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Who’s Worse? Matchbox 20 vs. 3 Doors Down

Date May 6, 2009

I brought back Who’s Worse? contests earlier this year (where the worst bands are pitted against each other to find out who’s the most awful) and with a little help from the twitterverse (thanks guys!) we have a new match-up today. This edition features two of the worst bands of the early 00′s, both of which revel in water-down lite-rock ballads and have dumb names with numbers in them (almost always a sign of a bad band). Votes go in the comments and I’ll post the results in a week or two.

If you look up the terms boring, uninventive mainstream rock in a dictionary then I imagine you’ll see a picture of Rob Thomas and the rest of Matchbox 20 staring up at you looking douchey as ever. This is music that was created for middle-aged parents who hate rock music but want to appear cool in front of their kids (sorry, it’s not working moms). The songwriting and lyrics are atrocious and they are constantly one-upping themselves on how bland and lifeless they can make their music. But hey, at least they inspired one of the funniest Onion articles ever.

Y2B Matchbox 20 – If You’re Gone

3 Doors Down came on the scene slightly after Matchbox 20 and produced song after song of vomit-worthy ballads like “Here Without You”, “Be Like That”, and “When I’m Gone” (whose song title is eerily close to M20′s “If You’re Gone”). Their music is what I imagine lumpy, wet gravy sounds like and their attempts to grunge up their songs with middling guitar riffs is pathetic. After cornering the formulaic, corporate rock market now it seems the band has begun writing songs for the U.S. Army. I’ve had the misfortune of having to sit through the insipid “Citizen Soldier” (it plays in theaters before movies start) which sounds like a song created for the sole purpose of being added to the Torture Playlist.

Y2B 3 Doors Down – Here Without You

As always, cast your votes in the comments section and be prepared to argue your claim.


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40 Responses to “Who’s Worse? Matchbox 20 vs. 3 Doors Down”


  1. Elle said:

    I’m gonna have to side with Matchbox 20 being worse, because there was once a time I actually somewhat liked 3 Doors Down.

  2. Ben said:

    hands down three doors down (WORDPLAY!).

    matchbox twenty dabbles in lame music. yeah i admit it. that onion article hits close to home. But matchbox 20 is led by rob thomas who was on that episode of It’s always sunny in philadelphia where he was in rehab with Sinbad. Also he once did a Fan QandA in Blender magazine, answering the question “how did you do so much coke and stay fat?” with a brutally honest: “that’s a good question. I don’t even know.” hahaha get it? he can make jokes about his drug problems. Bonus points right there.

    But 3 Doors Down has no redeeming qualities. Just straight up, man’s man, wearing my work-boots to school, talkin’ ’bout huntin’, anti-intellectual “rock”. They also provided the theme song to the iraq war: love me when i’m gone. I’m totally opposed to awful music used to propagate the awesomeness of the battle of fallujah.

    I also knew a pretty awesome girl at an old job that was 100 percent devoted to them. I hated 3 doors down for ruining her in a manner normally saved for crack-cocaine addiction or adultery.

    But in these trying times, why should we fight? Especially when we can agree that while 98/99 produced some bad music…
    it wasn’t as bad as LIFEHOUSE (AAAH! shut your eyes!)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zHfzrqLIniE

  3. Ben said:

    really while i’m arguing musical legitimacy based on a comedy show and the poisoning of a female friend’s mind. so while I’m a voter I just throw away my vote, like so many third party supporters.

    “I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: democracy just doesn’t work.”
    Kent Brockman

    but I dig these features. recommend this debate in a method of “better to burn out than fade away” style of bands that at one point were awesome but have since turned out some brutally bad music. coughWEEZERcoughcoughRILOKILEYcough. Then i’ll vote on them based on the weather on the day i heard that particular album.

  4. sam said:

    3 doors down. For sure.

  5. Jennson said:

    That’s a tough one. I’m going to go with 3 Doors Down. they are arguably worse for lack of association with Santana

  6. Pat said:

    not even close. rob thomas has made catchy diddies. 3 doors down never has.

  7. Sam B said:

    I am going to have to go with 3 Doors Down. Matchbox 20 was a family favorite for road trips when I was a little kid, so they hold a special place in my heart. 3 Doors Down, on the other hand, believe they can defeat Superman and that is just a flat out lie.

  8. stephanie b said:

    I have to go with 3 Doors Down because I ashamedly owned a Matchbox 20 album when I was a tween.

  9. Seán O'Callaghan said:

    3 Doors Down. Citizen Soldier. Need I say more?

  10. miguel said:

    3 Doors Down is worse, because they didn’t go to Lake Brantley High School! Patriots! Whoot!

    In all seriousness, Rob Thomas was in my high school class. I can still remember the lunch period when someone mentioned that he had “quit school to concentrate on his music”. We all laughed, because he was a dork in lightning bolt earrings and matching jean jacket, acid washed jeans ensemble.

    I replied that he was going to be busy “pumpin my gas”.

    How right I was. Or not.

  11. Cassonia said:

    3 Doors Down, easily.
    I used to like Matchbox 20 -shame- never liked 3DD.

  12. ch. said:

    There’s a difference between the two?

  13. Linds said:

    3 Doors Down aforementioned Citizen Solider. When they played this at movie previews it made me want to rip out my own eardrums.

  14. Susquatch said:

    I’m voting for Matchbox 20, BECAUSE I used to like them and I want atonement for my sins.

  15. Allie said:

    I’m sad to say that I often enjoy Matchbox 20… so therefore, 3 doors down is worse. =/

  16. Jane said:

    3 Doors Down is totally worse. That Kryptonite song just didn’t even make sense.

    Rob Thomas is at least a decent singer, and I hold a soft place in my heart for them (non-shameful – really, people, you liked a band, don’t be ashamed! It’s not the end of the world.)

  17. Anonymous said:

    3 Doors Down. Matchbox 20 has decently catchy songs compared to whaever crap is played before or after them on whatever radiostations the play on these days. I thought 3DD was lame when I was in high school, which says something I think

  18. Heather said:

    I’ll go with 3 Doors Down as well… the early Matchbox 20 stuff wasn’t really terrible, and I have good memories of jumping around my friend’s living room listening to “Real World” when I was a kid. :P

    3DD gets props for being from Mississippi and living like 20 minutes away from me though. :P And as I southern girl, I do like a little “straight up, man’s man, wearing my work-boots to school, talkin’ ’bout huntin’, anti-intellectual “rock”” every now and then. ;)

    So… I kind of like both of them? At least a little? Ugh please don’t ban me from your website now. :P

  19. chris said:

    i’m going with three doors down for two reasons:
    A. rob thomas on sunny. a classic episode.
    2. i can’t stand going to movies and seeing that ad for whatever military branch with that terrible three doors down song. it ruins my movie going experience truly.

  20. Wicked Celtics said:

    Must we choose?

  21. Anonymous said:

    i own mad season….

    no i dont.

    fuck.

    3doorsdown gets my vote

  22. Anonymous said:

    Big fan of the blog…and I agree, Matchbox 20 is everything that is wrong with mainstream, generic music….while 3 doors down is awful, I can’t let the wrongdoings of Rob Thomas and Co. go unpunished

  23. Saint God said:

    I’ll admit to enjoying a few Matchbox 20 songs in my sisters car 5 or 6 years ago while cruising through West Chester in grey, London-suburbs weather. This endears me to it. Only on the thin line that is my relationship with my sister though.

    Thus, my vote falls onto Three Doors Down. I’m six thousand miles away from West Chester now and my sister has no chance to taint me with their ‘pure unadulterated shit.”

    Plus that was a great sunny episode.

  24. Laura said:

    This was a fairly easy decision for me. 3 Doors Down has somehow managed to ruin music and movies for me. I hate having to endure those few minutes before a movie of that dreadful “Citizen Soldier” song. I can’t even appreciate the attempt because I find that song so cringe-worthy.

    And I haven’t even touched base on their appearance. I mean, seriously, the lead singer has hobbit hair, for crying out loud! And when it’s not hobbit hair, it’s that terrible ceasar cut from the 90′s. Completely horrible. For that alone, they are worse.

  25. phinehas said:

    Is this even a real question? 3 Doors Down is horrible, they are definitely worse.

    I don’t listen to Matchbox 20 anymore, and yes I’m aware that some of their newer albums are more listenable for the masses, but the stuff I liked about their music during the 90′s is the same reason I like bands such as Passion Pit, Bon Iver, and Mates of State nowadays – songs with good hooks that provided a delightful little package of lyrics to find some meaning in (even if the songs seem to have no meaning). “Yourself Or Someone Like You” was bounds beyond 3 Doors Down’s debut album, and it sort of pains me to see them put in close proximity with 3DD.

    “Superman” bothered me, but I don’t know if I would want to hang out with someone who couldn’t find something in “Real World”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J6fNIAAL-jw.

  26. phinehas said:

    And by “superman”, I meant “Kryptonite”.

  27. Troy said:

    It took all of one bar of the 3 doors down video you posted as an example to help me realize that they are that group that makes me lunge at the radio to switch the station.

    3 doors down. no contest.

  28. Tom said:

    3 doors down without a doubt. They epitomize everything bad about radio. Matchbox 20 may have been mediocre… but 3 doors down is absolutely unlistenable.

  29. My hmphs said:

    3 Doors Down is probably worse, but I hate Rob Thomas’ voice with an undying passion. I think it gives me hives. So MB20 takes it by a vocal chord.

  30. Nathan said:

    I can’t believe this is even a question. Three Doors Down is pathetic.

  31. Depressed by bashing of tweenage said:

    God… I KNOW you’re too cool for school, but must you attack my bands?! Yeah they aren’t saving the universe, but Planet Q and a short attention span were all that stood between me and an afro-centric Columbine remix. And Planet Q was da matchbox 20 and da 3 doors down. Honestly I wonder if you remember Push You Around – which is I mean that- and- are- COME ON!

    There are literally millions of other folks to castrate and humiliate did ya have to go after these guys?

  32. Whittles said:

    3 doors down, definately.
    Although they are still 100X better than all the other bands you’ve used in your “Who’s Worse” contests.

  33. Hannah said:

    i’ve gotta say, 3 doors down is definitely worse..

  34. CG13 said:

    Can’t wait for Thomas’ new album?  Listen to cradlesong a full two weeks before it drops in stores. Go to http://www.vh1.com/artists/az/thomas_rob/2435091/album.jhtml to hear every single brand spankin’ new track for free.

  35. FZ88 said:

    What a bunch of wankers.

  36. Anonymous said:

    matchbox 20 = good
    3DD = shit

  37. lordson said:

    I really like push and bent. I like 3dd too, but, I’ll go for the mb20. I enjoy their music and how rob perform on stage. It really shows his great passion on it.

  38. Elwyn said:

    I’ve got to admit. I like Matchbox 20′s debut single “Long Day” because it has the sound of a band that is hungry for something and emotional… but noone ever thinks of this song. They just think of all the mediocre rubbish they put out later.

    Having said that, I’m voting for Matchbox 20 as worse.

    They had great potential but it all went bad after that one song. In Australia, I think there’s a lot of M20 fans and that is why I am more likely to suffer them than 3DD. You tend to remember the suffering from what you hear than some song you never hear.

    Also, can any mainstream album title be worse than “Exile on Mainstream”? The allusion to one of the greatest albums ever, “Exile on Mainstreet” by the Rolling Stones, is just arrogance.

  39. Jerry Mitch said:

    Can’t believe this is a question they’re both fantastic live especially 3DD. Funny how you idiots think your so powerful to judge other peoples work, quite low really isn’t it?
    You might be thinking i’m crying my eyes out with tantrums right now haha, well no i’m just giving credit to bands i like. I also am a fan of other music by the way ;) , say, pink floyd, rush, bob dylan etc. but both these bands have good musicians and Rob and Brad are great songwriters and have been since the late 90s. blah blah blah just kidding about this argument but i like these bands and to be honest they don’t deserve this ah they don’t hmm not really ya’lllllllllll gotta get down here whoop whhop. immature is what your thinking isn’t it ;)

  40. Leon1242 said:

    To be honest.. Matchbox Twenty has been my favorite band since their debut “Yourself or Someone Like You” I admit that Rob Thomas’s solo music isn’t as good as his band’s but Matchbox is definetly WAY better than 3DD. That Kryptonite song annoyed me so much back in 2000. Damn song never made sense. And I do not “ashamely” own all four (soon to be 5) of Matchsticks incredible albums.