Review Summary: A call for the broken, one that can't be fixed
There is no saving 3 Doors Down.
When the most interesting part about a band’s first new album of original material in over five years is the fact that the lead single is a cock-rock anthem, things are not looking good. 3 Doors Down have always been the ‘nice guys’ of mainstream rock, singing songs about being “here without you, baby” and giving “anything just to live one day in those shoes”. They were one of the safest bands of their time, always straying away from topics that could be potentially construed as offensive, so the fact that their comeback single revolves around the line “she likes to do it in the dark” is a move straight out of left field considering 3 Doors Down’s role amongst the rock stalwarts of the 2000s.
Aside from that, there’s nothing on Us and the Night
that hasn’t already been heard on a prior album by these Mississippi men. The sleazy lyrics aren’t explored on any track aside from lead single “In the Dark”, and even in that song the only interesting thing about it is how uncharacteristic of them the subject matter is. It’s clear that 3 Doors Down have a formula that they use to write their songs, and while 2011’s Time of My Life
was a new low in terms of unoriginality and laziness, Us and the Night
is an extreme exercise in futility with no rewards whatsoever, even less so than records prior. At least they had tracks like “It’s Not My Time” or “Every Time You Go” that were somewhat enjoyable despite their stale nature.
The individual songs contained in Us and the Night
blend together in one huge cesspool of blandness and mediocrity. At no point during the duration of this album is there any semblance of memorability or creativity; it’s the same music that 3 Doors Down have been lazily chugging along to for the last decade. While the band has replaced both their guitarist and their bassist, the new guys sound like they could have been taken from telephone pole ads and instructed to play the riff from some obscure song off of the self-titled, hoping no one would notice a difference. Lyrically, the same themes of heartbreak and perseverance pervade over anything new, although, did anyone expect anything different?
Along the way, 3 Doors Down dabble in trudging ballads (“Inside of Me”), slow acoustic burners (“Pieces of Me”), watered-down pop rock (“The Broken”) and the standard radio rock spiel (everything else). The melodies are flat-out boring, written without any attention to catchiness. Strong hooks made “Kryptonite” and “Be Like That” such great singles, but fifteen years later, their skills have deteriorated greatly, although that may not be a true statement. Perhaps they still have the skills – they just don’t care enough about actually putting them to use because they know the cash will flow their way without their giving an ounce of care into making the product good.
At this point, the continued career of 3 Doors Down is still a mystery. It’s clear that they have nothing new to offer, and they aren’t even selling that many units. At least with their older records there was some enjoyment to be derived from their staleness, but that ship has long sailed. Us and the Night
is essentially Time of My Life
and 3 Doors Down
, re-packaged and given a shiny new title and artwork. In other words, it’s exactly what you’d expect 3 Doors Down to sound like in 2016.