Release Date: Nov 21, 2011
Record label: RCA
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Pop Idol, Post-Grunge
There’s a serious hard-rock record lurking deep in Chris Daughtry’s clean-shaven skull; it’s clear in the jubilant Judas Priest crunch of ”Renegade” and hedonistic strut of ”Outta My Head.” What holds the ex-Idoler back is his weakness for oversmoothness, which turns shout-at-the-sunset anthems like ”Rescue Me” into pillowy group hugs. Still, he wields his Ginsu-sharp melodies like a Benihana chef on Break the Spell, which (almost) lets him get away with being more Bon Jovi than Black Sabbath. B Download These:Lighter-waver Rescue MeTriumphant Losing My Mind .
On the verge of succumbing completely to workingman's boredom on their 2009’s sophomore set Leave This Town, DAUGHTRY snap back to life with 2011’s Break the Spell. Working once again with producer Howard Benson, a collaborator since the early days when it wasn’t clear whether Chris Daughtry’s charms would translate outside of American Idol, DAUGHTRY add color back into their desaturated post-grunge, embracing their lineage as radio-ready rockers. Often, Break the Spell harks back to the glory days of the late ‘80s, when rockers played golden gods all for the sake of video cameras, secure in the knowledge that heavy rotation on MTV and AOR radio would shift millions of CDs.
The one thing you can never say about rock music is that it is never a genre in which singers or groups are gimmicks. They are true to their craft, and in order to be successful in this particular craft you have to be smart in terms of music IQ and really care about your music. If you look at the great artists, many of them have come from the many sub genres rock has produced over the past 60 years.
Daughtry’s third album, Break the Spell, reaffirms that the band is defined by competence rather than ambition or creativity, by rote expressions of overwrought emotions rather than insight or depth. As principal songwriter and lyricist for the band, Chris Daughtry deserves the blame for the album’s utter lack of substance; he’s proven himself incapable of writing a coherent, compelling narrative or of turning a phrase that isn’t based on an obvious, threadbare cliché. Break the Spell opens with “Renegade,” an uptempo number straight out of Bon Jovi’s ‘80s-era playbook, on which Daughtry wails about wanting to “Break out of this town like a renegade/Can’t wait another minute/I’m right here ready to run,” without having the wherewithal to give any kind of actual backstory to make that desire more than an empty gesture.
DaughtryBreak The Spell(RCA)Rating: Daughtry seems to be in the midst of a musical identity crisis. Recently, Chris Daughtry proclaimed his band’s latest would sound completely different from its predecessors, but by the album’s second track, you will realize Break The Spell doesn’t live up to that promise. Instead, what you get here is more of the same: radio friendly pop ballads mixed with arena style rockers.