Review Summary: No maturity to be seen here.
Right from the start, this album immediately begs the question: doesn't Daughtry ever get tired of writing about the same thing over and over again? It's bad enough that the lyrical content hasn't changed in the slightest, but what is really striking is that the band still collaborates with many lyricists to write these songs. Aside from more variety in the instruments that they use, almost nothing has changed. It's the same, lame radio-friendly Daughtry that everyone has come to know. We've been shown tiny glimpses of brilliance in some of their songs. Sadly, you won't find the great atmospheric elements of "Open Up Your Eyes" and the intensity of "Drown In You." The overall result is simply a complete waste of talent considering how fantastic Chris' voice generally is.
Granted, that first paragraph comes off as extremely harsh. After all, the sound that they are going for is a simple radio friendly one. Maybe I'm expecting too much from a band that is going for this type of sound. However, one would think that after four albums, the band would switch things up a bit, think outside the box, and mature just a little bit. Alas, Daughtry has done the unthinkable and taken a step backward. Just look at "Waiting For Superman" for example. Sure, the band did try something a tad different, but that simply doesn't do it justice. The song is basically a terrible synth pop song that contains extremely cheesy lyrics even for Daughtry's standards. This electronic song is radio gold and it's absolutely baffling that the band would stoop so low as to sell out even more than they already have. Chris' performance is actually not the album's problem at all. He has always been an incredibly talented singer with a fantastic vocal range. The problem is that his voice is hindered by the corny lyrics that plague pretty much every single song on the album. From the extremely cringe worthy chorus of the title track to the over done lyrics about being wild and free in "18 Years," this is songwriting at its worst ladies and gentlemen. "Boom Boom Boom Boom Boom Boom/And the cannon goes." I believe these lyrics from "Battleships" say it all.
The band had many aspects of great mainstream music right in the past. I think at one point all of us had "It's Not Over" or "Over You" in our heads whether we wanted it to be there or not. The reason those songs were gulity pleasures is because they were generally enjoyable to listen to. They were accessible, Chris' voice was something different for radio, and the band performed them quite well. The band's performance has always been quite standard, but on Baptized, it's safe to say the band can't save these songs from being quite tedious and tiresome to listen to. Granted they do use different folky types of instruments this time around, but that alone can't save the album. The whole thing is just a been-there-done-that experience. Now that wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing if it was done right like their debut, but sadly Chris' talented voice is wasted once again. Gone are the incredibly catchy, rocking songs like "You Don't Belong" and very pleasant songs like "What About Now." What we get this time around is a very poorly made album filled with by the numbers pop songs and boring pop rock songs. At least the album cover isn't a generic picture of the band this time though so that's something!