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Daughtry – “Leave This Town” (2009) July 11, 2009

Posted by rawkfistmusic in 2009, Daughtry.
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Written by Andrew Hart

Okay, I’ll admit it, I have been known from time to time to give into the satanic cult that is American Idol.  The reason for this of course being that once in a great while, an act like Chris Daughtry will pop up and remind me just how totally awesome someone can be.  See, despite not winning American Idol that year (instead Taylor Hicks won), Daughtry put some people together and in very Bon Jovi-esque fashion formed a band based on his namesake and went on to sell a bajillion records with their debut album.  Now, an excruciating two years later for those of us who fell in love with aforemention debut, Chris and Co. return with Leave This Town, and attempt to duplicate all that magic of 2007.

I’d love to start this off by saying “You Don’t Belong” is every bit as good of a disc opener as the 2007 smash “It’s Not Over” but quite frankly, it’s not.  What it is however, is an explosive rock radio hit waiting to happen.  The opening riff is more intense than anything on the debut, and leans far more to hard rock than this band has dared to tread before.  This is actually a pretty common trend too, and Chris wasn’t lying when he claimed at one point this was going to be a harder record.  “Every Time You Turn Around” and “Ghost of Me” are both bombastic hard rockers that definitely flow in the same vein of harder songs of the genre.  Powered by Chris Daughtry’s incredible voice, one built from the ground up for this kind of music, the hooks are heavier than ever, and most importantly, much catchier.

The album’s not all eardrum explosions however.  Obviously drawing from the formula that created the song-so-good-it’s-freaking-everywhere known as “Home”, there are plenty of awesome ballads to round out Leave This Town. Leadoff single “No Suprise” is arguably the weakest, which is saying something since it’s still pretty good.  Really it’s biggest flaw is there’s no obvious hook, a rare moment for this album.  For it’s flaw however, the others step up.  “Life After You” is a major standout four songs in, and “Open Up Your Eyes” is an awesome blend of ballad and rocker much as “Breakdown” was on the previous album.  While songs of this nature don’t stand out as much as the heavier songs, they’ll be getting your attention just as much as the others after a few listens, again with a lot of thanks to Daughtry’s vocal power.

The two tracks that really need to get addressed are “What I Meant To Say” and “Call Your Name”.  The former is one of those hard-hitting slobberknocker tracks I’ve already mentioned thousands of times in four paragraphs, but it pulls it off brilliantly.  It’s a song of epic F-U proportions, driven by the line “I know I said I’m sorry but that’s not what I meant to say.”  You know those moments when you just really hate someone or something that happened and you need a song to blow at the guy next to you in traffic.  This is that song.  Getting back to “Call Your Name”, we find a totally different song from anything on the album.  Demonstrating Chris’s voice and songwriting abilities better than anything better than recent memory, “Call Your Name” is one of those brilliant escalator songs, one that gets bigger and better as it goes.  Kicking off with some light falsetto and instrumentation, and ending with a crash of guitars and drums, “Call Your Name” is an epic ending to Leave This Town, and a track sure to leave a lasting memory.

So where does Daughtry go wrong?  My thoughts are this, Daughtry goes wrong without Daughtry.  There’s a reason this band bears Chris’ name, and that’s because it would be lacking without.  The instrumentation throughout the album is never stellar or all that ear-grabbing, but instead most of the disc is driven forward by Daughtry’s amazing vocal prowess.  I hate to throw so much of this band out the window, but I’d be lying if I said that his voice isn’t priority numero uno for this project.  The lyrics and song structure are strong enough, so all in Leave This Town is really good music.  I can’t take much away from it for it’s flaws, because as long as Chris is part of the band, these guys are the real deal, and have once again crafted a CD full of addictive radio rock sure to please casual and hardcore listeners alike.  Don’t doubt it, Daughtry is no one-album wonder, but is in it for the long haul.

9 out of 10 – Download “Call Your Name”

Daughtry is | Chris Daughtry – Vocals, Rhythm Guitar | Josh Steely – Lead Guitar | Brian Craddock – Rhythm Guitar | Josh Paul – Bass, Backing Vocals | Joey Barnes – Drums

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Comments»

1. K-God - July 17, 2009

Good review, for the most part. You need to EDIT.
“Demonstrating Chris’s voice and songwriting abilities better than anything better than recent memory”
better than anything better than…. hmmm… not what you meant to say, surely.
and the last paragraph is difficult to understand, though I can’t pinpoint exactly why.
These guys sound good, tho. Keep it up.

Also, what on EARTH does slobberknocker mean?


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