x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

CD review: 3 Doors Down: Time of My Life

The Mississippi rock group's success may be due to their musical aesthetic of relentlessly playing it down the middle.

3 Doors Down

Time of My Life

(Republic)

Some people have trouble labelling the Mississippi rock group 3 Doors Down. They are too clean-sounding to be hard rock, too dour to be considered pop. And what is post-grunge anyway?

Despite the branding difficulties, the group went on to sell 16 million records, so something must be working. Perhaps their success is due to their musical aesthetic of relentlessly playing it down the middle, so to speak. Since their breakout single Kryptonite in 2000, the group have been steadily mining the classic American songbook with an inoffensive mix of rock anthems and country balladry.

It's no surprise their fifth album, Time of My Life continues their trajectory, meaning each of their songs continues to be interchangeable. The opening title track threatens to ruffle some feathers with its meaty riffs, but Brad Arnold's croon keeps things on an even keel.

However, the songs raise some interest thanks to its bluesy chorus. Round and Round is a driving rocker that could have been lifted from any Nickelback album, but it's well crafted and is destined to dent the charts, while What's Left is the boys' most country offering, with Arnold giving his voice an added twang that seems natural rather than forced.

The problem with playing this kind of musical game, however, is that there are bound to be fillers. Race of the Sun could really use a kick up the backside. Its steady tempo renders the song insufferably boring. This is what makes the final and best track, Believer, so infuriating.

Here the boys let their guard down and rock out to a solid tune. It makes you wonder what they are so afraid of. It's only rock'n'roll after all.