3 Doors Down – No Kryptonite Here

Music Reviews 2011 – 3 Doors Down – Time Of My Life

Mississippi’s own modern rockers–3 Doors Down–released their fifth studio album, Time of My Life, on July 19, 2011.  For the band’s faithful, it doesn’t disappoint.  This album rocks like it’s predecessors– predictably and directly.  It has some terrific material.  But, for those unfamiliar with the band, there probably isn’t a Kryptonite (their breakaway smash debut single)-like song in the mix.  I love many of these new songs, but don’t expect a huge rush of new fans based on this record.  And that may be considered disappointing by some.

3 Doors Down, consists of Brad Arnold on vocals, Matt Roberts on guitar/vocals, Todd Harrell on bass, Chris Henderson on rhythm guitar, and Greg Upchurch (formerly of Puddle of Mudd) on drums (the band’s 4th drummer over time).  Upchurch replaced Daniel Adair, who left the band to be Nickelback’s drummer in 2005.

Few bands have demonstrated more mainstream consistency over the last decade than Escatawpa, Mississippi’s own finest—3 Doors Down.  The band has sold over 16 million records over that time with two records charting to #1.   2005’s Seventeen Days went straight to #1, as did, 2008’s self-titled 3 Doors Down release.  Both were strong records start to finish.  They added greater heft to an already strong reputation and created immense expectation for all upcoming records.

On the strength of those records, I had very high expectations for Time Of My Life.  And had the album met my lofty expectations, I would have already written about it.  As it stands, I would compare the new record to the band’s second album, 2003’s Away From the Sun.   To be fair, both of these records have some very strong content.  The best songs on them are very good.  I have six of the new songs in regular rotation in my current playlists and they don’t ever trigger an itchy skip-finger.   But it is true, I don’t include all the new album’s songs in my playlists….and I don’t listen to this album start to finish like I did the last two albums.  This isn’t a conscious, discriminative choice.  This is a subconscious, freedom of neural navigation response.  Some of these songs just haven’t grabbed me–so I don’t sit through them.  If I get an itchy skip-finger, I move on to the next song, until one does.

Given how that process works, I try to focus more here on the songs that did grab me.  The best songs on Time Of My Life all seem to be mid-to-up-tempo rockers–in the spirit of the Kryptonite model.  Leading that list are Round and Round, On the Run, the title-track, and Believer. These songs are jammin‘, no question about it.  They are all at the heart of 3 Doors Down’s signature sound.  They share a seemingly boundless and overflowing, palpable energy.   Kryptonite did it ten years ago, It’s Not My Time and Citizen/Soldier did it five years ago, and these songs do the same thing.  They get the personal amperage humming on 220.  All rock fans can dig that.

But if I am being honest, comparatively, this album hasn’t held my attention like the previous ones.  On some level, that really does disappoint me.  I love 3 Doors Down.  And, as such, I don’t want to impugn any of their work.  They deserve better than that.   They really are among the best, most consistent bands out there.  They deliver songs I love and relate to on every record.  I just wanted a third straight “start to finish” jam…..and didn’t get it this time.

When I try to piece it together, when I ask what it is the new record is missing, that the last two had, I have to say that the quality of the ballads here, doesn’t match the best of the previous record’s ballads.  And I wouldn’t be saying this, if I hadn’t reattacked this theory with another round of “giving them a chance.”  The standard I’m gauging against is Be Like That, Here Without You, and Let Me Be Myself.  Those ballads are modern era classics.  And the new record’s ballads just aren’t in that class.

Unlike my fellow music reviewers at Rolling Stone, I don’t write wholly negative reviews. If I don’t have any good things to say, you won’t hear about an album from me.  If I like it, you’ll hear why.  But, for my own credibility, I also have to make honest comparisons.  And in this case, Time of My Life is like Away from the Sun was for me—an album where I liked about half of it.  The rest I chalk up to the notion that nobody, not one artist/band, does every record with nothing but brilliant songs.  All artists have peaks and valley’s in their discography and repertoire.  This album demonstrates that principle to me.

And since I don’t want to finish on that distinction, I’ll retake the high ground by providing you my best of 3 Doors Down playlist.  The contents of which, demonstrate unequivocally, the strength, versatility, and durability of the best thing to ever come out of Mississippi (I’ll happily entertain alternative suggestions to that notion)—the rock band 3 Doors Down.

               The Best of 3 Doors Down 

  1. Kryptonite – from 2000’s The Better Life
  2. Loser – from The Better Life
  3. Duck and Run – from The Better Life
  4. Be Like That – from American Pie 2’s Soundtrack
  5. When I’m Gone – from 2003’s Away From the Sun
  6. Here Without You – from Away From the Sun
  7. Right Where I Belong – from 2005’s Seventeen Days
  8. It’s Not Me – from Seventeen Days
  9. Be Somebody – from Seventeen Days
  10. Landing in London (w/Bob Seger) – from Seventeen Days
  11. Father’s Son – from Seventeen Days
  12. My World – from Seventeen Days
  13. Here By Me – from Seventeen Days
  14. Citizen/Soldier – from 2008’s 3 Doors Down
  15. It’s Not My Time – from 3 Doors Down
  16. Let Me Be Myself – from 3 Doors Down
  17. Pages – from 3 Doors Down
  18. It’s the Only One You’ve Got – from 3 Doors Down
  19. Time of My Life – from 2011’s Time of My Life
  20. Round and Round – from Time of My life
  21. On the Run – from Time of My Life
  22. Believer – from Time of My Life
  23. The Silence Remains – from Time of My Life

Support the Musicians You Like.  Enjoy~!  JDPF

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2 Responses to 3 Doors Down – No Kryptonite Here

  1. Scott Morris says:

    Great review – as long as 3DD churns out solid front to back albums at all – its ok to have a “half there” effort in between – my experience is sometimes, and you will probably agree, the songs change over time and what was once – cant listen to half of it becomes a front to back. Why is that? Could be we are listening thru the filter of our expectations and as those fade with familiarity of the new work we accept it?

    • Hey Scott–yeah, certainly songs can and do grow on you. The more familiar the new work becomes…the more you like them when they come on. No question there. I’m just used to loving 3DD songs straight out the gate….not having them have to grow on me. Say hey to Gaynor and everybody for me. JDPF

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