x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Daughtry: Leave This Town

Former American Idol contestant Chris Daughtry scores a hit with his second album with his band Daughtry.

Singer Chris Daughtry.
Singer Chris Daughtry.

Like Jordin Sparks, Chris Daughtry is a former American Idol contestant releasing his second album. Unlike Sparks however, Daughtry fronts a rock group - a fact which, given the reality TV show format's bias towards pop, puts him at a relative disadvantage. Still, given the record label artillery that always lies behind the records on reality TV acts, it's not surprising that his first record became the fasting selling rock debut of 2006. Throw anyone several million dollars of marketing and a makeover and they too could be a star. What is surprising is that Daughtry (the singer modestly named his five-man band after him) has managed to spit out a follow-up record that isn't only half bad, but one that ended Michael Jackson's posthumous chart triumph by knocking his collected hits off the number one position in the USA. Sterling work, particularly given that Daughty only finished fourth in Idol. Called Leave This Town, the album is a 12-track rock ensemble put together with help from rockers such as Chad Kroeger from Nickelback and Jason Wade from Lifehouse. That gives you some indication of what you face here: plenty of catchy soft rock ballads, with the gravelly voice of Daughtry singing about love, albeit a mature kind of love. Like every other member of the band except one, Daughtry is married. So if you're looking for teary teenage yearning, try elsewhere - perhaps the Jonas Brothers. Leave This Town is a more grown-up affair. "I'm thinkin' that all that still matters is love ever after / After the life we've been through / 'Cause I know there's no life after you," he swears in Life After You, one of the album's musical high points. True, the tracks blend seamlessly into one another and you might struggle to recall a specific track to hum along to afterwards. But it's a pleasant enough listen, and that's more than you can say for the sloppy outpourings from most reality stars.

* Sophia Money-Coutts