3 Doors Down
“Away From The Sun” is sadly what sometimes
happens when a band puts out an exceptional debut album. The pressure is
really on for them to top themselves the second time around and they just
can’t quite do it.
We all know about the breakthrough success
of 3 Doors Down’s multi-platinum debut “Better Life”. The CD seemed to
have come out of nowhere in 2000 and spawned one hit single after another.
The band’s contrast between light and dark / heavy and mellow was a winning
formula that made smash hits of songs like “Kryptonite”, “Loser”, and “Duck
And Run”. While they were never the most original band on the block, they
did a far better job than most of their modern rock contemporaries at delivering
the goods. Sadly, something funny happened on the way to recording their
sophomore album; it sounds like 3 Doors Down forget who they were and the
sound that made them stars in the first place.
The biggest problem with “Away From The
Sun” is that it seems far too formulaic. It lacks the contrast between
songs that “Better Life” had and when you listen to “Better Life”, you
know who you are hearing but with “Away From The Sun” it appears at times
that you are listening to Matchbox Twenty or Creed not 3 Doors Down.
Don’t get me wrong this isn’t a bad album
and had it been the band’s debut it would score much higher marks but as
it is, it doesn’t measure up to “Better Life”. The band’s thought process
on the direction this disc would take seems to have missed the mark.
The disc opens with the clean guitar sound
we have come to expect from 3 Doors Down and it kicks into a heavy chorus.
This track “When I'm Gone” is one of the strongest on the disc but it doesn’t
quite grab you like “Kryptonite” did.
The second track, “Away From The Sun,”
has a generic modern rock feel to it and is easily forgettable by the time
the chorus comes around the second time. In fact, at times it sounds more
like Creed than 3 Doors Down.
The band went a little overboard with that
soft to light formula as most of the songs on this disc employ it. The
third track, “The Road I'm On,” does it once again. This song has potential
but never seems to execute, it simply doesn’t have the hook.
“Ticket To Heaven,” almost hits the
mark but doesn’t quite reach it. Again the light to heavy contrast is used
and the chorus has a subtle hook but has nowhere near the power of “Duck
and Run” or “Kryptonite”.
With “Running Out Of Days,” the band sounds
like they are finally going to break out of the light to heavy formula,
the song starts out heavy but kicks down a few notches for the verse. A
nice riff to this track and this is one of the best tracks on the disc,
the problem is this sounds far more like Creed than 3 Doors Down.
Only with the ballad, “Here Without You,”
does the band seem to reach the level that made their debut such a strong
record. This is by far the best track on this album.
“I Feel You,” again light verses meet heavy
choruses and by this point the songs start sounding a bit too generic and
run into one another without much contrast. If taken separately the tracks
are strong but together it comes across as little too much of the same
“Dangerous Game,” yup you guessed it… light
verses and heavy choruses. They kick things up a bit heavier here and the
verses are great but they fail to execute during the choruses. There is
a hook, but it’s just not strong enough.
“Changes,” employs the light to heavy and
fortunately they hit the hook right with this song. This isn’t “Loser”
but is one of the more compelling songs on this disc and the chorus does
grab you like it should.
“Going Down In Flames,” is the most consistent
song on this disc. It’s got a decent hook and a moving rhythm. Maybe not
strong enough for a single but it does keep the disc moving along.
The band breakout the heavy riffs for “Sarah
Yellin',” and this song actually has a bit of a Living Colour feel to it.
A nice vocal shuffle in the verses and strong riffing do a good job of
carrying this song.
Ironically, it is the untitled hidden track
where the band seems to hit upon the formula that made their debut album
a smash hit.
Again, this isn’t a bad CD but it does
fail to measure up to the band’s debut. Bands are supposed to change and
grow as musicians from album to album but sometimes they lose sight of
what set them apart from the competition and sadly with this CD it seems
like 3 Doors Down was listening too closely to the completion when it came
time to write these tunes, as they seemed to have lost their own distinct
identity and became rather generic in the process.
I actually ran an unscientific test of
my own to verify this opinion. I grabbed this disc, the band’s debut plus
Nickelback’s latest along with CDs from Creed and Seether’s and I played
random tracks for 5 different friends and asked them to name the band.
I first played a couple of random tracks from “Better Life” for all of
them followed by Creed, Nickelback and Seether. All five identified Nickelback,
Creed and 3 Doors Down (tracks from Better Life) correctly. 2 got Seether
and I got various responses on that disc from my 3 other friends. When
I played them tracks from this CD however, not one of them correctly identified
3 Doors Down. And there in lies the major problem with this disc, it’s
not bad but it’s not remarkable either and unfortunately the band seemed
to have lost their identity somewhere along the line.
Down – “Away From The Sun”
When I'm Gone
Away From The Sun
The Road I'm On
Ticket To Heaven
Running Out Of Days
Here Without You
I Feel You
Going Down In Flames
untitled - (hidden track)
to samples and Purchase this CD online
the "When I'm Gone" video
Samples and Purchase 3 Doors Down's new CD
the Official 3 Doors Down Website for more on the band, tour dates and
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