We’ve all heard the story before. A group of kids get together in high school, start up a band and a few years later they put out a hit single that dominates the airwaves. It’s a dream come true. Yet for so many of those young musicians, the dream ends there. They become the unfortunately labeled “one-hit wonder” and fail to ever again achieve the heights they debuted with. To break through that and continue moving the audience your way, there needs to be something more, something real, some formula that just works even when no one can say why.
3 Doors Down found that formula. From their first hit, “Kryptonite,” to their new singles, they still manage to find that razor’s edge between power and passion, rock and pop, surface and substance. “Kryptonite” blazed its way up the charts in early 2000 with an unavoidably catchy guitar riff now recognized throughout pop fandom. It also stood out because of the clean, almost buffed to a shine vocals of lead singer Brad Arnold. And while nu metal was taking popular music in a new direction at the time, 3 Doors Down continued to practice and perfect their formula of straight-forward rock.
One of the recurring themes in their songs is loneliness, shown in tracks like “When I’m Gone,” “Here Without You” and “Away from the Sun.” A sense of longing for something they once had pervades, while the guitar riffs moan with hook after hook. Sure, it can sounds trite; a now famous musician is lonely because he’s on the road touring and making all that money, but it once again shows that money isn’t everything. Also, the theme is far from new, just look at Journey’s “Faithfully.”
Another sentiment throughout their music is giving a voice to the voiceless, the lost. Songs like “Loser,” another big hit, acts as a rallying cry for the underseen and underappreciated. They aren’t always on the lamenting side of things, though. “Duck and Run” and one of their new tracks, “One Light,” talk about standing up and not letting the world dictate to you. There is a strength that they pull from, which doesn’t openly come from any particular source, and that resonates with the millions of fans they play for year after year.
Word is 3 Doors Down are heading back into the studio after adding three new tracks onto this Greatest Hits album and I have no doubt the radio waves will be ready and waiting for them when the magic returns.