Self-titled albums are always interesting, especially when they're not a debut album. Seriously, is the artist just too bored to name an album, or is there a logic to their approach? I don't know the answer to that question, but it is interesting to ponder given 3 Doors Down released their Self-Titled album in 2008 and it was their 4th studio release.
Positioned musically, somewhere between Nickelback and Stone Sour, I've always found 3 Doors Down to be compelling, even if they tend to limit their musicality, as AC/DC has done, to a small segment of the rock and roll genre. That isn't a negative viewpoint as fans know exactly what to expect when they pick up a 3 Doors Down album and it could be argued that that’s a good thing.
While I've been a 3 Doors Down fan for years, I had thought that all their music I owned was via iTunes, but surprisingly this Self-Titled CD release made it into my CD collection. I have a feeling that I picked it up on sale when retailers were beginning to either get out of the CD business or drastically downsize their offerings. If you've been to a 'big box' music retailer lately, chances are you'll see an endless supply of greatest hits, best-ofs, and essential collections. While there is a place for these, and they make excellent gifts, individual albums are increasingly difficult to find randomly, unless the album in question was a landmark release for the artist. Subsequently, if I go to my local 'big box' music retailer, about the only 3 Doors Down release I'll find is their Greatest Hits compilation, if it’s even stocked. Yes, some artists are completely missing on the record store shelves these days, reminding us just how important streaming music is for artist discovery of both independent and established artists. Even I rely on streaming more so than picking up a physical copy these days, hence my surprise that I actually own this album. It's a stellar release, but is it an album I couldn't live without, one that is worthy of my physical collection should streaming ever dry up or the music in question becomes unavailable? I know that sounds far fetched, but look at how many changes music lovers have had to put up with over the decades. Anyway, let's find out together, dear reader, as we explore the 3 Doors Down Self-Titled CD.
The album cover is rather bland, their subsequent albums have certainly addressed this issue. That said, I love the rear keyhole cover art as it transports you into another reality, the one where the music resides. Similarly, the CD itself is beautifully designed and that is an increasingly rare aspect of CD collecting in the modern era. Film lovers have it worse, however, with most Blu-ray films now coming with a plain blue, rather nondescript, disc. The media companies are sadly looking at profit margins and the true collectors, usually, the buyers of the physical product, are often receiving substandard merchandise.
The Self-Titled 3 Doors Down CD includes a full-featured booklet with liner notes, including lyrics, and individual band member photographs. Overall, the CD release is worthy of a music collector's collection. Plus, the CD is mastered beautifully for the band's style of music.
Train has a killer guitar and drum introduction that sets the tone of the album. I hope you've got your air guitar ready, you're going to need it.
Citizen / Soldier is a solid tune but it’s largely forgettable, thereby making it a candidate for the B-side category.
It's Not My Time is brilliant! It is one of their greatest songs and while it borders on campy, it's just so good that I look past that possibility.
Let Me Be Myself is a beautiful vocal driven ballad-styled track that flows perfectly after It's Not My Time.
Pages has an incredible three-dimensional soundstage that makes this song a pleasure to listen to. It’s one of the best tracks on the album and is one of my favourite songs by 3 Doors Down. I particularly enjoy the vocal delivery and the associated small vocal shifts Brad Arnold applied here. Spectacular!
It's The Only One You've Got is thoroughly enjoyable but offers nothing new to write home about.
Give It To Me really gets close to that Nickelback sound, but given I’m also a Nickelback fan, that’s actually a compliment. A solid song!
These Days is a great song, but this is the part of the album that one begins to experience repetition of the sonic signature and where one song flows into the other without major distinguishable differences. If you're not listening intently you could easily miss the fact that you've heard three or four different songs in succession. It isn't necessarily bad, but bands with this trait need to ensure their tracking is impeccable in order to minimise this flow and blurring effect. Shorter album lengths can also be a solution to this problem.
Your Arms Feel Like Home has some lovely guitar work, if only the guitar element was amplified by 1 or 2 decibels. Nevertheless, it's a thoroughly enjoyable song.
Runaway is predictable pop/rock, but that isn’t a bad thing as it’s a great song.
When It's Over is fantastic. The slow build is perfect for this style of song and there is just enough near-acoustic, and heavy metal tones, to appeal to both sides of my personality. I love it!
She Don't Want The World is a beautiful song to close the album on, ensuring I'll listen to this self-titled release again and stay within the 3 Doors Down catalogue. Yes, the streaming counterpart closes with an exceptional acoustic version of It’s The Only One You’ve Got, but this track is sadly absent from the CD. Regardless, the atmospheric brilliance of She Don’t Want The World will capture your imagination as the speakers disappear into the soundstage, leaving you with your own personal performance. I love it when music is three dimensional, for it reaches you on a completely different level, allowing for a greater appreciation of the art.
Overall, 3 Doors Down is a fantastic album that I'm pleased to have in my collection. While there are songs that sound a little lacklustre, as a result of being too similar to other songs, they don't deter the listening experience to the extent that I couldn't enjoy the body of work in the album format. However, for most people, casual fans included, you may find more diversity and pleasure from The Greatest Hits release.