Three Days Grace - Life Starts Now
Record Label: Jive
Release Date: September 22, 2009
I remember getting into Three Days Grace around the time of they started to become popular, around 2003, with their self-titled debut. Songs like "I Hate Everything About You" and "Just Like You" were, at the time, the songs that catapulted the band into stardom. It was nice to see a band, although mainstream, have a lot of heaviness to them. In that album, tracks like "home" and "Overrated" really captured the bands sound: heavy, with somewhat dark lyrics. That's what it seemed to me anyway. Three years later, I listened to One-X, their next album, and although I liked it, it showed nowhere near the prowess of their first album. It had gotten way too radio-friendly for my tastes. For the most part, I viewed it as forgettable. It would be another three long years before the band came out with their newest release, Life Starts Now. This time, the album seems like a good fuse between the first two albums. Many will contend that they have retained the same sound as before, but I can refute that. In fact, this is probably up there with their self-titled as their best album. We reminisce the heavy days of the band with the first track, "Bitter Taste," which I believe is the best song the band has ever put out. Vocalist Adam Gontier shows how much he has improved, from staying at the same pitch for most of the song his first two albums. He experiments with his voice throughout the album, and while some of the songs are unimpressive, I can safely say that this track he is nearly perfect. There are two guitar solos, both of which blew me away, and the drum fills done by Neil Sanderson have certainly improved.
The next song, "Break," is a lot like their other singles, but with a more upbeat tempo. It's a typical 3DG song, but it was a good choice for a single. The next one, "World So Cold," is one of the better songs on the album. It showcases the band's ability to be low-key, and then break out for a chorus. The musicianship exhibited in this song is something to be admired. The lyrics aren't half bad, either. It is followed by "Lost in You," which is probably my favorite off the album. It seems they have a soft song every album, but I believe that "Lost in You" blows them all away. Reason #1: the drum fills add to the dynamic of the song. Before, the simplicity, although sometimes appreciated, would really tire the listener. Next, the guitars and vocals were all too boring. On this song, guitarist Barry Stock experimented in the pre-verse, and builds up to the last chorus very nicely. As always, Gontier's vocals were very good. After that, "The Good Life" is probably one of the more mediocre tracks. Honestly, it is a lot like "Riot," as they are both in the triplet feel. Both are okay; Gontier's vocals aren't that great, and the "ooh's" and "ahh's" are forgettable. I feel that Stock and Brad Walst, the bassist, could have done more to make the song catchier.
"No More," the next track, has a very catchy guitar riff, but everything else seems complacent. It's nothing special, but I do commend Gontier for experimenting with his voice. Instead of staying at the same high pitch, he tries out his low pitch. The backing vocals are also something I actually noticed for the first time. "Last to Know" wasn't bad at all; in fact, I liked the piano in the beginning. "Someone Who Cares" is actually one of their longer songs, and their notoriety for being too simple was thrown out the window. No, they don't do anything flashy, but for the first time I see that they have a noticeable key change; in fact, they do it more than once.
Next, "Bully," is not as bad as people think it is. The lyrics are very commendable, as I got a very Columbine-like feel after listening to them. The song goes from normal 4/4 timing, to 6/8 triplet feel, back to a regular 4/4. The new sound of the band is also seen, with a slight breakdown towards the last chorus, which I've never seen with Three Days Grace. Next is "Without You," which probably showcases Gontier's vocals the best. The instrumentals really bring out the powerful melodies that Gonteir presents with this song. He actually doesn't get into his usual chorus voice, which would sound terrible on this song, to be honest. The guitar solo is actually nice to hear, as it is a first in a power ballad from them. The last song is the title track, "Life Starts Now," which dives into a 3/4 timing, which is a rarity for them. Another key change occurs to the end, and is a satisfactory last 90 seconds to the album. I wish the drummer did more to make it more dynamic, but overall, it is a good closer.
So there you have it; Three Days Grace has some mediocrity, but definitely Life Starts Now is indicative of the growth and maturity in the band, and despite poor songs, the good songs make up for it. It was a long 3-year wait, but certainly, I am not disappointed. While this isn't anywhere close to one of the best albums of the year, I can for sure say that this is as close as the band can get to their 2003 self-titled album.
I'm slightly embarrassed to admit that this band is one of my guilty pleasures..not so much as they used to be, but I loved One-X. Haven't heard anything from this yet though, I'll have to check it out.
Haha yeah I just saw it. I forgot to indent it. My bad .
Listening to it another time, I actually like it a lot more now. Sure, it's very mainstream and can be a bit generic at times, but they have steadily improved over the years. I believe they've become a pretty good band.
Listening to this now and I gotta say it is NOT that good. Loved One-X, not liking this one. I don't feel bad for getting on torrent. These ballads are horrifying. Although "The Good Life" is a damn good song.