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3 Doors Down - Time Of My Life Deluxe Version

Hiring producer Howard Benson, best known for helming heavier acts, for 2011’s Time of My Life is a suggestion that 3 Doors Down realized their eponymous 2008 album was a little anonymous. To be sure, Benson does pump up the guitars but there’s no fighting the encroaching middle age of 3 Doors Down and, with it, a certain slowing of the band’s pace and mellowing of its outlook. Time of My Life doesn’t dwell on pain and alienation the way previous albums did; there’s heartbreak and loss, the lyrics often referencing the splintering of a long-term relationship, but Brad Arnold and company seem settled, comfortable where they are and where they’re going. Without a churning undertow of angst, 3 Doors Down wind up sounding deliberately anthemic and the louder guitars provide neither sound nor fury: they’re mere coloring. Unfortunately, the lack of powerful hooks, either in the melodies or riffs, means that all that coloring is on a grayscale, keeping Time of My Life a muted black-and-white exercise in half-hearted soul-searching.

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16 Tracks, 18 minutes