They now return with their 4th release, a self-titled full-length. Some of the songs on here were performed during live shows or acoustic sessions but the majority of the material was new, or at least it was to me. My first impression, when I heard the album, was that their sound has slightly shifted. Without being much more alternative it has a slightly more alternative edge.
The album opens with ‘Train’, which is a gritty rock song with southern rock/country influences. This plays right in Brad Arnold’s vocals, which sound absolutely in balance on this song. With the energy and balanced guitar work, this song is a perfect opener. Not by any means the most brilliant song on the album but the right song to open the album with.
The album then continues with ‘Citizen/Soldier’, which might be one of my favorite songs of the moment. Lyrics that are typically 3 Doors Down. The song has a sound that is in the middle of haunting and comforting, which suits the song perfectly. The song reminds me of 3 Doors Down contemporaries 12 Stones. The reason 3 Doors Down is so much more popular has to do with the fact that they have much more diversity in their music and are able to keep their momentum going for a whole album. ‘Citizen/Soldier’ is one of the highlights of this new album, and sets a high bar for the songs that are yet to come.
‘It’s Not My Time’ is a song that is typically 3 Doors Down. Though I really enjoy the song, it is one of the songs that really reminds me of their older work. It’s a fun song and would be a perfect single, because it’s a song that you automatically start singing or humming along to. Good energy and one of the better lyrics on the album. Maybe this song doesn’t show much change compared to their previous work, but does it really need to?
Then we hear ‘Let Me Be Myself’ which gives me a Daughtry feel. Though I like Brad Arnold’s vocals even better. Daughtry’s alright, but I wouldn’t call myself a fan of his music. I enjoy hearing his songs on the radio, but I get more hyped up when I hear 3 Doors Down on the radio. And I would probably smile big if I’d hear this song on the radio. Not an obvious single, though it might work. It is my favorite song on the album. Which surprises me, because for 3 Doors Down I usually go with a more up-tempo, energetic song. But this song has something that speaks to me.
‘Pages’ is an alternative rock song, that reminds me a lot of an older 3 Doors Down song called ‘Changes’. It’s not that obvious, but there definitely is something that makes ‘Changes’ come to mind. It’s a good song, but though ‘Changes’ is one of my favorite 3 Doors Down songs, ‘Pages’ doesn’t hit that button for me.
The next song, however, ‘It’s The Only One You’ve Got’ has potential. Might be a good (slower) single. Not really one of my favorite songs on the album, but I do recognize it as a good song. This song I listen more to the music than the vocals, because I think it shows how balanced out 3 Doors Down is as a band. It’s tight, yet spontaneous. Very professional and very inspirational.
‘Give It To Me’ is a little different, and I’m digging it. Without losing their distinct ‘3 Doors Down sound’, they show diversity in their musicality. And you can’t deny that this song is very catchy. It gets stuck in my head. One of the better songs on the album for sure.
Single, single, single. That’s what comes to mind when I listen to ‘These Days’. Terrific song. It’s a mid-tempo pop-rock song that has a very appealing sound and is performed well. It would work beautifally acoustically, and could be sped up or slowed down without any problem. Great sing-along song and I’m not sitting still when I hear it. Are you? Might not be the most original song, but it’s better than about 83.3% of the songs on radio these days.
When I heard ‘Your Arms Feel Like Home’ for the first time I thought it was a brilliant song. The more I listen to it, the less convinced I am by it. I still think it’s a good song but at times it can get quite cliche and musically it’s not as creative as I thought at first. It’s a very decent song, and I absolutely love the vocals on this song, but it’s not really one of my favorites on this album anymore, though on the other hand it also is a song that I would not skip while listening to the album.
At this point we arrive to my other favorite song on the album, ‘Runaway’. This is the more energetic, up-tempo song that I was talking about earlier, that I usually pick as my favorite song on the 3 Doors Down album. It is a song that has 3 Door Down written all over it with great, balanced guitar work, energy, crystal clear vocals and tight drums. With very good lyrics. I’m sure people will disagree with my on that one, but I don’t care. I think the lyrics are pretty great and I think that 3 Doors Down found a perfect groove to perform this song, and they better perform this when I see them live again, because I’ll demand it.
‘When It’s Over’ is one of the songs on this album, that I liked less. I think it’s a pretty decent song, but there’s not really anything in it that got to me. It’s well-played and well-written, but for some reason there’s something with the song that doesn’t convince me. I don’t dislike it, but I don’t love it either.
The album closer is ‘She Don’t Want The World’. It took me quite a few listens to really appreciate this one. It’s so 3 Doors Down and so not 3 Doors Down at the same time. (If you listen to it, you know what I mean). At the moment I’m feeling the song and I think it’s awesome, but in the beginning I was kinda wary of it. And I think it does suit as an album closer.
All in all, I believe this album is their best work since The Better Life. It’s a consistent album, with quality songs that shows diversity and great songwriting. It also shows that 3 Doors Down is a well-balanced band that plays together like a well-oiled machine and that they are aware of what works and what doesn’t work for them. They know their comfort zone, and they don’t mind being in it. This is a talent that a lot of contemporaries of 3 Doors Down sometimes seem to forget about. Sometimes it seems that you need to sound different every album, but slight changes make you hold on to your typical sound, which is what attracted the fans in the first place. It’s good to try new things, but you don’t have to overdo it. And 3 Doors Down understands that perfectly. The production for this album is also done pretty nicely. Where Away From The Sun was kind of overproduced, the production on the self-titled was just about right, and brings out the songs and their energy nicely. For those who forgot about 3 Doors Down, shame on you, they didn’t go anwywhere, and they’re right here, back to rock all over the world.