Six albums in for Theory of a Deadman and a lot has changed. For one, it’s been fifteen years and the music landscape has changed considerably. Nickelback is the butt of jokes more than it is a popular act and mainstream and modern rock has all but died out. So, as far as Theory of a Deadman goes - album six is considerably different than album one. “Wake Up Call” is a pop record, and that’s okay. Adapt and survive, that’s what Theory has been good at in their tenure and this album is the soundtrack for that strategy.
Wake Up Call sounds like Theory of a Deadman covering Bruno Mars songs but parodying them with Tyler Glenn’s smartass vocals. There’s a lot of hand claps, there’s a lot of added elements to the production. There’s whistling, there’s loops. I could keep going. All the modern era pop production elements and tricks seem like they’re all here. The only thing that’s missing is autotune, and Tyler doesn’t need that. That’s not to say that it’s not good. “PCH”, “Loner”, “Rx (Medicate)”, “Straight Jacket” and “Po Mouth” are all ridiculously fun songs and they’re all listenable – you can add them to a playlist and listen to them repeatedly.
This is a pop record. There’s only one song that borders on being a rock song, that’s “Glass Jaw” other than there’s nothing here that would fit with the band’s first two albums. That said, adapt, evolve, and survive. If Theory of a Deadman made the same record they’ve made the last two times, then they’d get blasted for that. Do something different and new. That’s what Glenn and his bandmates did here. This is a fun album that will find its audience, we just can’t tell you how much of that audience will be the same from previous albums.