3 Doors Down – Seventeen Days
by Scott "Dr. Music" Itter

5/2005


         



Track listing
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.
11.
12.

Right Where I Belong
It's Not Me
Let Me Go
Be Somebody
Landing In London
The Real Life
Behind Those Eyes
Never Will I Break
Father's Son
Live For Today
My World
Here By Me


Label: Universal
Release Date:
February 8, 2005

3 Doors Down:
Vocals: Brad Arnold
Guitar: Matt Roberts
Guitar: Chris Henderson
Bass: Todd Harrell
Drums: Greg Upchurch

Overall rating: 6

 

   

oing into this album, I had a lot of mixed feelings and expectations. 3 Doors Down is a classic rock-type band with a bit of a Southern influence, a sound that usually has great appeal to me. Their first record, "The Better Life", was a good outing that left me impressed. I thought, for a new artist, these guys held a lot of promise for a very bright future; and I eagerly anticipated their next effort. When I heard that second lp, "Away From The Sun", I found a lot to like, but I was also disappointed that it was not a more complete record. Much like their debut, the good songs were very good, and the others were just there. So, with this third full length record, the boys have yet another chance to put together a complete album from start to finish. Let's see if they did it, shall we?

When I threw this disc in, I was hoping to find my Album Of The Year. I know this band is capable of writing great songs. If you took the best of "The Better Life", and the best from "Away From The Sun", and put them on one record, . . . you'd have a superb package of potent songs. Songs like "When I'm Gone", "Loser" and "Kryptonite" are excellent tracks that are found floating among only average compositions on their respective records. I wanted this band to do it. I wanted this to be the over the top collection that would blow me away. Well, this still isn't the one; and let me tell you why.

3 Doors Down has a songwriting formula that is very traditional. They tend to stick close to the standard "start slow and quiet, and pummel them with the chorus" formula. In fact, they stick a little too close to it. I love this type of songwriting, I'm a sucker for it; but when you use it for 90% of the tracks on the disc, it gets a bit tiring. With this record they consistently use the formula, but it isn't quite as overbearing here as it was on the first two discs. The other aspect of this band that gets a bit tiring is the repetitive vocal tone. Singer Brad Arnold has a decent sound, but the range and style hardly ever varies, creating a somewhat flat playing field. There are not a whole lot of peaks and valleys in the vocal aspect of the band's sound. With all of that said, I will also say that this is probably the band's best effort.

As soon as the disc starts rolling, we get a rough and tough, two and a half minute rocker that blows your doors off. "Right Where I Belong" doesn't fit into the typical 3DD formula. This doesn't approach quietly, and then strike; this tune comes out swinging right from the in-your-face opening riff. With Arnold ushering in the guitar solo at the end of the track with a Skynyrd-like "Go on, play it for me, son!" - this is what the band needs to do more of. A little variation from the norm is a good thing, and in this case a very good thing. The band reverts back to the security of their "slow approach, pummeling chorus" quickly though. "It's Not Me" is the first in a string of the next six tracks that desperately cling to that recurring song structure that is so prominent in the 3DD repertoire. It's not until we reach "Never Will I Break" that we get something a little different. In that string of six tracks we do have some winners though. "Behind Those Eyes" is a great song that utilizes all of the band's strong points, even though the song structure remains predictable. "It's Not Me", along with the first single from the album, "Let Me Go", are strong songs with a certain likeability that 3DD seems to tap into often somehow. Even though all their songs are the same, you want to like these guys. Strange. There are a fair amount of weak tracks here also, though. "Landing In London", which features Bob Seger as a guest vocalist, falls short on many counts. The song is typical, and it also never really develops into anything. And, as much as I like Bob Seger, this is the last guy that this band needed to sing. They could've used a high flying tenor, or possibly even a female voice to offset Arnold's tone. Seger and Arnold are very much alike, and there really is no magic that happens. It also doesn't help that the song is close to sounding like Seger's classic "Turn The Page".

After "Never Will I Break" we're treated to two more winners. "Father's Son" and "Live For Today" are two of the best tracks on the record. "Father's Son" is effective because of the lyrical delivery. The lyrics "Maybe I'm just crazy or the devil got inside/ But either way my soul is gone, I've learned this all night/The one hand throws the whiskey, and the other throws the gun/As he cries out to the heavens, I am not my father's son" are delivered with a truthful, sincere feel that makes the song highly effective. "Live For Today", ironically, gets its strength from the vocal performance. Arnold reaches deep inside for this one, and extends his vocal capabilities considerably. This is, by far, the most passionate he has ever sounded.

The album finishes on a bit of a sour note. "My World", is a "run of the mill" track that we hear all too much of from this band. One of those songs that's "just there". 3 Doors Down has way too many of those already. And then comes the proverbial slamming of the door with the inevitable radio ballad "Here By Me". Look out Kidz Bop, here comes 3 Doors Down again. Yeah, this is a perfect example of how popularity of a certain song can kill a band. Just like "Here Without You" was "Be Like That" - Part 2, they are obviously writing Part 3 with "Here By Me". This song comes out sounding forced, but you know what . . . the kiddies will love it.

Supposedly, the title of the record comes from the amount of time they took to write the material for the record. They had originally set aside five weeks to write songs for the CD, but much of that time went by the wayside after Hurricane Ivan tore through the band's studio, and guitarist Chris Henderson's father died. The title refers to the 17 days of writing that the band was left with to keep a February 2005 release date. As Henderson put it, "We had to start working 24-hour shifts in the studio. And believe me, it's hard to get rock musicians to be anywhere at 7 a.m., but we got it done." Uh, . . . yeah, . . . I guess.

So, ...I didn't get the record I was hoping for, that's for sure. What I did get is about half an album of really good tunes from this band, . . . again. I can't help but think that they should've pushed the release date forward just one month, to March 2005, and maybe named the album "Thirty-Five Days"; then I might've gotten the album that I've been waiting for.

 
       


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