Daughtry
Leave This Town


3.5
great

Review

by Nosferatwo USER (43 Reviews)
July 10th, 2009 | 35 replies


Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Streamlined and polished, Daughtry is pure guitar pop. Rock fans are going to riot.

American Idol has, for the entirety of its existence, been a laughing stock among serious music fans. The contestants are attention whores without the talent to survive without the built in audience that the show provides for the eventual high finishers. Even this is not enough in all cases, as several of the winners have been flash in the pan artists, burning out and fading away before their careers had a chance to begin. But, lost among the crowd of faceless singers aping their favorite artists, actual musicians sneak through and are given the platform they need to break through into the mainstream. The winner of the first season, Kelly Clarkson, did this, as did eventual winner Carrie Underwood. What is less common is for a non-winner to find success, but it has happened. Fourth place finisher Chris Daughtry was the show's resident rocker, the token nod to fans of heavier music that American Idol was not solely concerned with tear-jerking ballads. Daughtry was not the winner, but losing turned out to be the best break of his life. Free from the pressure of pleasing the producers behind the scenes, he was able to assemble a band and make the record he wanted, which established him as being one of the preeminent voices in modern rock.

Daughtry's debut album was the best selling record of the year, moving more than four million copies while producing a string of hits on the charts. Along with Nickelback, Daughtry was the lone voice keeping rock alive in the mainstream of top 40 radio. The band, now a solidified unit with years of touring experience behind them, is back with their second album, another effort sure to top the charts.

One thing needs to be made clear about Daughtry: this is not pure rock music. Daughtry is often labeled as a "post-grunge" band, a moniker thrown around by critics who know nothing of actual rock. Daughtry is an unabashed guitar pop band, carrying on the bright rock produced by bands like Tonic in the 90's, not the dark slog that came out of Seattle. Leave This Town takes the band further in this direction, removing the sharp edges of harder material from their songs, embracing their role as popular hitmakers. There are no guest appearances from rock legends like Slash this time to prove the band's credibility, this album is all about the songs.

The songs on Leave This Town are exactly what is expected of Daughtry, tightly written pop songs with flashes of rock giving them the appearance of muscularity. "You Don't Belong" opens the album with a downtuned riff straight off of modern rock radio, giving the appearance of a stylistic shift before falling into the trademark Daughtry sound. It sounds like it was left on the cutting room floor of their first album, a perfect way to mark this new chapter.

The band does nothing extravagant here. The songs are all constricted compositions, leaving no room for excess wandering or open energy. These are songs all about Daughtry's voice and melodies, which he does his best to bring to life. The band is capable, shading the music with slight variations to draw each song unique. "No Surprise" plays with an echoed effect on the vocals, while "What I Meant To Say" and "Open Up Your Eyes" use prominent synths to bring in a retro feel. "Tennessee Line" touches on country, with a single violin playing in the background, while "Call Your Name" closes the album with a swirling rush of climbing power chords.

Daughtry brings a few guests along for the ride, co-writing with Chad Kroeger of Nickelback, and Ben Moody, the former guitarist of Evanescence. Kroeger contributes "Life After You", an addictive half ballad that feels like a Matchbox Twenty song, and is destined to sit atop the charts. Moody contributes "Open Up Your Eyes", a darker, atmospheric song with a more subtle hook.

These songs, despite their pedigree, are indistinguishable from the songs penned by the band. Their work is professional, sharp, a perfect balance of rock and pop sensibilities. They give ample room for Daughtry to explore the limits of his voice, which is the true surprise here.

During his time on American Idol, and on the debut record, Daughtry was a vocal powerhouse, a singer with the kind of clear power that few singers possess. Somewhere in between records, the strains of touring and stardom have seemed to creep in, his voice bearing the burden. His voice creaks in softer sections, sounding like an outtake done by a sick singer. His reaches for high notes are similarly strange, a thin nasal timbre replacing his rich tone. The degradation of his voice is startling on the extremes, but non-existent when he sticks to his comfortable range, which is the majority of the record.

Leave This Town is an album that avoids the sophomore slump. This is a record that does everything well, and doesn't overstay its welcome. The downside is that some of the songs are indistinguishable, and the album comes across as sounding like a retread of the debut. That is only a minor criticism, as good music is good music, regardless of the originality. Daughtry has hit upon a winning formula, and only an idiot would throw that away. Leave This Town may be more pop than rock, but don't let that scare you. This, and not the sludge on modern rock radio, is where bands should be.



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user ratings (204)
Chart.
2.5
average
other reviews of this album
Dr Dave De Sylvia STAFF (2)
Leave This Town isn’t quite the album of sloppy seconds it threatened to be....

Blindsided (2.5)
As far as mainstream rock goes, Daughtry creates another record full of superior tunes but sells o...

fromtheinside (1.5)
If nothing else, at least check out the video......


Comments:Add a Comment 
mvdu
July 10th 2009


605 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Should I give this a chance even if I thought his debut was average?

ninjuice
July 10th 2009


6760 Comments


the album comes across as sounding like a retread of the debut

Doesn't sound good. I'll end up trying this sometime anyways.
Good review.

mvdu
July 10th 2009


605 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Just heard the stream, and I find it to be even more bland than the first. Oh well, I gave it a chance.

BTW ninjuice, love your avatar! :-)

fromtheinside
July 10th 2009


18363 Comments


it appears the review makes the band sound more average than your rating, haven't heard anything other than no surprise, and other than the singles i probably wont.

Digging: Gehenna - Seen Through the Veils of Darkness

BSX
July 10th 2009


1633 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

Along with Nickelback, Daughtry was the lone voice keeping rock alive in the mainstream

Nickelback killed rock

ninjuice
July 10th 2009


6760 Comments


ninjuice, love your avatar! :-)

Thanks. Attractive female singer-songwriters ftw.

BSX
July 10th 2009


1633 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

Well I do have a thing for redheads.

10/5 for the avatar ninjuice

ninjuice
July 10th 2009


6760 Comments


Btw BSX, she's Allison Sudol, aka A Fine Frenzy - a pretty underrated pop singer-songwriter.
Check her out!

BSX
July 10th 2009


1633 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

I will! =D

InTheShallows
July 10th 2009


269 Comments


hey ninjuice...i made a list recently asking for recs (as i'm brand new here), and NO ONE mentioned A Fine Frenzy. so huge kudos to you, they are sooo good!

CreamCrazy
July 11th 2009


724 Comments


I enjoyed the debut quite a lot (upon buying it again after having it lost for over a year & a half I realised just how much I missed it)... I've got reason to believe it's not that good but I'll feel like giving it a chance once I save some money to buy more CD's

Waior
July 17th 2009


11452 Comments


Congratulations on the feature! I think this would be terrible.

Jom
Staff Reviewer
July 17th 2009


2682 Comments


Not as good as the debut, but not a bad record at all.

AtavanHalen
July 17th 2009


17927 Comments


American Idol has, for the entirety of its existence, been a laughing stock among serious music fans.

Fuck you, Clarkson is boss

AtavanHalen
July 17th 2009


17927 Comments


Oh and good review I guess.

thebhoy
Emeritus
July 18th 2009


4461 Comments


I've hated everything I've heard from this guy. So I will not be checking this out.

Review was pretty okay though.

Papasfritas42
July 18th 2009


29 Comments


that's a three minute album cover if I've ever seen one..... Bleeding Cowboys + Pic of the Band (opacity at 50%) + Open Road picture (snapped out front of the recording studio) = poo

atrink
Contributing Reviewer
July 18th 2009


2845 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

gay

KYZAR
July 18th 2009


513 Comments


"Daughtry has hit upon a winning formula, and only an idiot would throw that away. Leave This Town may be more pop than rock, but don't let that scare you. This, and not the sludge on modern rock radio, is where bands should be."


Not at all sir.




TNY
July 19th 2009


571 Comments


This sounds so fucking horrible.



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