Did anybody watch American Idol last year? Was anybody as equally pissed off as I was that Taylor Hicks won? It was a huge joke. Especially when there was someone as talented as Chris Daughtry in the running, and he didn't even make it to the final three. Chris was sent home 4th-last (ironically, that was Elvis week), and I'll never forget the look on his face when Ryan Seacrest announced he was the next to go. He was shocked. And when Seacrest stuck the mic in his face and asked him if he was surprised, the normally calm, cool, and composed Chris simply blurted out in frustration: "Yes!"
Perhaps it was a blessing in disguise. I mean, how can anyone associated with a show that produced the likes of Clay Aitken be taken seriously in the music industry? Sure, American Idol has launched successful careers for Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood. And yes, it is one of the most-watched TV shows in the U.S.. But for a rocker like Chris Daughtry, I don't think he was ever cut out for American Idol. While he was a favourite of the judges, he did have to put up with some criticism from Simon Cowell for not changing things up enough and for being "indulgent" in his heavy-rock choices.
Hey. The dude is a rocker. Why should he have to change for a silly TV show, right?
Good news: Chris didn't change. In fact, he went out and started himself a band, dropped "Chris" completely, and he and his band are now just called Daughtry. And they rock!!
A quick Wikipedia search on Daughtry revealed that Chris' self-titled debut album has currently out-sold his other fellow Idol competitors with record deals (Hicks and Kelly Pickler), and I can understand why. His rich, textured voice breathes life into every song on the album, and when he sings from his gut, it makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end. (And as you may recall, that is often the indicator for me that something is really good.) His first single from the album, "It's Not Over", is reminiscent of Fuel's "Hemorrhage (In My Hands)", which he sang in an early round of Idol, and it's easy to see why Fuel offered Chris the job of lead singer of their band. (He turned the offer down while still competing on Idol). With "It's Not Over", he's in his comfort zone; that's where his voice excels.
Other highlights for me are "Used To" and "Over You", both radio-friendly rock songs that I haven't been able to get out of my head since I bought the CD last week. The chorus of "Used To" is one of my all-time favourite lyrics: We used to have this figured out/ We used to breathe without a doubt/ When nights were clear you were the first star that I'd see/ We used to have this under control/ We never thought...We used to KNOW/ At least there's you and at least there's me/ Can we get this back...Can we get this back/ To how it used to be. Both "Used To" and "Over You" became instant favourites of mine.
And what would Chris' debut album be without a special guest star? On track #7, "What I Want", we have the legendary Slash featured on lead guitar. But you know what? Slash's guest appearance isn't what got me pumped about this CD. It's the ballads, like "Home" and "What About Now". It's the slow energy build-up in "Feels Like Tonight". It's the heart-wrenching story behind "All These Lives". It's Chris' voice - so deep and growly one minute, so pure and soaring the next.
And it's about everything Chris Daughtry stands for: Rock & roll, not compromising, not backing down, not giving up.
If you saw Chris on Idol, you know what I'm talking about. If you've never heard of him before, you better pick up the album. I guarantee, you won't regret it.
Instant Hit: "It's Not Over"
Skip-able Tracks: "Gone", "There and Back Again"
Jill's Picks: "Used To", "Over You", "Feels Like Tonight", "All These Lives"
Pick it up if you like: Fuel, Lifehouse, Default, Nickelback, 3 Doors Down
Rating: 4.5/5 (Yup, that's my highest rating yet!!)