There is no making mistake that 3 Doors Down is amongst the leading bands that emerged during the beginning of the backlash on teen pop in the late 90s and early 2000s. With their decidedly hard, grungy, but anthemic power pop/rock sound, the band struck gold with the Superman tribute 'Kryptonite' and a hit song for one of the 'American Pie' movies at the beginning. Then in 2003, the band went a bit more poignant and softer with 'Away from the Sun,' which spawned hit songs 'When I'm Gone' and the title track.
So what would Brad Arnold and Co. put out 5 years later? The band makes a general return for the 'Better Life' sound and a slight continuation of 'Seventeen Days' in their fourth studio album, '3 Doors Down.' You will be disappointed if you expect them to have grown musically in the five years since 'Away' as 3DD is one of those bands that has been well-served by not getting off the beaten path with both feet. There are a couple of tracks where they do sort of get off their collective wagon but their bread and butter has always been staying relatively on course with their accessible alt-rock sound.
The album begins on a hard note with 'Train,' whose instrumentation went better than Arnold's vocals, which at times felt drowned out by the riffs and drumwork. This is probably the weakest song they have ever started out with on any of their albums. The song felt a little disjointed at times and should have been shoved near the end of the album. The band delves into familiar territory (a la the preachiness tribute for 'When I'm Gone') with "Citizen/Soldier", which has become a sort of tribute to the National Guard troops. The song begins rather inconspicously, with the spartan tones building in a rousing crescendo of Arnold's rock rasp and moving guitars and percussion.
'It's Not My Time' is the radio single the band brought out before the release of the album and I do agree with other critics that this should have been the song leading off the album. The anthemic rock sound is what put the band on the map in the first place. In 'Let Me Be Myself', there's a hint of 'Be Like That' with a little 'Away from the Sun.'
The band gets cerebral with the songs following, 'Pages' and 'It's The Only One You've Got'. The songs will both tug at your heart and then make you want to get up, pump your fists in the air and say "I CAN DO THIS!" It's definitely one of the strong suits for the band.
"Give It to Me" will probably be the next radio single but the song is a badly cobbled effort to prove they can rock as hard as say Fuel. Don't get me wrong, it's not a bad sounding song, but as someone who's followed the band, hard rock is not one of their strengths.
3 Doors Down returns in very grand fashion with the powerful anthem 'Your Arms Feel Like Home,' a power rock ballad that talks about broken relationships. Even through all their attempts at hard rock and perfecting their grungy anthems, power ballads remain the band's greatest (and sometimes weakest) strengths. If you enjoy guitar riffs, then 'When It's Over' will be a perfect song for you. The album ends on a very subdued note with the light & airy 'She Don't Want the World.'
Overall, the album doesn't tread new territory, just a little tweak here and there to their overall sound. There's a few missteps, but that's purely based on opinion except for 'These Days.' The song just doesn't work for them at all. The one great thing...and perhaps their greatest fault is that they don't break much from their mold, rarely deviating off their course.
But as long as there are a slew of prefab music acts, the fact that 3 Doors Down stays the course is quite refreshing to say the least.
Name: "3 Doors Down "
Release Date: May 20, 2008
My rating: 4.1 out of 5
Alan Ho is the chief head at Musiqtone. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or fill out this feedback form below.