The collective blindness of modern popular culture dictates that one has no finger on the pulse of music lest one has seen every season of American Idol and America’s Got Talent. While my curiosity tends to get the best of me regarding the latter, Idol bears the status of being a most-overrated cliche (and I’m certain the other show will someday follow). As I stated in my review of The Jonas Brothers, “pop music in all of its incarnations is both a blessing and a curse.” Behold the curse.
Unlike classy talent shows of yore such as Star Search, the nation’s unassuming public follows “meme-in-the-making” auditions, packed with Hung-wannabes and other internet fodder, only to later see our champions berated by a smug Englishman and two has-been pop stars…and this is considered funny. While the mindset of America is easily swayed by lesser humor than even Seth Rogen can muster, the same audience of voters hailed one act as significantly different from the others, and his name is Daughtry.
Apparently my Spidey-senses were not tingling at full strength, or else I could have seen this abomination coming. In the midst of bad-boy sensitivity (tapped into by regulars Nickelback, Hinder etc.), Daughtry tried a different avenue by being the “rock crooner” tucked away in a sea of likely cookie-cutter pop candidates. If there were ever a generic means of becoming a success, American Idol is it, and Daughtry is the poster child for “faux bad ass”.
Daughtry comes from my home state of North Carolina, where countless of supporters flocked to purchase his eponymous debut three years ago. The fan base here is huge, but go figure that a state which boasts the likes of Ben Folds would pay quadruple the price of his concerts to go see Daughtry because he represents “the every man”. No, he represents the very thing that is killing good taste, because he is a mockery of rock music. He is what Stewie of Family Guy would call one of many “douchebags who killed the guitar” — though Daughtry is more of a vocalist.
Leave This Town is Daughtry’s sophomore release; it’s the culmination of dwindling American Idol hype and what happens when a country boy who bolsters the “bad ass image” suddenly becomes yesterday’s hit machine, rehashing 80s rock wails with a little modern glaze thrown in. This is opposed to the first album, which could easily have been anyone else’s record — 3 Doors Down, Saving Abel, the list goes on.
I refuse to argue about Daughtry’s vocal talent because he does have some of that down pat, and he’s the perfect spearhead for his genre…southern pop rock. But honestly, can anyone truly take a man seriously when his medium of choice was officially American Idol? Daughtry is purely manufactured, down to the image. Despite his talent, he could have easily made it on his own with a little effort, but he opted for the cheap ticket instead. For someone who claims he fronts the middle class, he sure knows how to play it slick.
This reviewer prides himself on playing things straight, no filler. This is why I cannot endorse Daughtry, because in spite of everything he supposedly stands for, he is the amalgam of every single other artist in his genre and unabashedly so. There is a fine line between influence and outright aping, and this mock neanderthal slid right into his respective class of primate with both albums. Leave This Town tries even harder to be something it is not while simultaneously copying everything in reach, with tracks like “You Don’t Belong” and “Call Your Name” sounding like Hoobastank tracks from the cutting-room floor, or “Tennessee Line” attempting country and possibly being the only near sincere effort present.
Do yourself a favor; buy albums from the other artists mentioned in this article before wasting money or bandwidth on Daughtry’s sophomore release. Then maybe he might “leave this town” for good.
“You Don’t Belong”
Leave This Town
On Tour Now!