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Music Review: Daughtry

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In season four, the face of American Idol began to change with the addition of a new rule that raised the age limit from 26 to 28. This allowed Constantine Maroulis and Bo Bice to become Idol contestants. Both were experienced musicians, having fronted their own bands and both became hits on the show. Season five brought Chris Daughtry to Idol; he was inspired to audition for the show by the success of Bo Bice.

While a heavy favorite early on, Daughtry finished fourth in the competition on May 10, 2006 to a shocked and stunned crowd. There was some controversy, as there always seems to be regarding American Idol. There were fans who claimed that they heard Katharine McPhee’s voice thanking them when they thought they were voting for Chris Daughtry.

After being offered and turning down the opportunity to become the new front man for Fuel, Daughtry formed his own group, Daughtry. The band consists of Chris Daughtry on vocals, Jeremy Brady on rhythm guitar, J.P. Paul on bass, Josh Steely on lead guitar, and Joey Barns on drums.

While there have been a lot of comparisons between Daughtry and the band Nickelback, I just don't see it. Sure, there are tunes that have a modern feel and are perhaps reminiscent of Nickelback, but to me the songs are of higher quality and Chris's voice is better.

Being on Idol is a double-edged sword. It gives you the name and face recognition to get a contract and a CD made, but it can pigeonhole you into being someone that you are not. By spending a lot of time doing other people's songs on Idol, you are already bagged and tagged.

Now with a contract, you have to put together a band, generate new material, record the CD, and then promote it. This is backwards to how it usually happens. Normally you form the band, generate the material, promote and refine the material on the road, and then get the contract and record the CD. This is why bands with hit debut albums some times fail on sophomore attempts. They try to follow up successful compilations without the road work and refinement.

With that in mind, my overall impression of this CD is very favorable. With twelve songs ranging from hard rock to power ballads, there is a lot for every rocker. Not every one is a hit, but there are more here than on many first albums and more than I would have thought from a band without the time to refine them.

I found four outright smashes — “What I Want” (featuring Slash), “There and Back Again”, “It's Not Over” and “Home”. I would buy this CD for these songs alone. There are a few that are good — “Over You”, “Crashed”, “Feels Like Tonight” and “What About Now”, “All These Lives”, and ”Breakdown”. And the rest are okay. They are not bad, but just didn't do it for me.

Although it was produced by Howard Benson (My Chemical Romance, All-American Rejects), my biggest problem with the CD is that it feels over-produced and done too quickly. It doesn't have the raw feel that a group like Daughtry deserves. I think that it should have had a harder edge overall such as is found on “What I Want” and “There and Back Again”. Don't get me wrong, this is a good album, but it could have been a better album with more time and road work.

My grade for this CD is a B+. If you liked Chris on American Idol or you like good old-fashioned American rock, you'll find a lot to like on Daughtry.

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About T. Michael Testi

Photographer, writer, software engineer, educator, and maker of fine images.
  • Brad

    I have this CD – it rocks!

  • W. Nichols

    Thanks for a very fair review. Yes, it is a solid first album, one Chris should be proud of, especially since he wrote most of the songs. I am old enough to be his mom, and most of the radio pop/rock I hear today cannot compare with what we had years ago. Chris D. has a truly good voice and songwriting ability, hope he goes far.

  • http://photographytodaynet.blogspot.com/ T. Michael Testi

    Brad,
    Yes it does!

  • http://photographytodaynet.blogspot.com/ T. Michael Testi

    Ms. Nichols,
    Thank you. I feel that I must be fair because on one hand you have people who put their heart and soul in to their product and they need to have an honest assesment made of their product.

    I have had people chew me out because I didn’t “understand” their product. But, when I pointed out that I am also one who would be likly to purchase their product, or in my case as a reviewer, potentially trying to get others to purchase their product, I have be able to let people know the good, the bad and the ugly.

    I think that Chris will do well. He was just put in to a situation of sudden fame. That will level off and we will see the natural Daughtry emerge.

  • jjv

    Not an American Idols fan at all. Never watch the show because I think it is just a set up. That said, I was just surfing through a bunch of new releases and listened to a new band called Daughtry. Thought it was good, kept surfing, came back, listened to it again, thought is was REAL GOOD, surfed a little about the band and THEN found out he was a former American Idol. CONGRATULATIONS to the show for getting him a well desrved jump start. The music business is tough and ruthless and its nice to know a voice came through to help form this band. I’m buying the albumn first thing tomorrow. SIGNED a totally unbiased musician.

  • Jude

    Haven’t heard Chris’s CD yet but I was a fan of Bo and an even bigger fan…and still am…of Constantine Maroulis. I love Constantine’s versatility and the fact that he moves seamlessly between his role as the rockin’ bass player-comedic sidekick on Broadway in The Wedding Singer, and his after-hours rocker self in late night shows where he is showcasing his new music for his debut CD.

    Your comments about Chris’s CD being rushed are a great example of the reason it’s not so great to be signed by the AI machine; Constantine has discovered that it is better to control your own career and join the Tim McGraws of the world in having a hand in the production process.

    Good luck to Chris, Bo and Constantine…and to to all future rockers that AI may showcase. showcased!

  • http://photographytodaynet.blogspot.com/ T. Michael Testi

    jjv,
    I think that because of the rule change, you now are attracting more seasoned musicians who have a better shot at making it long term because they have 5-10 years of working at it then some 18-19 year old who has done some high school singing.

    Thanks for your comments

  • http://photographytodaynet.blogspot.com/ T. Michael Testi

    Hey Jude (had to say that)
    I would agree with you on one level, but on another, it is a whole lot better to have a contract, name recognition and a company behind you if you can only get 75% of what you want. Even John “Cougar” Mellencamp had to put up with crap for a while. Now 20+ years later he is an American Icon… not Idol.

  • Lane

    I never watch American Idol. I’m a rocker and the show is an overproduced pop crap paradise coupled with contestants exploiting a gimmick or a sob story. It’s fun to watch once or twice, but after that pass me the remote. This time I couldn’t. Here was this true rocker, standing there with just a microphone in hand, looking you straight in the eye, glaring, daring you to take him or leave him, singing every week a blasting rock song at the top of his lungs. He didn’t dance. He didn’t smile. He didn’t play a cutesy game. But he HAD A VOICE and charisma in spades. The man had a range that could go up and down effortlessly, but I knew he wouldn’t last because he wasn’t willing to compromise his integrity. He was an anomaly in a show that wasn’t based on talent, but by gimmick. On top of that after he left the show, he had the balls to turn down a solid offer made by Fuel. Now with this first CD I understand why. I like this CD, especially because on vocals it’s spot on. It’s raw, rough and passionate and that’s what I like in a rocker. But though I agree with the songs you chose as highlights or hits in this CD, my favorite by far is Crashed. It’s plain ‘ol headbanging fun. We have a rocker in the House. About time.

  • BARBIE

    FROM THE BEGINNING OF 5TH SEASON OF AMERICAN IDOL ME AND MY MAN HAD CHRIS AND TAYLOR PICKED OUT TO BE THE LAST 2 STANDING AT THE END OF THE SEASON AND IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN THAT WAY, BUT I AM SO GLAD THAT CHRIS GO TO PURSUE HIS DREAM AND BEAT OUT THE ODDS. I LOVE CHRIS’S VOICE AND THE PERSON THAT I SEEN ON AMERICAN IDOL. HIS WIFE SHOWED US WHAT KIND OF PERSON HE IS AND THAT IS WHY HE WILL GO FAR IN HIS CAREER AND THAT HIS DREAM IS COMING TRUE. I HAVEN’T HAD THE PLEASURE OF GETTING TO LISTEN TO THE CD YET BUT HAT IS ON MY TO DO LIST. I LOVE TO SUPPORT PEOPLE THAT ARE GOOD, AND CHRIS DESERVES IT. YOU GO CHRIS!!!!!!!!

  • http://blog.myspace.com/tinkie101 tink

    Nice job. I’m looking forward to checking out this cd myself!!

  • http://photographytodaynet.blogspot.com/ T. Michael Testi

    Lane,
    I am with you. He dominated in my mind. I think that there was some snafu that caused him to loose. But as I thought with Bo, he would do better to loose than to win. This way he gets the exposure without all the contract stuff of winning. I am sure that he would not have this good of an album had he won!

  • http://photographytodaynet.blogspot.com/ T. Michael Testi

    Barbie,
    I was of the same mind that it should have been Taylor and Chris. I still think that Taylor should have won. I think that it would have hindered Chris too much to have to conform to all the requirements of a winner of AI.

    I think that he is just fine where he came in.

  • http://photographytodaynet.blogspot.com/ T. Michael Testi

    Thank you Tink,
    I really do appreciate that.

  • Suzanne

    Just wanted to say that it’s nice to see an honest review instead of a biased one that claims this is the best cd ever made. Being a die-hard Bo fan, I was very supportive of & voted many times for Chris on AI, and was just as shocked as the rest that he went home when he did. However, I think maybe coming in 4th may have been even better for him because while I am not crazy about the CD, I think he got a better deal than Bo. At least he was given the ability to maintain more of a ‘rock’ sound, while Bo was pushed to make more ‘pop’ music which just simply isn’t his style. Anyhow, my personal opinion on Chris’ CD sort of became if you’ve heard one song you’ve heard them all, although one or two did seem more likely to be hits. While I don’t quite think I’d give it that high of a grade, it still shows his potential. Thanks for giving a realistic review! :)

  • http://www.photographytodaynet.blogspot.com T. Michael Testi

    Suzanne,
    Thank you! My goal is to try and be honest to both the artist as well as to the reader. If he had come along the more traditional method (i.e. form a band, refine the material on the road create the CD…) I would probably be a little harsher, but in my opinion, the really good songs, tell me he has a future in this business. Therefore, I am ok with the album overall.

  • http://www.butterflyfiction.com/journal/ Connie Phillips

    Congrats! This article has been forwarded to the Advance.net websites.

  • Melissa

    Gotta Love Chris!!

  • http://www.noface4film.com/ Kaonashi

    I bought the CD a few days ago. It kicks ass!