With the assistance of its contemporaries Creed and Days Of The New, 3 Doors Down helped keep the grunge flag flying in the mid-1990s in the wake of the demise of genre founders like Nirvana and Soundgarden. Combining the mammoth, sludgy riffs of the aforementioned bands with a dose of pop melody and an eye on the top 40 charts, the band first gained public attention with its debut release THE BETTER LIFE.
The Mississippi-based quartet 3 Doors Down has only one thing that sets them apart from other hard rock bands: lead vocalist Brad Arnold is also the drummer. The group shops the sounds of Pearl Jam and the Goo Goo Dolls, pointing at what they like, picking it off the shelf, and throwing it into the stew. While the music on The Better Life, their debut, sounds overall both competent and confident, the songs themselves are equally uninspired and clichéd. For example, the riff from the track "Loser" is straight out of the Alice in Chains songbook, adding much more cringe-worthy lyrics ("Addiction needs a pacifier, the buzz of this poison is taking me higher"). In fact, most of the lyrics zero in on well-worn rock themes of aggravation, confusion, and frustration, feelings that 3 Doors Down will easily coax out of discriminating listeners. --Jason Josephes
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