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Classic Album Reviews: 3 Doors Down | Away From The Sun / Saliva | Back Into Your System

Two modern-rock frontmen outline the difference between a whiner & a winner.


This came out in 2002 – or at least that’s when I got it. Here’s what I said about it back then (with some minor editing):


There are few people more annoying than a whiny rock star — and they don’t come much whinier than 3 Doors Down’s Brad Arnold, a guy who makes Kurt Cobain seem giddy as Richard Simmons.

Judging by his Mississippi grudge-rock outfit’s brutally bleak sophomore album Away From The Sun, you’d think Arnold spent the last two years in a Chinese labour camp instead of touring the world with a hit single (Kryptonite) and album (The Better Life). From stem to stern, these dozen songs are one long pity party, with Arnold endlessly moaning: “I’m so far down … I’m falling down … I’m falling apart … I’m running out of days … I’m spent … I’m bent … I feel so frustrated … And the pain inside is making me numb.” Me, me, me. For crying out loud, pal, suck it up and act like a man instead of some self-obsessed Chad Kroeger wannabe.

Arnold could take a cue from Josey Scott of Saliva. He’s a guy who knows how to have a little fun. “I’m a superstar in the making,” he brags on the opener to his band’s third album Back Into Your System. And he knows how to act like a star: “No crying-ass bitching about my wife or girlfriend … No crying-ass bitching about my evil parents.” Thankfully, Scott walks the walk here too, bellowing like a bear with a thorn in his paw as he leads his band through 48 minutes of swaggering, thundering, anthemic alt-metal. OK, he’s not perfect: I could have done without a few of the power ballads like Separated Self, Rest In Pieces and Famous Monsters. But at least he doesn’t make you wanna slap him hard and repeatedly.