Sound — 7
This could very well act as the second disc of a double album for the band. Their previous album "3 Doors Down" serving as the first half. There are some familiar sounding riffs, but not as many as in the last album. Indeed the whole chronicle of this band has been based off of Brad Arnold's observations, whereas their last album consisted of him going through the darkest parts of his last relationship's breakup, this album has him coming to terms with it. I was expecting a more upbeat or at least more energetic album, but at least it picks up in the second half. I lent the CD to a friend who liked 3DD and he handed it back after listening to the first track, saying "Whoa this isn't anything like their old stuff, too hard rock." Alas as usual that first track is deceptive. They still go for a predictably louder chorus in every song but this doesn't serve the slower tempo ballads on the track well. On my copy they had some bonus acoustic versions that I thought would have done well being the regular version of the song instead of their generic counterparts. But at track 7 this CD shows 3 Doors Down might have something left to offer us in the future. * "Every Time You Go" is a great tune and though it has familiar themes for this band they have an energy and exuberance in this track not matched in the most of the rest of the album. * "What's Left" is one of the examples where a more downbeat, restrained acoustic rendition could have added loads to this album, the words are heartfelt and relate-able but the rising chorus distracts from the somber message. * "On The Run" - This song hearkens back to their early sound and is one of my favorite tracks. * "She Is Love" - Has that different sound for a 3DD track, kinda like a cross between "Citizen/Soldier" and "She Don't Want The World". Good Track. * "My Way" - Didn't like it at first, the lyrics repeat much of what Arnold has already said in previous albums and songs but the rest of the band makes it decent. * "Believer" - Really different, "Better Life" like, don't know what the lyrics mean but its a fresh sound for 3DD. Overall the CD is better at the back end due to some malingering tracks in the middle that bog the production down.
Lyrics — 7
Brad Arnold succeed in some parts and fails in others to differentiate this album from their previous albums. Some tracks come off as a return to his old whining lyrics AKA "Let Me Be Myself", and "Your Arms Feel Like Home". Arnold can be a really good writer when he doesn't go over the same themes with the same limited vocabulary. Songs like "When You're Young", "What's Left", "Round And Round" and "Believer" demonstrate Arnold's talent with provoking emotion. "Round And Round" in particular has a desperation in both the lyrics and music that is not usually heard lately from 3DD. "When You're Young" is also a good track that is distracted by an overly sounding intro and verse riff too reminiscent of "When I'm Gone".
Overall Impression — 8
This is one of the few bands I've kept track of as I've grown up and had the opportunity to witness their career firsthand. I had a burnt copy of their first CD "The Better Life" as a 7th grader (It had the 1st track of "Kryptonite" missing, which actually makes the whole album better for some reason). And I bought each new album of 3DD as it came out. "Away From The Sun" was great, and "Seventeen Days" my favorite, in spite of its dreary tone. Their self titled album I actually think is among their best efforts if you take out just two weak tracks (I'll let you guess which). But this newest effort had me not enamored for the first time. All too familiar riffs and lyrical themes bog down the middle of this album, "Heaven", "Race For The Sun" and "Back To Me" aren't bad songs, but they combine overly tired out sounds and words to make most of this effort forgettable. "Round And Round", "She Is Love", "On The Run", "Everytime You Go" and "Believer" are the best tracks on an otherwise muddled outing for 3DD.