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Thursday, July 2, 2009

Daughtry CD Review: What's Not to Love?

With rock albums, it usually takes me a couple of listens before I can decide whether I like it or not.

But with Daughtry’s new CD, “Leave This Town,” I knew instantly…

I not only like it, I love it. And you will too…

Daughtry is not just picking up where they left off with their second CD. They’re actually improving on their first release by giving us a project that feels less like a collection of singles and more like a cohesive album.

That’s not to say there aren’t singles on “Town,” because there are—good ones. But sometimes it’s nice to hear more from an artist than just songs on the radio. And “Town” gives us that whole package…

In fact, I’m not sure there’s a misstep across the whole album. Rockers like “You Don’t Belong” and “Every Time You Turn Around” are not usually my thing, but with such catchy choruses, they’re hard to resist. And speaking of catchy, I can’t find a better word to describe the single-worthy “Life After You,” which boasts Chris and Chad Kroeger of Nickelback as two of its co-writers.

Another single-worthy rock tune, “What I Meant to Say,” features the classic chorus lyrics “Can I be so bold/’Cause all this sucking up to you is just getting old/Well it’s not too late to say it right this time/’Cause I know I said I’m sorry/But that’s not what I meant to say.”

I love a good haunting rock song and Daughtry provides one with “Open Up Your Eyes,” which Chris co-wrote with former Evanescence members David Hodges and Ben Moody. Its theme of life after death really resonates.

For those fans who are looking for the next “Home,” I would nominate “September,” written by Chris and Daughtry guitarist Josh Steeley, which reflects on times gone by. “Learn My Lesson” is another potential single, as is one of my favorites, “Supernatural.”

And just when you think you’ve got the Daughtry sound figured out, the guys throw in a wild card with the gorgeous ballad, “Tennessee Line,” featuring Vince Gill. Don’t laugh. The song is good and Gill and Chris harmonize beautifully. The CD closes with the gorgeous “Call Your Name” that shows a lot of vocal range from Chris. And I love the key change on the ending.

But for me, the highlight of the CD is the second track and the current single, “No Surprise,” which also boasts Chad Kroeger as a co-writer. The slight chant at the beginning, the killer chorus with the catchy lyrics of “It’s no surprise I won’t be here tomorrow/I can’t believe that I stayed till today,” and Chris Daughtry’s great vocals all lead to one of the best songs currently on the radio. I think it could be the band’s best song yet.

Chris Daughtry gets a lot of credit for his vocals, but I don’t think he gets nearly enough credit for his songwriting. He either co-wrote or solo wrote all 12 tracks on the CD and they all have great hooks and well-crafted lyrics.

If you’re a Daughtry fan, you will love “Leave This Town.” If you’re a rock music fan, you will love “Leave This Town.” And if you’re just a fan of good music and solid complete albums that you can just put in and listen to without having to skip through some songs, you will love “Leave This Town.”

Daughtry is truly coming into its own as a band. I’m just glad we get to come along for the ride.

“Leave This Town” hits stores and digital outlets Tuesday, July 14th…

Photo Credit: RCA