No. 42: 3 Doors Down, “Kryptonite”
And the award for most harrowingly extended metaphor goes to…
3 Doors Down! This band predated, yet somehow out-awfuled, the faux-emo sad-bastard macho chest thumps of Puddle Of Mudd, Stone Sour, Breaking Benjamin, and Daughtry. They are pretty much the worst thing to come out of Mississippi since racism, and their biggest hit, 2000’s “Kryptonite,” bridged the gap between post-Seven Mary Three lite-beer grunge and the constipated douchery of Nickelback.
“Kryptonite” was written by 3DD singer Brad Arnold from the perspective of a 15-year-old sitting in math class—which makes sense since the lyrics are maybe one step up in maturity from “Milk, Milk Lemonade.” He wails in its chorus, “If I go crazy then will you still call me Superman?”—underneath those words’ overt sappiness is a pukeworthy mix of bragging that he’s “unhinged” and bragging that some girl thinks he’s God’s gift. He will “Keep you by my side with my Superhuman might.” He adds the word “Kryptonite” in there too. The metaphor couldn’t be more stretched unless he closed with “I’m torn like Mr. Mxyzptlk between the two dimensions of the Multiverse, yeeahhhh.”
I don’t know if you’ve ever noticed this in the five billion times you’ve heard this song, but Arnold never says exactly what his “Kryptonite” actually is! It’s like a Choose Your Own Adventure novel! Except it’s two pages long and it always ends with me throwing up.
We’ll let the genius himself “explain” the lyrics:
That song, seems like it’s really just kind of like asking a question. Its question is kind of a strange one. It’s not just asking, “If I fall down, will you be there for me?” Because it’s easy to be there for someone when they’re down. But it’s not always easy to be there for somebody when they’re doing good. And that’s the question it’s asking. It’s like, “If I go crazy, will you still call me Superman?” It’s asking, “If I’m down, will you still be there for me?” But at the same time, “If I’m alive and well, will you be there holding my hand?” That’s kind of asking, “If I’m doing good, will you be there for me? Will you not be jealous of me?” That’s the basic question that song’s asking, and maybe throughout the years of singing that song, I might have come up with more meanings for it than it actually might have originally had.
Thanks for clearing that up, dude! Beyond his dream-journal sentimentality, Arnold also played the egregiously overplayed drums, adding a skipping beat that sounds like what a five-year-old might imagine “swing music” would be. They’re called tom-toms, doofus. Use them.
3 Doors Down – Kryptonite [Dailymotion]
3 Doors Down [Official site]
3 Doors Down Frontman Brad Arnold [SongFacts.com]
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