For all that is wrong with the album Seventeen Days, you can’t argue that 3 Doors Down aren’t ambitious. Few bands can write 13 decent songs in 17 days; needless to say, 3 Doors Down is not one of them. The Mississippi alt-rockers recently returned to the studio to record their third album, Seventeen Days, appropriately named for the amount of time it took the band to write the songs on the disc.
Six years after they got together, 3 Doors Down was propelled to success thanks 2000’s The Better Life, and the single “Kryptonite” proved that the quartet can write catchy tunes with mean guitar hooks. “Kryptonite” was tailor-made for radio play and became immediately popular among preteens and post-grunge fanatics.
Distancing themselves from the hard rock of The Better Life, 3 Doors Down released yet another album in 2002, Away From The Sun. Although this album is far more ballad-heavy than their previous work, listeners approved. The woefully sappy single “Here Without You” garnered them even more attention from their growing fanbase.
Rating: 1 out of 5 stars
And now, 3 Doors Down has returned, schmaltzy song lyrics and all. One would think that an album produced by Johnny K (who also produced the bands Disturbed and Drowning Pool) and mixed by Andy Wallace (Nirvana, Linkin Park) would provide a harder rock sound, full of meaty guitars and hard-hitting basslines, but the songs on Seventeen Days reside almost completely in that “middle zone” so often inhabited by self-important would-be metal bands.
Unsurprisingly, Seventeen Days contains nothing but monotonous, lackluster melodies. The tracks “My World” and “The Real Life” are so similar that it is difficult to tell them apart.Both are full of simple drum fills and NASCAR-style guitar riffs — and the inescapably whiny voice of frontman Brad Arnold.
The opening track, “Right Where I Belong,” misleadingly piques the listener’s interest with kinetic guitar riffs: It’s the only song not completely stuck in Seventeen Days’ monotonous non-aesthetic. Not even the brief cameo by Bob Seger on “Landing in London” can improve the quality.
“Let Me Go,” the album’s lead single, lacks the catchiness of “Right Where I Belong.” Wretched lyrics like “You love me / But you don’t know who I am / So let me go” and dreadfully unexciting instrumentals mark the unexciting song.
Ballad-heavy and rife with juvenile lyrics such as “I’m trying to be somebody / I’m not trying to be somebody else,” off the unoriginally titled “Be Somebody,” nothing seems to go right for 3 Doors Down on this album. Their fate is sealed: 3 Doors Down could spend 17 years on this LP and they’d never get better than this.