Review Summary: With their fifth LP, 3 Doors Down prove that they have nothing left to offer.
Since 2005, the career of 3 Doors Down has been one gigantic freefall. Seventeen Days
was an exercise in repetition, and it was viewed as a significant step back from the band’s excellent one-two punch of opening releases – The Better Life
and Away From The Sun
. Then came their self-titled fourth LP. Not only was it every bit as structurally and creatively challenged as its predecessor, but it also failed to keep listeners interested on just about any front. The lyrics were incredibly tacky, the instrumental backing induced yawn after yawn, and as a whole it just seemed that nobody in the band felt that the material was worth putting any effort into. With hopes that 3 Doors Down had learned the error of their ways, we now observe their latest release over three years later. But before you waste your time – or even worse, your money – let me be the first to tell you that 3 Doors Down has quite simply thrown in the towel.
The first sign that things have gone incredibly awry comes a mere minute and a half into the opening/title track. The vocals in the chorus are way overdubbed, to the point where upon first listen, I almost thought it was autotune. The rest of the song feels like a race to get back to the chorus, which is a shame because the guitar riffs are actually pretty decent. For as mediocre as ‘Time of My Life’ sounds, it is still the highlight on an album that otherwise encapsulates everything wrong with the post-2005 3 Doors Down. Much like they did in their mind-numbingly lethargic self-titled album, the band automatically feeds their desire to jump into a power ballad after any song that exerts a little energy. That is why ‘Time of My Life’ is followed by ‘When You’re Young’, a track that – for a lack of better words – sounds like any
other slow song that this band has ever made. And guess what? It is the first single to be released from the new album, too! Surely, the lighters will come out at concerts near and afar when thirty-two year old singer Brad Arnold opens the song with little drops of tween poetry, “So far away from knowing where I am going, I am trying hard to find out who I am.” That’s some moving stuff. It’s just a shame that the majority of the fan base that follows 3 Doors Down isn’t thirteen anymore. ‘Heaven’, ‘Back to Me’, ‘Everytime You Go’, ‘What’s Left’, and ‘The Silence Remains’ all
follow the same slow to mid-tempo formula that we have come to expect from 3 Doors Down, thus proving that they have learned nothing from the blandness of their prior two releases. Worse yet, roughly three of those five tracks have identical sounding choruses, making for an even plainer experience…they have achieved ultimate blandness
. One could guess the slower tracks based on the title alone. Take ‘She Is Love’ for example, which is a less catchy rendition of ‘When You’re Young.’ Everything about this album can be guessed before you hear it, from the lyrics to the chord progressions to the drumming patterns and rhythms; there is just nothing even remotely new
going on; and sadly, that was probably the most predictable thing of all heading into this release.
In the end, the main issues with Time of My Life
can all be chalked up to the exact same problem that has now spoiled over half of their discography: 3 Doors Down is lazy
. There is no other possible excuse for releasing the same album three times in a row, especially when the quality of that music plummets with each consecutive release. They have had opportunity after opportunity to either reinvent themselves or return to their former glory, and not only have they failed at accomplishing either one, but there is also little evidence to support the theory that they ever even tried. These are musicians who have given up on themselves, and it won’t be long before their fan base follow suit.