For a guy who owes his success to an over-the-top TV talent contest that’s spawned the goofy likes of William Hung, Bikini Girl and Sanjaya, Chris Daughtry sure is dour. That’s him glowering on the cover of Leave This Town, the second album by his eponymous band, along with the four other interchangeable dudes who support the illusion that this is anything other than a solo project by the former American Idol finalist. That’s him singing intently and very, very seriously on Town’s 12 equally interchangeable tracks, all of which are either midtempo rockers or midtempo power ballads (plus one country-influenced tune, apparently a major-label requirement for all pop music by white people these days).
- Leave This Town
- Beyond the Weekly
Daughtry isn’t a bad singer (and he’s got a mean glower), but his music is completely personality-free, merely recycling the already edgeless formula of current mainstream hard rock. Even Nickelback (whose Chad Kroeger co-wrote two songs on Town) has more bite, occasionally crafting crass odes to sex that at least offer up a point of view. Daughtry sings about nothing except love found and love lost; there are power ballads aplenty (“Life After You,” “Open Up Your Eyes,” “September,” “Call Your Name”) and lyrical clichés all over the place. “All that I’m after/Is a life full of laughter,” Daughtry sings on the treacly “Life After You,” but Leave This Town makes it seem like he’s never so much as cracked a smile.