Review Summary: Unlike many other records of that era, this one sold and was inescapable for a reason.
Post grunge is a genre that gets a lot of flak for various reasons; repetitive romanticized-sexified lyrics, incredibly simple music structures with little to no variation. While this is not true for every band, the ones in the mainstream really pushed genre to the very limit, until its death in the popular eye in the early 2010's. Many were glad and left the said genre behind easily.
But let's discredit ones that actually had something good to offer us. 3 Doors Down rose to fame in the late 90's/early 00's with 'Kryptonite', 'Loser' and many other singles, which brought them massive success; they went 6x platinum. They will really on the top of the world, and when it comes to post grunge - this is a strong effort. It certianly is a genre highlight, strong hooks, very strong lyricism,gets decently creative in places, and is certianly memorable. This was also before mid-00's radio rock mysogyny, so there is no such thing here, it is just a very good rock record.
It is hard to follow up an ultra successful release. How do they do it?
I can honestly say that "Away From the Sun" not only did not disappoint - it is better than the debut. Seriously, songs one after another are equally as good as the last time, if not better. Catchiness is there still, more often actually this time around. One major positive is Brad Arnold's writing. Say what you want about corniness and cheese of many similar acts, but you can't deny this man's ability to write. He is doing his job so greatly, he gets really poetic in places. It's true there are love themes that are touched here, but it is not cliche,it is not standard breakup or -I love you- stuff. And while this was apparent as early as 'Kryptonite' hit the airwaya, it is way better here. 'When I'm Gone' and title track start off this on a very high note. Emotional beautiful music, already overly mentiones lyrics, and above all that, Arnold's voice is fantastic. Is music still kind of simple - yeah, it is. But it is really all generic and effortless, passion behind it is impossible not to be seen.
The only real negative is that the band kind of overdoes this formula this time around. It works and that's great, but it gets older as the record goes on, and the second half kind of suffers because of this. Also the record is way more ballad-heavy than "The Better Life", which I usually don't like in albums, but it is for the better here.
Hooks are still excelent and enjoyable, while also memorable above all else. Bass adds some flavor in the mix as well, and drumming is, well, decent. It is not mindblowingly complex, nor being just present, it is fine. Some of the singles are bit overplayed, but that does not take away any quality they had to begin with. Other songs like 'Ticket to Heaven', 'The Road I'm On' and 'Changes' are just some of the best deepcuts genre has to offer.
There is depth here, not a pseudo one, the real depth. There is something to dive in to, something that rock music really lacked in the past decade. It's not lyrically repetitive at all, does not fall into bland territory (well, some tracks kinda do, but rarely) and it shows that with effort a solid piece of work can be made with a more simple music structures. It doesn't feel rushed and boring and it is the best that 3DD has to offer.
It is unfortunately after two great records, they never really did anything nearly as good. "Seventeen Days" was still okay, but lacked hooks, melodies and overall memorability, while the self titled was just a mess. Their latest record "Us and the Night" is probably the low point of their career, and they are not on the top of the world like they used to be.
That does not low the quality this record possesses tho. In fact, it just makes it look even better. Unlike many other records of that era, this one sold and was inescapable for a reason. I would really recommend this one as a true standout of that era, and to really any post grunge fan.