CD Review of Daughtry by Daughtry

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starstarstarhalf starno star Label: RCA
Released: 2006
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Try as you may, you just can’t take the “American Idol” tag off of rocker Chris Daughtry. Everyone is going to remember him as the dude who should have won Season Five, but gray beat bald, and Taylor Hicks claimed the crown. But now the real competition begins, since both Daughtry and Hicks released their debuts around the same time. Who will sell more albums remains to be seen, but there’s no argument that these guys are as different as the amount of hair on their heads.

After turning down an offer to become the next lead singer of the rock band Fuel, Daughtry instead signed his own record deal and has delivered a solid debut. There hasn’t been a band bearing the last name of its front man with this much fanfare since Bon Jovi, and luckily for Daughtry this collection of songs lives up to the hype. So, too, does the dude’s monster voice.

Sure, there is the tired flavor of nu-metal (is that even a genre anymore?) running through, but more often than not Daughtry displays the pop sensibility of bands like Lifehouse or even, dare we say it, Bon Jovi. It’s safe to say that even Daughtry’s hooks have hooks, especially on wall-of-guitar-driven tracks like “It’s Not Over” and “Over You.” Those of you who watched “American Idol” (okay, I know there’s more of you than those admitting it) know that Daughtry worshipped the band Live, and on “Crashed” and “Gone” it’s obvious he’s copping their sound just a bit. On power ballads “What About Now” and “Home,” Daughtry appears to be a threat to cross over onto the pop charts and show Kelly Clarkson and Hicks a thing or two. Top it off with “There and Back Again,” which most closely resembles Fuel or even Alice In Chains, and you’ve got a damn good rock album.

Chris Daughtry is either going to fade into oblivion like a lot of his genre peers, or he’s going to ride the “American Idol” thing long enough for everyone to call him by his last name only. With so few good rock singers out there, the latter is a good bet, especially when the music is as good as it is on this record. Just don’t expect all the kids to start shaving their heads.

~Mike Farley