Change is a recurring theme when it comes to Three Days Grace. And it starts with the Canadian post-grunge band’s cryptic-but-vaguely-positive-sounding name. In 2004, frontman Adam Gontier told an interviewer from floridaentertainmentscene.com, “Three Days Grace … sort of stands for [a] sense of urgency. Time to pay a debt. If you had three days to change something in your life or if [you] wanted to change something in your life, could you do it in three days. That sort of urgency, I guess.”
Six years later, the idea is still front and center.
“Break,” the lead single from the band’s third album, counsels anyone who feels mired in discouraging circumstances to take responsibility for making a positive change. It begins with the musings of a struggling man: “Tonight my head is spinning/ … I’ve tried, but nothing is working.” But he refuses to give up, to submit to whatever it is that has him feeling down. “I won’t stop/I won’t say I’ve had enough/Tonight I start the fire/Tonight I break away.”
And if you’re stuck in the same place, Gontier advises in the frequently repeated chorus, “Break away from everybody/Break away from everything/If you can’t stand the way this place is/Take yourself to higher places.”
Guitarist Barry Stock further clarified that message in an interview with thedeadbolt.com: “It’s really just about if you don’t like the situation you’re in or what’s going on around you, it’s entirely up to you to break out of it. That’s it. It’s pretty much just breaking out and letting loose. You don’t have to be stuck in whatever it is you’re dealing with. Whether it’s good or bad, it’s your choice to make a change.”
If there’s any kind of a rub in this mostly positive song, it’s in the possibility that encouragement to break away from “everybody” and “everything” might somehow inspire someone to cut off good relationships while trying to break out of life’s occasional soul-stunting ruts. On the other hand, if certain relationships are dragging you down, cleanly breaking away from those influences is absolutely appropriate.
Looking at things from that latter perspective, Three Days Grace’s take on making a few changes is a welcome message in a genre that’s all too often marinated in the juices of self-destructive nihilism.
After serving as an associate editor at NavPress’ Discipleship Journal and consulting editor for Current Thoughts and Trends, Adam now oversees the editing and publishing of Plugged In’s reviews.