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Friday, February 22nd
The Critics Corner: Albums
Blake Lewis
Daughtry: "Daughtry"

'Idol' castoff shines
Daughtry Name: "Daughtry"- Daughtry
Label: RCA
Release date: November 21, 2006
Rating: 4.2 out of 5

Review written by: Alan Ho
The dominance of Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood might someday have a castoff named Chris Daughtry and his band Daughtry joining them. Five years from now, if Daughtry is still strong and kicking, Chris probably should thank the fans of the Soul Patrol (Taylor Hicks) and the fans of McPheever (Katharine McPhee) for helping cast him out and free him to do what he does best, answer to no one.

In case you were living under a rock, here's a little recap of Chris' journey: It all starts with having fronted a successful indie rock band from North Carolina and then just wanting a bit more and thought he should give a show called 'American Idol' a try. After wowing in auditions, he goes to Hollywood and wows Simon Cowell and Co. until the Soul Patrol and McPheever help give him the apparently shocking heave-ho. Sure he's socked but after you listen to this album, you'll believe that it might have been the best thing to ever happen to him. He then gets calls from bands like Fuel to front and refuses believing he can better his career by marching to his own tune and finding his own band, which he calls Daughtry in homage to one of his favorite bands, Bon Jovi. And there you have it, a debut album.

Daughtry comes out swinging to his harshest critics in the first track, 'It's Not Over,' which doesnt leave much imagination to what Chris Daughtry is saying and music critics should be happy that ain't gonna be over. Songs like 'Over You', 'Used', and 'Home' are good cross-country songs and avoid having to doze off if you find the drive to Indianapolis to Chicago on I-65 is way too boring. 'Feels Like Tonight' might be the weakest song of the bunch evenj though he does the pop-rock flair quite flawlessly but to this reviewer it sounded a little hokey and forced. The song just does not fit his style at all. It would be like Live or Fuel deciding to appeal to tween-pop all of a sudden. It just doesn't work no matter how flawless and unflinching it may be.

The next two tracks are most definitely the strongest in the 12-track set where both appeal to his "hard stuff" voice and growl that he is well known for on 'Idol.' "Breakdown" is the first of the two and not only is it the second strongest track, it's also the most heartfelt and poignant as he spins a rather dark tale of mental breakdown and health. Then comes next the strongest track easily and it's not because of Slash is doing the electric guitar riffs he does masterfully. "What I Want" conjures up the old Guns n' Roses 80's style fist-pumping slasher and Chris is very comfortable in that element and it allows him to fully express himself for the kind of musician he is.

The album then starts to slow down for 'All These Lives' and 'What About Now,' which does highlight the variety of moods and attitudes that Daughtry seems to masterfully put into an organized motif, something very few bands in rock and alternative do these days. He is all contemplative, forceful, a bit dark, and humble at the same time, another attribute very few acts today can even grasp. Most acts hone in on one or two and most of the time comes out uninspired.

Final word: "Daughtry" is probably a must-have if you need an act that can put multiple layers in their songs and make a very nice musical motif out of it. There are too many acts that are out there that struggle to do it and even if they can, it comes out rather uninspired, leaving such things to people like John Mayer, John Legend, Kanye West, Common and Teddy Geiger. The younger fans will buy it just to soak up all things 'Idol' and that most likely doesn't do him any justice at all. The only thing about the album is that most of the songs were done with a studio band rather than the band he has already assembled and named, so final judgment on the band itself won't happen until they come out with another album. But on Chris himself, he knows exactly what he is looking for and wants and that is quite refreshing and rare in today's music business. He has a masterful touch on all of the songs on the album (despite the one weak song) and he puts as both honest, multi-layered, but also accessible to any audience. Definitely the makings of a rare rock talent that can lay himself out that broadly without losing the appeal and music.

Name: "Daughtry"- Daughtry
Label: RCA
Release date: November 21, 2006
Rating: 4.2 out of 5

Alan Ho Alan Ho is the chief head of Musiqtone. You can reach him at alanho@musiqtone.com
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