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Daughtry, ‘Break the Spell’ – Album Review

RCA

Back in 2006, Chris Daughtry lost American Idol, and as a consolation prize, won the jackpot, musically speaking. With his freedom intact and his name out there courtesy of the smash hit TV show, Daughtry released his debut self-titled album in 2006 to massive success. Now, five years later, the rocker and his band Daughtry return with their third studio album titled ‘Break the Spell.’

‘Break the Spell’ doesn’t stray too far from the formula that’s worked in the past for Daughtry, walking that fuzzy line between pop rock and hard rock and remaining commercially viable in both markets. ‘Break the Spell’ follows in the path of their two previous releases offering up a collection of radio ready, polished, melodic rockers that will largely appeal to their emphatic fan base.

The disc starts off on a high note with the rock single ‘Renegade,’ a gritty, up-tempo rocker that gets the blood rushing, but strangely enough, it ends up being the heaviest song on the album which may leave those looking for edgier, harder rocking songs from Daughtry a little hungry for more this time around. There is some redemption in the arena rocker ‘We’re Not Gonna Fall’ and the top down, wind in your hair, summer anthem ‘Louder Than Ever.’ Neither has as much punch as ‘Renegade,’ but both tunes will feed your appetite for something a little louder.

That’s not to say that the rest of the album doesn’t have a lot to offer, it does, just in different ways. Chris in particular has challenged himself vocally throughout giving a lot more texture to the songs and with the rest of the band getting a little more involved, ‘Break the Spell’ is a well-rounded collection of tunes with a little something for everybody.

The pop single, ‘Crawling Back to You,’ is an apologetic anthem written with songwriting heavyweight Marti Frederiksen. The song picks up right where Daughtry excel, delivering catchy choruses set to soaring melodies.

One of Daughtry’s strongest assets is their ability to deliver emotionally charged songs that truly resonate. There’s no questioning what feelings are being relayed from song to song, and ‘Break the Spell’ is notably more positive than their prior releases. Lyrically the songs cover an array of afflictions of the heart from falling in love, staying in love, and of course, that bitter sting of lost love.

One song that does stray from that lyrical theme is ‘Gone Too Soon.’ The song, seemingly about the loss of an unborn child, is unchartered territory for Daughtry and definitely shows the bands growth as songwriters throughout their tenure.

One notable thing about ‘Break the Spell’ is that I found that a few of my favorite tracks were only available on the deluxe version, so I’d recommend going that route so you’re not deprived of two solid rockers in ‘Who’s They’ and ‘Maybe We’re Already Gone’ as well as a modern day lullaby presumably penned for Daughtry’s own children with ‘Lullaby.’

There are those naysayers who will point out that Daughtry haven’t reinvented the wheel with ‘Break the Spell,’ and while that’s true, it seems hard to fault a band for doing something well. Like they say, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

That said, Daughtry do take some chances on this album and it does see the band working as a far more cohesive unit with everyone in the band getting involved in the songwriting process. Daughtry have definitely laid out the blueprint for crafting addictive modern day melodic rock and have another hit on their hands with ‘Break the Spell.’

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