Daughtry - 2009 Leave This Town

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ARTIST: Daughtry
ALBUM: Leave This Town
LABEL: RCA
SERIAL: 88697-53744-2
YEAR: 2009

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: image

LINEUP: Chris Daughtry - lead vocals * Josh Steely - guitar * Brian Craddock - guitar * Josh Paul - bass * Joey Barnes - drums, keyboards

TRACK LISTING: 01 You Don't Belong * 02 No Surprise * 03 Every Time You Turn Around * 04 Life After You * 05 What I Meant To Say * 06 Open Up Your Eyes * 07 September * 08 Ghost Of Me * 09 Learn My Lesson * 10 Supernatural * 11 Tennessee Line * 12 Call Your Name * 13 Get Me Through (bonus) * 14 What Have We Become (bonus) * 15 On The Inside (bonus) * 16 Long Way (bonus) * 17 One Last Chance (bonus) * 18 Traffic Light (bonus) * 19 Back Again (bonus)

RATING: image

Background

The debut album Daughtry went 4x Platinum, propelling Daughtry to the upper echelon of U.S. rock bands. It spawned seven songs that did very well on various charts for over two years.

While the album was a huge success, the band had its critics, proving again that music snobbery is still alive and well.

Some were put off that Chris Daughtry earned success via American Idol rather than the old-fashioned way. And he didn't even win his season!

Many were saying 'Great, just what we need - another Nickelback / Creed / Staind'. I can't really disagree that the debut was not reinventing the proverbial wheel.

But, like millions of others, it worked for me. I didn't mind at all that this was basically 'corporate rock', because I really like 'corporate rock'. And obviously there is a market for it.

I never got into the bands that Daughtry were compared to, but the combination of Chris Daughtry's strong voice and strong modern melody hit a sweet spot for me and many others. So how to follow a mega-selling debut? Let's see.

The Songs

This is another twelve-song album with several bonus tracks. Chris Daughtry was again heavily involved in writing each song.

The lyrics of many of the songs demonstrate growth as a songwriter over the more generic lyrics of the debut (again, I had no problem with those generic lyrics), and he did try to 'go deeper' on this album.

'You Don't Belong' is a hard modern rocker in the same vein of the debut - lots of guitars, mid-tempo, a pretty typical song for the genre.

Lead single 'No Surprise' was released two months prior to the album release, and it became another huge hit. It was co-written by Chad Kroeger of Nickelback, which no doubt gave Nickelback haters a chance to transfer their hate to Daughtry.

'Every Time You Turn Around' lightens up a bit. Second single 'Life After You' is another co-write with Kroeger. This is a different-sounding song, in 3/4 time. It also became a big hit.

'What I Meant To Say' is a fun tune that all us guys who have been in relationships can relate to.

'Open Up Your Eyes' is a melodramatic song about death and life after death.

'September' is the third and final single, and it is the most autobiographical song on here. The lyrics speak of the need to move on from a small hometown, leading to the album title.

'Ghost Of Me' is my favourite song on here, and I fully expected this to be released as a single. I believe anyone who reads this would enjoy this song - uptempo, good lyrics, very close to the AOR that we all love. I think this could have been another big hit - guess we'll never know.

Another song that could have been a hit single is 'Learn My Lesson', a modern power ballad. I believe the album takes a slight sip in quality for the next three songs.

'Supernatural' is an OK song. 'Tennessee Line' features country legend and Pure Prairie League alum Vince Gill harmonizing with Chris. It is a more acoustic number.

The album ends with 'Call Your Name', which tries to replicate the sound of 'What About Now' from the debut. You get 2:35 of pretty mellow followed by pretty hard. Not bad, but a little uneven. Several additional songs were recorded during the sessions for this album, and I consider most of them strong enough to displace songs that actually made it to the album. But they didn't ask me.

'Get Me Through' and 'What Have We Become' are good mid-tempo hard rockers.

'On The Inside' is a co-write with Richard Marx, and it appears on Marx's 2012 album. I think this one could have been yet another hit single - how they left it off the album boggles my mind. Great lyrics that should resonate with anyone who has ever thought they could run away from their problems.

The other ones are also worth getting. I detect a 'leave this town' theme amongst several of the bonus tracks.

In Summary

This album didn't leave quite the mark as the debut, but it has sold well over one million copies. I think the novelty had worn off since the debut, and Daughtry is no Lady GaGa or Miley Cyrus when it comes to drawing attention to themselves.

I really expected to hear more than three singles from this one, and I wonder why they stopped after 'September'. That song didn't move up the charts quite as well as the previous hits, but I believe that is because it is a more serious-sounding song. 'Ghost Of Me' and 'Learn My Lesson' might have kept the momentum going better.

Overall, though, this proved to be a successful follow-up to the debut, and I don't detect anything more than a very slight sophomore slump here.


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