2000, Music

The Better Life (2000) by 3 Doors Down

Despite never intentionally listening to either of them in my life. When this record came out I was about to go to university where I was pretty sheltered from Top 40 music. So these songs must have got in my face prior to my departure (and during summers I assume). I really can’t believe how well I know either of them.

You should not be remotely surprised that the two most famous tracks here are the catchiest. That’s true of so many albums, especially an album like this whish is both their debut (sort of?) and their biggest hit. (They’re like a one-album wonder, only some later albums somehow went platinum.) The point is, you’re not going to find anything here that’s more appealing than those two hits, if you find those hits appealing.

I can’t say I paid much attention to the lyrics. I guess Arnold’s lyrics aren’t terrible, but I can’t say I remember much of anything that suggested they stand out among other post-grunge lyrics. (I mean, they’re all basically the same, right?)

The problem with record – aside from its lack of songs – is the style of music. It’s post-grunge, of course, and it’s some extremely generic post-grunge. (I’m pretty sure that’s worse.) Occasionally the guitarists turn the distortion way up so the uninitiated might be confused into thinking this is “metal” but the rest of the music remains very much in the mainstream ’90s rock realm.

Even when they try a particularly knotty riff you’re pretty sure that somebody somewhere was ensuring the song didn’t get too hard and difficult. (“Duck and Run” has a knotty riff and then a super accessible – albeit melodically weak – chorus and bridge just in case the knotty riff scared you off.)

The production is slick, I can hear everything including the Pro Tools. (I’m not 100% sure if Pro Tools existed in 2000, but something is retuning Arnold’s voice at times, and it’s really annoying.)

These guys are competent: the songs are not great but they’re hardly terrible for the genre – it’s not like they’re Creed – and they can clearly play instruments. But they don’t have any taste and they don’t know how to make art. This is pedestrian mainstream rock that never moves beyond that descriptor. If you looked up mediocre mainstream ’90s rock music in the dictionary, these guys might be in it.

5/10

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