For the uninitiated, Daughtry is the rock band fronted by Chris Daughtry, finalist from American Idol Season 5 (2005). Behind only Carrie Underwood and Kelly Clarkson, Daughtry is the third-biggest selling American Idol alumnus around the world – and for those of us who have heard the previous albums (and, in my case been lucky enough to see them supporting Nickelback in 2012) this is absolutely no surprise. In my mind, this is the kind of artist that Britain’s Got a New Pop Factor, Get Me Out of Here can only dream of – quality performances, great songs and that element of polished rock that should fill the Top 40 (like it used to!)
Baptized is the fourth full-length studio album and takes the band in a new musical direction. Motivated by intensely creative writing sessions with the likes of Martin Johnson [Boys Like Girls], Sam Hollander [Gym Class Heroes, Coheed and Cambria] and Claude Kelly [Bruno Mars, Whitney Houston], the singer, songwriter and musician quickly discovered the direction of his latest body of work. “I needed a change,” admits Chris. “I started hearing these new sounds over my voice, and it was so inspiring. There wasn’t just one style either. It was a completely different vibe all around. I really wanted to pursue that to the fullest. This is probably one of the most inspiring records I’ve ever done.”
If one word reviews were my bag, this would read “Uplifting”. Distinctly “poppy” but with a very “grown up” edge, my first listen signalled to these ears that whatever the PR blurb, this fourth album sees Daughtry (the man and the band) producing songs that get straight into that part of my brain that makes for all the things that made me fall in love with music and stay besotted – plus, of course, I still love the fact that Daughtry’s original version of “What About Now” (from their first album) outsold the cash in version released by Westlife … does that make me evil?
Even the more balladic or even angsty songs still burn with passion and power – oozing positivity with every note. At times, tracks have a slight “country” air to them – every time succeeding where, in my opinion, Bon Jovi failed with their “Lost Highway” release (or did it escape?). “Baptized” is the album that Mr JBJ wishes he could release – blending classic rock with some of today’s current Top 40 trends – “Long Live Rock and Roll” has that fast bit, slow bit with a little banjo bit (so beloved of, amongst others Mumford and Sons) but blends it with some classy, humourous lines that will appeal to all of us who grew up in the great days of 80s rock. You might think it shouldn’t work, but listen to it – it’s jumped up alongside Reckless Love’s “I Love Heavy Metal” as a song to live your life by.
Baptized certainly signals a rebirth for Chris and the band. “I want fans to keep an open mind about it,” he concludes. “The songs are very much what I do lyrically and melodically. I’ve always been a sucker for a great melody. That’s what song-writing is all about. Can people relate to this? Is it real? Is it honest? That’s what everyone should take away. It’s real and authentic. This is where I am right now.” Chris is ready to proclaim that statement in front of packed venues around the world alongside longtime bandmates Josh Paul [bass], Brian Craddock [guitar], Josh Steely [guitar], Robin Diaz [drums] and new addition Elvio Fernandes [keyboards]. Outside of music, he continues to give back to various charities. He even holds an ambassadorship with DC Comics We Can Be Heroes campaign, fighting hunger in underdeveloped countries.
Baptized is available on Sony Music.
Daughtry will be coming to the following UK venues in March:
22nd March – O2 ABC, Glasgow (SOLD OUT)
23rd March – Manchester Academy
24th March – Birmingham O2 Academy
26th March – O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire, London
28th March – The Limelight, Belfast
30th March – Academy, Dublin, Ireland
31st March – O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire, London