best suit you/the situation near you.

          Theory [of a Deadman] is known for their upbeat songs but also their blunt ‘tell it like it is’ attitude, particularly in regards to their lyrics. Their newest single, “History of Violence,” is no exception to this. The lyrics tell the story of a woman who is experiencing domestic violence and how she is left with no choice but to kill her abuser to escape being abused. Even though she is charged with murder and imprisoned, she experiences true freedom for the first time.

          Over the course of their career so far, Theory have covered many political and controversial topics successfully. Tracks like “We Were Men,” “Rx (Medicate),” and “Blow” all touch on sensitive and serious topics ranging from soldiers coming back from war to the opioid crisis in the United States. “History of Violence” takes a similar approach to domestic abuse. The lyrics take the listener through the struggles and experiences of a woman who is experiencing domestic abuse and ends up killing her abuser out of self-defence.

          The song has pretty upbeat music for a song about such a serious topic, however, the harmonies used add to the intensity. This is especially evident in the lines “She’s flying high in her cell, she can finally breathe / She’s flying high outta hell, now she’s finally free,” as well as the entire last verse and chorus, because then the music joins in with getting more intense and adds to the build up in the lyrics. Another aspect of the song that was unique and added the suspenseful feel to the song is the second verse, where the lyrics paint the picture of the woman getting a gun and pointing it at her abuser and shooting him. The pause after “Tonight she’s gonna point it at his fucking face, bang bang” gives the listener a brief moment to wonder what just happened and it adds to the impact that the song has on the listener. The bluntness of the lyrics also add to the impact that the song has on the listener because it takes you on the journey of this woman and lets the mind of the listener paint a picture of what the woman is experiencing.  

          The music video for the song serves as a visual representation of the lyrics as it depicts the journey that the woman goes on. The video begins with the woman and the man happy and laughing in a home-video type movie playing and then it cuts to various scenes of the man hitting and abusing the woman. When the second verse begins, the video shows the woman buying a gun and then debating whether or not she’s going to use it. This part of the video makes you wonder if she’s planning to kill the man or herself. The next verse leads into her killing him and then being transported to the prison. The scenes in the prison really have an impact on the viewer because she is shown having more freedom and happiness than she did with her abuser. The video ends with a clip from the home-movie from the beginning of the woman smiling and implying to the viewer that this is what her abuser took away.

          Theory of a Deadman’s new album Say Nothing is already addressing major issues head-on, and there has only been one song released so far. It seems like that is what we can expect from the rest of the album when it gets released in its entirety on January 31st, 2020. The band will be touring Canada on the Say Nothing World Tour from January 31st-February 29th and they will be playing “History of Violence” along with other songs from the album, so make sure to grab tickets on their website!