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Daughtry a solid album from popular “Idol” rocker

Erin McGinn | Wednesday, January 24, 2007

From his very first audition, Chris Daughtry made his presence felt during season five of “American Idol.” While Bo Bice and Constantine Maroulis cracked open the door of the rock genre during season four, Daughtry blasted it open. His pulse-pounding performance of Fuel’s hit “Hemorrhage” was praised by all three judges and was popular with the audience.

His performance even impressed the members of Fuel, who asked him to be their lead singer after his departure from the show. His unforgettable renditions of Johnny Cash’s “Walk the Line” and Bon Jovi’s “Wanted Dead or Alive” cemented his fan base and earned him a spot among the “American Idol” greats. He finished the season as the fourth-place finalist.

After the show ended, Daughtry declined the offer to join Fuel and instead chose to follow his own solo career. He formed his own band and recorded “Daughtry,” a debut album that debuted at number two on the Billboard charts. His first single off of the album, “It’s Not Over,” is currently rated at 21 on the Billboard charts and is gaining in airtime popularity. The song, co-written by Daughtry and fellow “Idol” contestant Ace Young, exemplifies his style of solidly blending together rock and pop qualities (much in the vein of artists such as Nickelback).

Most of his album is a mesh of pop and rock, although individual songs vary on where they fall on the pop to rock scale. Songs like “Used To” and “Home” easily fall under the pop category, whereas “What I Want” and “Gone” are nothing but rock.

His version of rock, however, is much more blended and stylized than some of his hard-rocking predecessors, and it is fairly easy to assume that Daughtry will find much more success in the pop circuits than in the rock.

Although he tends to be grouped and compared to acts like Nickelback or Fuel, Daughtry still manages to impress upon his listeners his own unique sound – and it’s obvious from the energy and enthusiasm of his album that he is doing what he loves to do.

Daughtry’s talent becomes apparent in the fact that there really isn’t a bad track on the album. He wrote or co-wrote every song on the album with the exceptions of “Feels Like Tonight” and “What About Now,” the latter written by Ben Moody from Evanescence.

Daughtry’s vocals are great on all of the songs, and he sounds even better than he did when he was on “Idol.” The rest of the band is also excellent, with the guitarists specifically standing out. The song “What I Want” even features a special guest appearance by Guns ‘N Roses guitar legend, Slash.

The people behind “American Idol” never miss a beat, and this album is no exception. Every store carries the same “Daughtry” album except for one – Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart features a special “bonus” edition of the album, which contains two extra tracks: acoustic versions of “Home” and “Crashed.”

“Daughtry” is a solid hit through and through – it has already gone platinum – and its success only guarantees a promising future for its artist. Chris Daughtry has managed to do what some former Idol contestants struggle with – he transcended the “Idol” fan base and created an album that even non-Idol fans can’t help but enjoy.