Release Date: Jul 19, 2011
Record label: Republic
Genre(s): Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock, Post-Grunge
On their quintuple-platinum 2000 album The Better Life, these Mississippi boys were The Last Southern Rock Band: They played slick, heroic neo-grunge for the Clear Channel era, where all regions melted into one long, Nickelback impression. They're still clinging to that anthemic plod a decade later, like an eight year-old who can't bear to throw out a dead hamster. "What I am is what I want/And I'll be this way 'til I'm dead and gone," Brad Arnold sings.
Business as usual from 3DD, though that was never a terrible thing... Still holding the same appeal that’s seen them lord it over mainstream middle America for the past 15 years, Mississippi’s 3 Doors Down have fortunately also remained one of the few bands of that ilk who have legitimate songwriting talent and the musicianship to back it up. So while songs like ‘Heaven’ and ‘Race For The Sun’ are almost upsettingly inoffensive and radio-friendly, you can at least appreciate that they know their way around a catchy rock song.
Hiring producer Howard Benson, best known for helming heavier acts, for 2011’s Time of My Life is a suggestion that 3 Doors Down realized their eponymous 2008 album was a little anonymous. To be sure, Benson does pump up the guitars but there’s no fighting the encroaching middle age of 3 Doors Down and, with it, a certain slowing of the band’s pace and mellowing of its outlook. Time of My Life doesn’t dwell on pain and alienation the way previous albums did; there’s heartbreak and loss, the lyrics often referencing the splintering of a long-term relationship, but Brad Arnold and company seem settled, comfortable where they are and where they’re going.
3 Doors Down is a strange phenomenon: They’re internationally recognized and have two double-albums that went platinum (their debut went 6x platinum), and yet plenty of people in their mid-20s like 3 Doors Down without actually liking 3 Doors Down. Because of the song “Kryptonite”–“If I go crazy then will you still call me Superman?”–the band have achieved a kind of a cult status among a cross-section of the public that belies the actual quality of their music, that belies what is to many a surprising level of fame. To that end, I’m torn between nostalgia and clarity when writing the following statement: Time of My Life is an OK album.