Chris Daughtry has certainly come a long way quick from his days on 'American Idol', getting voted off in shocking fashion and after becoming the fastest top-selling album in rock music history with his eponymous band's album debut, that is certainly not the worst thing that could happen to him. With the first effort out of the way, the question was how would he and his bandmates top themselves?
Well, they didn't top themselves with their sophomore effort, 'Leave This Town' which is due out in stores on July 14 but that is by no means a bad thing. Modern alternative rock has always long been a very stable genre in a time when attention spans of music fans are as short as they ever have been. Bands like Bon Jovi, Metallica, 3 Doors Down and now Daughtry prove that all you need is a few tweaks here and there, but the general impetus is that "If it ain't broken, don't go fixing it." The tweaks Daughtry have added to their modern post-grunge alt-rock (say that fast 3 times...) include a little country-fried rock as frontman Chris Daughtry gets to duet with country legend and star Vince Gill and an overall tweak to the sound which gets them closer to the band that they seem to want to emulate more: Bon Jovi, circa mid to late 90s. That means a great helping of heavy arena rock and a whole lot less studio slickness. After a few listens to 'Leave This Town,' one will get the impression that side by side, 'Daughtry' is more radio-friendly of the two albums.
Outside of the very heavy 'You Don't Belong', much of the remaining 11 songs are awash more into the arena alternative rock genre and power balladry and are executed with great precision and efficiency. The radio-friendly 'No Surprise' is definitely the track to listen to and definitely the song that defines the album in a nutshell. And to come back to the first track, many critics view 'You Don't Belong' as not unexpected and yes the first verse is not unexpected but the rest of the song is rather unexpected to this reviewer. The song transitions into a quasi-nu metal screamfest without the rapping. As said before the rest of the album past 'No Surprise' are exactly what they are: 'September' is a semi-acoustic power ballad that will tug at your heartstrings with its personal lyrics, 'Supernatural' is your classic drum propelled track backed by snarling electric guitars all wrapped up in a very propulsive, fists-in-the-air power ballad, which absolutely fits Chris Daughtry's natural rock growling. Don't be shocked that the CW Network's 'Supernatural' ever uses that song somewhere in their upcoming fourth season.
All in all, 'Leave This Town' serves as a small tweak to the sound already crafted on 'Daughtry' so if you are searching for something that show complete evolving of their sound, something off-script, something crazy and totally unexpected, this album is definitely not it. And as said before, that is definitely not a bad thing in the modern rock genre. That genre is very reliant on its acts' ability to stay the course with a tweak here and there and Daughtry is a fine example of that. For the most part, the album is admittedly a lot raw, due to the fact that the comparative slickness from 'Daughtry' is basically gone with the exception of 'No Surprise,' where you hear glimpses of Nickelback's ultra-slick handiwork and to no surprise (no pun intended), the Canadian alt-rockers' frontman Chad Kroeger is a co-write and co-producing credit on the song. Despite that glaring fact, 'Leave This Town' is a thoroughly great listening experience for those who love their rock music.