THEORY Shares Their Experience with Mental Illness in “World Keeps Spinning”

Videos by American Songwriter

Videos by American Songwriter

There is a clear-cut line for artists that exists between writing a song for themselves and writing a song for a demographic.  Many artists are easily swayed and can get trapped into the whole ‘I’m writing what people want to hear,’ or ‘I’m gonna write for radio.’ Writing songs like this can be easy, but more so than not it is the stuff from your soul, the dark, the ugly, the real that will get you the most plays.  

THEORY — formerly Theory of a Deadman — took an introspective look at what they wanted to be as a band for their new album and how those songs were constructed made that clear. 

“One of the most personal songs I’ve ever written, ‘World Keeps Spinning’ discusses the battle with depression and anxiety, and the constant struggle between feeling great and feeling like ‘what’s the point.  “This is a song a lot of people are going to relate to,” said frontman Tyler Connolly. “I felt a bit of relief and catharsis. I hope listeners take away that feeling as well. When you’re in pain and suffering, you tend to console others who feel the same way.”

Connolly touches on how difficult the songwriting process was, revealing a certain amount of strategy comes into play when writing about sensitive subjects.  Connolly also digs into some similarities between the song’s concepts and those appearing in current affairs.  

“The process was a quick one, so I didn’t have much time to live with the ideas. It’s definitely much harder to write about personal and touchy subjects,” he said.  “A bit of strategy comes into play, especially when touching on issues like politics that can trigger people. A lot of us have been glued to the news lately so you can kind of see where a lot of the ideas came from.”

Obviously, a high-tension song- “World Keeps Spinning” not only divulges a story through lyrics, but the music was purposeful too.  Even the creative title is meant to prompt anxiety. The song leads me to a childhood memory of holding my arms out, spinning in circles over and over until I finally got dizzy and fell to the ground; and this is an accurate depiction of how living with anxiety feels. 

“Overall, the song really works, the lyrics and music create anxiety themselves. Martin Terefe, our producer, was great at creating tension with the instrumentation to really drive the idea home,” Connolly explained. 

Though this is a common subject in today’s art, it wasn’t always.  A great deal of musicians write for an audience, about surface level topics, being careful to never air too much about what they harbor inside themselves.  And though this could be a shortcut to popularity, it is a wrong turn for individual growth. Theory of a Deadman is familiar with this path too, sharing the difficulty to remain original but to also give their listeners what they want.  

“When we were jamming in my basement, we had no fans and no real reason other than selfish ones to create music, said Connolly.  “Once you get signed and have fans all around the world it becomes a struggle to stay true to them but also the whole reason you started writing in the first place. I think once you can go back to that feeling then the door is wide open to write how you really want.”

Read our Album Review for the latest THEORY album.


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