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
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