Mississippi-based modern rock outfit 3 Doors Down is working on the follow-up to its Republic/Universal debut, "The Better Life." That album peaked at No. 7 on The Billboard 200 and spawned the single

Mississippi-based modern rock outfit 3 Doors Down is working on the follow-up to its Republic/Universal debut, "The Better Life." That album peaked at No. 7 on The Billboard 200 and spawned the singles "Loser," "Kryptonite," and "Duck and Run," all of which topped Billboard's Mainstream Rock Tracks chart. It has sold more than 4.8 million units in the U.S. to date, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

Band leader Brad Arnold tells Billboard the new album will contain "topical" material, but he advises the band isn't taking any major left turns. "The songs aren't the same [as we've done before], but they're not so far off base. I'm ready for people to hear them!" The band has already begun work on the set in Seattle with producer Rick Parashar (Pearl Jam, Nickelback) and is armed with nearly 20 potential songs.

There will be 11 on the record and then [the rest] will be extras for things that come up," Arnold says. "We would have loved to have had that convenience last time, where we could have just said, 'You need a song? Here you go!'"

Arnold was recently named BMI's songwriter of the year at the performing-rights organization's annual Pop Awards. He says he likes being in a band too much to just concentrate on songwriting, for now. "The band can last 30 years, but it can't last forever," he says. "I think when it's done, I think I really would like to be a songwriter or a producer," he says, stressing, "but I really want this to go a long, long time!"

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