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If you liked Chris on American Idol or you like good old-fashioned American rock, you'll find a lot to like on Daughtry.

Music Review: Daughtry

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.

About T. Michael Testi

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

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