3 Doors Down

2008-08-15 09:44
What seems to happen to some bands that have ‘made it’, is that life grinds to a halt. Displaced from the surroundings that shaped their art, these musicians travel through a blur of hotel rooms and disposable human relationships only to reach a kind of emotional ghetto. Once there, only undiluted talent or obvious lyrics about big city lights and the hollow grins of the in-crowd can save them.

After “Kryptonite” and request line favourite “Here Without You”, 3 Doors Down seem firmly stuck in Sucksville. Their album is cellophane, it’s Spray ‘n Cook, it’s anything you already own that wouldn’t (and shouldn’t) fetch more than a R20 mercy bid on eBay.

Lyrically, there is just nothing to connect with. Brad Arnold & company’s rockscapes don’t name a single place, person or thing, as if they were so afraid of alienating their Bangkok fan base that they forgot to write something real. Give me Reno, give me Sally Sugartits, but don’t tell me: “So you concede your feelings; Inside yourself and wander through my heart” without so much as a wink to the real world. That was what made “Kryptonite” such a great song, but now the lesson has been unlearnt.

A rock-by-numbers job on guitars, drums and bass complete the site of what is hopefully 3 Doors Down’s final, ineffectual stand. Unless they stop writing songs about braindead mannequins named “you”, “she” and “him”, the timing of their swansong is an album too late. No matter, we’ll always have two good songs to remember them by.

- Niel Bekker

Here’s a promise. Fifty years from now, in a retirement home somewhere, an old fogey with wobbly knees will shuffle to 3 Doors Down’s “Kryptonite” just before bedtime. Also: no one will remember or care that in 2008, the same band released their fourth, self-titled album, 3 Doors Down.

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