Daughtry Stays In His Cozy Hard-Rock Home

Jul 13th, 2009 // 1 Comment

Our look at the closing lines of the week’s biggest new-music reviews continues with a roundup of reactions to Leave This Town, the second album by Daughtry:

• ”In the pop landscape of the last three years Daughtry’s aesthetic stubbornness has qualified as innovation: it’s one of the few mainstream American rock bands not at all looking to Nashville for a road map or a handout. (When Mr. Daughtry covered Johnny Cash’s ‘I Walk the Line’ on American Idol, he performed the smoky version by the rock band Live.) So it’s a surprise, near the album’s end, to hear ‘Tennessee Line,’ a country song in lyric and, nominally, in style, with Vince Gill recruited to sing tepid harmonies. The sweet-voiced Mr. Gill doesn’t stand a chance against Mr. Daughtry’s gruffness, even in this toned-down incarnation. But still, this is one of the least committed songs on the album: nobody puts Daughtry in the country.” [Unbylined, NYT]

• ”One may search Town in vain for a flash of something raw and off-the-script, a moment that does not feel both scrupulously test-marketed and impeccably (over)produced, but Daughtry’s relentless competence as a mainstream-rock artist likely serves him far better than any radical departure ever could.” [Leah Greenblatt, EW]

• ”For a man who sings ‘all that I’m after is a life full of laughter,’ he sure manages to avoid putting any sense of fun into his records, but that’s just the legacy of grunge: after the early ’90s, rock & roll was considered serious business indeed, and that’s a lesson that Daughtry and DAUGHTRY heed. If they don’t manage to have a lot of fun, their single-minded sobriety does mean that they avoid excesses, never succumbing to soul-baring indulgence or flights of instrumental fancy, which paradoxically turns into their strength: they have nothing on their mind other than making basic, black-and-white modern rock, and they do so efficiently on Leave This Town, a sophomore album that’s every bit as satisfying as the first. ” [Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Allmusic]

• ”This is a solid album—when was the last time any band could say that after recording 12 tracks? The rumour is spreading that Daughtry is planning a stop over in South Africa for a tour. I am hoping for a camp fire in the bush with a few acoustic guitars and a couple of beers. I will have one question. How can you be this great and sound so normal?” [Joe Diedricks, My Digital Life, a review that was cited by the man itself as a "Nice one!!!"]

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