Seven years after he placed on American Idol, Chris Daughtry and his band are opening up their would-be grunge to more nuance: folk instruments and synths, smoother high notes tempering Daughtry's bellow, "boom-b'boom" vocal-bass hook lightening the gender war in "Battleships." The sound on Baptized somehow links U2 to Rascal Flatts, adding Springsteen stances in "Wild Heart." More unexpectedly, there's also a banjo shuffle where Daughtry chooses Van Halen over Van Hagar, catalogs some of his other heroes and wonders who wrote Hole's songs. "Long Live Rock & Roll," it's called – a defense, perhaps, against anybody claiming guys like him helped kill it.
From The Archives Issue 1197: December 5, 2013
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