3 Doors Down is a strange phenomenon: They’re internationally recognized and have two double-albums that went platinum (their debut went 6x platinum), and yet plenty of people in their mid-20s like 3 Doors Down without actually liking 3 Doors Down. Because of the song “Kryptonite”–“If I go crazy then will you still call me Superman?”–the band have achieved a kind of a cult status among a cross-section of the public that belies the actual quality of their music, that belies what is to many a surprising level of fame.
To that end, I’m torn between nostalgia and clarity when writing the following statement: Time of My Life is an OK album. It’s full of songs that are exactly like other 3 Doors Down albums, from the jerking guitar of the opening title track to archetypal power ballad “Heaven”, which could just as well serve as the backing for an emotional moment in a bad American teen drama as one of this album’s 12 tracks.
As you’d expect, of course, power ballads are something of a theme: “Every Time You Go” will get your proverbial fists pumping, your proverbial brow frowning, its pained but clichéd and sometimes hollow lyrics more than stereotypical for the style. “On the Run”, “My Way”, and “Race for the Sun” aren’t much different. Perhaps the pinnacle of that mode, though, comes in “Heaven”, during which frontman Brad Arnold belts, “I didn’t have to lie to myself for so long/I didn’t have to let myself get so far gone/I didn’t have to make the ones I love feel so alone/I didn’t have to die to go to heaven/I just had to go home.”
Not the most impressive of lyrics, but then 3 Doors Down isn’t the most impressive of bands. Nothing they do is bad, most of what they do is cheesy, and little of what they do is particularly good. In that sense, there really isn’t anything new to uncover. If you already like 3 Doors Down (and plenty do), then Time of My Life will be another album worth listening to; if you’re one of the people who liked “Kryptonite”, it’s probably not worth bothering.
Just remember, though. If “Heaven” ends up being used in a teen drama, it was mentioned here first.