Review Summary: Irrelevancy is a sobering thing to witness.
The progression of Chris Daughtry from one of the most popular mainstream rock artists of the 2000s to a second-rate pop artist has been a depressing one to witness. Granted, it seems unlikely that anyone ever came to Daughtry for originality or unique songwriting -- the sentiments of his lyrics are absurdly dull and his song structures are only slightly less so. The appeal centered around his voice, a powerful tenor with a distinctive twang that managed to strike the balance of projecting slight country affectations without being too obnoxious about them. And certainly his abilities have not diminished in that regard over the years, as Cage to Rattle
, Daughtry's fifth studio album, can attest to.
But for as unique as his voice is, Daughtry's inability to form an interesting musical identity in any other aspect on Cage to Rattle
is staggering. While the production on this record doesn't seem like it will age as badly as the production on the band's previous album Baptized
has, it's not exactly akin to a fine wine either, borrowing heavily from the Imagine Dragons book of pseudo-anthemic tricks more often than not. Thankfully, the actual singing is not tampered with much, but the resulting trade-off is the songs themselves neutering the impact of the vocals. Daughtry is a rock vocalist at heart, and while he doesn't feel exactly like a fish out of water on this album, his singing is not as much of a focal point and doesn't sound nearly as interesting
here. It's as if whatever personality Daughtry had was run through a cheese grater and distributed sparingly across the breadth of the record.
Not every moment on Cage to Rattle
is worth casting straight into the dumpster, in all fairness. Daughtry's singing is *the* focus of "Backbone", a powerful, stomping beast of a lead single that might be the best thing the band has done in nearly a decade. "Back in Time" deserves some recognition as well for, if nothing else, the half-time swing intro that serves as a quirky contrast to the rest of the song (and the rest of the album, really). However, even these songs will likely not attract the interest of anyone but those fans of Daughtry who were brave/foolish enough to stay aboard the ship after it hit the iceberg that was Baptized
, and understandably so. Cage to Rattle
may be an improvement on its predecessor, but it isn't nearly substantial enough of one to warrant more than a passing glance and, if desired, an expression of utter disinterest.