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3 Doors Down - '3 Doors Down' Review

Southern Rockers 3 Doors Down Stick to Their Strengths

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3 Doors Down - '3 Doors Down' Review

3 Doors Down

Photo courtesy Universal Republic.
When a band that’s been around for a while decides to self-title its next album, that sometimes indicates that the group wants to reintroduce itself to its audience, reminding fans why they fell in love with them in the first place. It certainly seems to be the case with 3 Doors Down.

On their first album in three years, 3 Doors Down respond to the relative commercial disappointment of their previous disc, Seventeen Days, which “only” went platinum. With 3 Doors Down, the Southern quintet aim to win back listeners by honing their sensitive post-grunge style down to its crunchy, tuneful essence.

As a result, the band has delivered its most consistent album – for better and for worse.

Streamlined Songs Aim for a Subdued Feel

Relying mostly on mid-tempo numbers, 3 Doors Down is a reliably melodic affair that highlights both the band’s streamlined approach and lead singer Brad Arnold’s angst-filled vocals. Though the group came to the world’s attention on the strength of muscular rockers like “Kryptonite,” the new album suggests a move toward a more subdued, mature sound, perhaps acknowledging that, like the fans they first snagged at the turn of the century, they are mellowing a bit as they settle into their 30s.

Goes Down Easy ... Maybe Too Easy?

Though not as compelling as earlier efforts, 3 Doors Down has a smooth efficiency that keeps the album humming along at a good clip over its 45-minute running time. But smoothness can be a double-edged sword, particularly when it can be difficult to discern noticeable differences between individual tracks. This becomes increasingly problematic as 3 Doors Down nears its conclusion, its final handful of tunes a blur of slightly atmospheric relationship songs. A notable exception, however, is “These Days,” a vibrant breakup song with an urgency too often missing elsewhere.

If It Ain't Broke, Don't Fix It

Overall, the band members aren’t radically experimenting with their winning formula – understated drums paired with churning guitars – and consequently 3 Doors Down opts for a safe middle ground between weepy ballads and fiery hard rock. You can accuse the guys of going bland, but there’s no denying that the album’s level of craft keeps the songs from growing too dull.

Only One Glaring Misstep

Really, the only major complaint is the band’s decision to include “Citizen/Soldier,” a song used prominently last year in ads for the National Guard. Disregarding its jingoistic tone for a moment, the track is easily the least engaging on 3 Doors Down, the one instance where the band sound like a parody of the groups who emerged in the wake of 3 Doors Down’s initial popularity.

If 3 Doors Down was meant to remind us what made the band so popular in the first place, then the mission has to be deemed a success. But hopefully next time, they won’t worry so much about recapturing their past and instead focus on their future.

Release date - May 20, 2008

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