3 Doors Down got together way back in 1996 in the wonderful state of Mississippi and finally got a record deal and they released their first album, ‘The Better Life’, in 2000. They exploded on to the scene with the song “Kryptonite” and went on to massive success selling millions and millions of albums. After numerous band member changes, founder Brad Arnold and Chris Henderson are the only two members left that were on every album. But, that hasn’t impacted anything as they still sound just as strong on their 6th album as they did on their first.
I got in to the band right out of the gate. The debut album was great rock album and for me stood out in a time when boy bands and Britney ruled the charts. The have been labeled as a post-grunge band or alternative rock band, but for me they are a rock band. The band has had their ups and downs throughout their career and have dealt with alcoholism, health issues, vehicular homicide for one member and somehow the band has continued thanks to Brad and Chris.
Enough chit-chat, lets get to the music as that is why you are here anyway. Without further adieu, here the albums for 3 Doors Down ranked from their worst album to their best. I hope you enjoy.
THE WORST – SEVENTEEN DAYS (2005):
The band’s third album was the most inconsistent album for me. The album felt rushed, like there was a lot of filler and it just left me bored. The album title of 17 Days is due to the fact the band only had 17 days from the end of the tour until they had to be back in the studio to record the new album. Not much time to decompress after such a successful tour with ‘Away From the Sun’. There were some highlights as the guitar playing was fantastic, but the songs sounded repetitive and were less than stellar.
There were some good songs so don’t get me wrong. I liked “Let Me Go”, “Right Where I Belong” and “Here By Me”. There is also a song with the great Bob Seger called “Landing in London” that is worth checking out. But aside from that, the album left me a little empty. So, if you are just getting in to 3 Doors Down, don’t start with this one.
#5 – 3 DOORS DOWN (2008):
The band’s self-titled album and fourth album is a definite step-up from ‘Seventeen Days’, but it still falls short compared to the rest. I have seen it called underwhelming and unflamboyant and even Blender magazine called it “one colon-blowing mid-tempo after another shows the strain.” which is my favorite one by far. I think it is a little harsh as there are few very memorable tracks. The overall package just isn’t as good as the rest.
Now, what you do get is one of the heaviest and best songs the band has ever done. That song is “Train”. It is a ballbuster, kick ass rock & roll song. The album is worth it for that one song. It is the only good song as you should check out “Citizen/Soldier”, “It’s Not My Time” and “Let Me Be Myself”. Outside of that it tends to get a little dull at times.
#4 – US AND THE NIGHT (2016):
Alright, we are now down to the Top 4 and from here on out, you can’t go wrong. I like each of these, almost equally, but of course there are slight differences or they would all be #1. Their most recent album ‘Us and the Night’ was released in 2016 and saw the band mature and yet still grow. The band is known for not necessarily being a happy sounding band, but this album border-lined on being just that…happy. It was a fun album that still had some solid guitar work and the catchy rock songs. It almost made you feel good and they are not known for that. I think that is why I liked it so much.
There are a ton of good songs and the best being “The Broken”, “In the Dark” and “Still Alive” which are the singles, but my favorite is the title track “Us and the Night” as well as the piano-based “Feel From the Moon”. All around this is a great album and worth a try. It was nice to see them come back after 5 years with such a strong release. Part of the happiness could be that Brad was now sober!! Good for him.
#3 – TIME OF MY LIFE (2011):
Here is the thing. This album got the worst reviews. I’ve seen D’s, C’s and even F’s as the score. I don’t know what I see in it that the critics don’t, but I loved this album. I think they didn’t like the fact it is a little over-produced. But I’m okay with that. For me, the songs were catchy, energetic and I liked the slick productions. It is an enjoyable listen to me. I don’t mind the clean sound as I thought the album sounded cohesive and it had so little filler (if any) for me. I liked most of the songs. What do critics know…NOTHING!! (I’m not a critic as I don’t get paid…I’m a fan of music).
There are a bunch of great songs on this one. From rockers to ballads, you can’t really go wrong. You should try “Every Time You Go”, “Back to Me” and the opening track “Time of My Life”. Who am I kidding, you also have to listen to “The Silence Remains”, “Heaven” and you can’t forget “Round and Round”. It is all a good time for me. I had also forgotten how much I enjoyed this one as it had been a while since I had heard it.
#2 – THE BETTER LIFE (2000):
Here we are. The debut album. The exploded on to the scene with “Kryptonite” and that song was everywhere and played to death…but I have spent enough time away from it to enjoy it again. Just like I enjoyed this album. This is rock band that had something to prove. They were young and hungry and they kicked some ass and took some names. Yes, they can be a little dark and even almost not very happy at times, but the guitar work is fantastic and they kept the rock sound alive and well in a pop world.
The songs aren’t always happy and upbeat, but the hooks are infectious and they have a consistent sound that is all 3 Doors Down. Aside from the opening track there are a ton of songs worth checking out. The two other singles “Loser”, “Duck and Run” and “Be Like That” are a must, but let’s get in to the deep cuts “The Better Life” with some great riffs and the punk sounding “Smack”. The band was really raw back then and I was digging the sound.
#1 – AWAY FROM THE SUN (2002):
I am here to tell you this band did not suffer from the Sophomore slump. This album exceeded any and all expectations and took them to another level. Again, this is another album slammed by the critics and hell, the band was always slammed by the critics, but who cares. I like the tone of Brad’s vocals, I liked the guitar playing as their was plenty of it, I like the hooks, I liked it all. From start to finish, I don’t think I skipped anything and let it play. From the rockers to the ballads, the band sounded determined, focused and ready to take on the world.
The best songs to go to are the ballad, “Here Without You”, “When I’m Gone” and “Away from the Sun”. But those aren’t necessarily my favorites. I really liked “Running Out of Days”, “Ticket to Heaven”, “Changes” and “Goin’ Down in Flames”. The band covered the spectrum of rockers and ballads, they still had a that darker sound, almost grunge-like. The songs aren’t happy songs and I’m okay with that. But the music struck a chord with me and this album is the one that gets pulled out the most which is why it is #1.
And there you have it, 3 Door Down’s studio albums in order of how I rank them from the worst to the best. Let me know what you think. Where did we differ and where did we agree. What is fun about these list is how differently each album impacts people. What I like, you might not, but we like the same artist and that is all that matters really. And if as a result, you find something new, then my job is done!!!