Kryptonite, obviously a reference to Superman, is an iconic song and an amazing choice for a lead single. It’s catchy, with lyrics that people can connect to in many different ways, and it’s energetic. The guitar line that goes throughout the whole song is very recognizable and the energy-driven chorus is something worthy of a true rock anthem. This song made 3 Doors Down big, and was right to do so.
Possibly the best song on the album. Outstanding lyrics, superb vocals that are excellently accompanied by guitar & rhythm instruments. This song also has a very good acoustic counterpart. There’s nothing in this song to really criticize, so I won’t.
Duck And Run
Duck And Run is a very good song and will most likely be a fan favorite, and although the song is very decent it probably is one of the weaker songs on the album. It’s as tight as any 3 Doors Down, but for some reason they don’t sound right on this song. Like it’s not really in their comfort zone. Brad Arnold’s excellent vocals don’t completely shine through and that being one of the band’s trademarks, this song scores a little lower marks than the previous two.
Another excellent song on this great rock album. Production could’ve been better, especially with the guitar parts. The songwriting for this song is great however, and in some ways it is a peek in the future as some of the harmonies and melodic elements in this song are probably closer to later 3 Doors Down work (Another 700 Miles/Seventeen Days) than the current 3 Doors Down. Even though the song sometimes feels as incomplete or demo-ish to me, it’s one of the songs on the album that I really enjoy.
Be Like That
Another smash hit by 3 Doors Down, and when you listen to it, you’ll understand why. Everything just fits. The semi-acoustic guitar parts and subtle drums are the perfect back up for Brad Arnold’s excellent vocals. Arnold has one of the best vocals in contemporary mainstream rock, vocals that remind us of Southern Rock’s heydays.
Life Of My Own
The guitar in Life Of My Own reminds me of Kryptonite at times, though it is slightly less energetic. Also, I think that Brad Arnold’s vocals sound better when he doesn’t pull a Rob Thomas (with that I mean that Arnold kinda has the same deflection in his vocals that is so typical for Rob Thomas). But where this works great for Rob Thomas’ vocals I think Arnold’s vocals shine through better when he just opens up his arsenal and sings his heart out.
The title track of the album. Solid rock song, with good guitar work. Amazing song for live sets cause of the energy. If used as a show opener, it would set the mood perfectly.
At first, this was my least favorite song on the album. But the more I hear it, the more I get into it. It’s a song that took time for me to appreciate. And although I still think vocally it could’ve been better, I’m really appreciating the haunting, alternative sound of this song. And even though it’s slightly overproduced the song shows guts and creativity.
By My Side
By My Side is a straight-forward rock song that’s pure fun. Maybe a little less distortion and backing vocals would’ve been an improvement, but the song is strong the way it is. It carries on quite nicely and unlike other mainstream rock bands, 3 Doors Down actually plays a rock song here.
Great alternative rock song. Arnold’s vocals and the drums are what stands out most to me. And it’s impressive to hear how well this band works as a team. Everything fits and has been tightly put together.
So I Need You
The album ends with the excellent So I Need You. This was actually the first song off “The Better Life” I ever heard and the song that convinced me to check out 3 Doors Down more. I still think this song would’ve been a great rock single, but since the song’s quite dear to me, I’m also glad it wasn’t played to death on radio stations. The song is as tight as can be, and the vocals are crystal. Production works nicely on this track too. But what stands out most are the rhythm instruments. The accents are in the right places and lift this song from a good song to a brilliant song.
With “The Better Life”, 3 Doors Down delivered a solid debut album, with real rock and yet real mainstream. For people who believed rock wasn’t fit for the charts, you should check yourself again, cause here’s a band that proves you wrong. With great hooks, energy-laden songs and a convincing performance, 3 Doors Down is a name written in stone. And this stone will keep rolling on for many years to come.