Sound — 8
01.You Don't Belong: (9/10) You couldn't have picked a more perfect opening track, driven by an Alice In Chains sounding melody, it brings a hard rock flavor to the album, but still hits you with catchy hooks. While bringing out the post grunge drawl in Daughtry's voice, it falls flawless besides the need for a guitar solo. 02.No Surprise: (6.5/10) The stadium filling, radio written "No Surprise" Was probably the most "produced" sounding song on the album, but it's also one of the catchiest. It will obviously kill on the radio, and was certainly placed as the single to draw back fans of the debut. Although it bears a writing credit form Chad Kroeger (Nickelback) Daughtry's vocals bring a level of sincerity to the song that the one note Kroeger couldn't have done. The only little bit of diversity in the song would be the emotional bridge, although the song is a surefire hit, is brings little if no diversity to LTT. 03.Every Time You Turn Around: (8/10) While the chorus sounds extremely mainstream, the unique verses, riffy guitar work, and pounding beats, this tune actually stands out as one of the most intriguing tracks on leave this town. Guaranteed it will be appreciated even more live, it easily is the biggest anthem on the album. 04.Life After You: (6/10) Another bubbly, poppy, radio written tune, "Life After You" will probably easily get its fair share of air-play only to be topped by the single. It follows the exact same energy and clich that could be found on the debut, it will get absolutely slammed by critics, but that's just part of the mainstream sound the Daughtry will always live by. 05.What I Meant To Say: (7.5/10) This riffy song of regret brings out an interesting perspective in Daughtry's writing. "I woke up today, sinking like the stones that you have thrown, wounded by the same old shots you take, it's easier to kick me when I'm low..." It is a riffy "What I Want" sounding tune that brings up an refreshing concept as opposed to a simple love clichs. "I know I said I'm sorry, but that's not what I meant to say..." That says it all. 06.Open Up Your Eyes: (8/10) This eerie but power ballad sounds like something in-between Evanescence or 3 Doors Down. One of the highlights of the album lyrically, it perfectly reveals the sorrow and pain accommodated in learning to live again. "Open Up Your Eyes" is possibly one of the most rewarding songs on the album. While in its own way dark, it's also heartfelt, and grows on you. 07.September: (9.5/10) September touches the emotions in a way nothing Daughtry has ever done could, the lyrics and vocals are sincere and beautiful, and you can't help but instantly be sold on the harmony and soothing guitar line. The greatest highlight of the album would have to be the bridge in this track, Daughtry belts, "We knew we had to leave this town, but we never knew when, we never knew how, we would all end up the way we are..." It seems 90% percent of the album's emotions are loaded in this track, and it's nothing short of remarkable. 08.Ghost Of Me: (8/10) Besides "You Don't Belong" this is the only track that can really fall into the hard rock category for me. Daughtry's vocals in the chorus soar, and command, as Brent Smith of Shinedown would have done. I think it's a track that is a bit different than the what was found on the debut, but is also a tune everybody knew Daughtry had in them. It's tracks like this and the opener that shows Daughtry's strive not to sound overproduced, and it seems to be working. 09.Learn My Lesson: (7.5/10) Even though it sounds like it was stripped from the debut, "Learn My Lesson" Brings a vulnerability in Daughtry's vocals, and lyrics. These are sounds that normally wouldn't be enough to push the track above average, but throw in a impressive little guitar solo, and I'll give it it's credibility. 10.Supernatural: (7/10) Mixed feelings about this one, although you could argue that it pushed Daughtry's sound farther and farther into the pop realm, it also brings some serious diversity into the album. It bounces with club beats, runs with a bit of wailing guitar work, but is driven by the catchy chorus. I'm pretty much in the middle of the road with this one. 11.Tennessee Line: (8/10) "Tennessee Line" is about as diverse as the album gets, it reveals the thinning line between country music and today's rock. While it definitely has an obvious southern flavor, it never gets unbearably twangy, or stray too far from what the fans want. I was absolutely horrified to see that country superstar Vince Gill added vocals, but was relieved that they never crowd the melody and are always faint, and backing. The track may not follow the strict Daughtry formula, but fans will have a hard time overlooking this one. 12.Call Your Name: (8.5) One thing Leave This Town nails, would have to be the opening and closing tracks. Call Your Name is a song I had to listen to again, and again, after skimming the song. It reveals in my opinion the most appealing side of Daughtry's music, songs that start as heartfelt ballads, and evolve to heavy epic choruses, and the median of a slash style guitar climax always helps. The song follows the same kind of formula that "Breakdown" followed on the debut. Daughtry leaves no doubt in his vocals, as he wails in a impressively higher range. "Call Your Name" is the perfect, "Thank you for listening" track. It'll get to you.
Lyrics — 7
The Good: Daughtry's vocals are just getting better and better, and is easily one of the most impressive pipes in rock music today. Although Daughtry's vocals fall the center point of attention, the backing of this talented band not only gives the band greater credibility, but brings out diversity in the LTT. Another outstanding difference would have to be the maturity in the bands lyrics, as compared to the first album. The Bad: Although there's no use in asking Daughtry to change everything they have become in the industry, it would be nice to see a bit more diversity in the music. I also felt that one too many songs on the album begged for a solo from Guitarist Josh Steely. And although Daughtry considers stadium rock as "heavy" it would be interesting to see some more tracks flood with anger like the title track. But Daughtry just seems to be testing different areas with the same formula.
Overall Impression — 9
Overview: How do you top an album that goes double platinum and becomes the fastest selling rock debut in sound scan history? Obviously not by altering the formula that resulted in more than Daughtry could of ever hoped for. From the soaring double tracked choruses, crafty guitar work, and powerful bridges, it all rockets back to what Leave This Town's showcase is all about, the wail of front man Chris Daughtry. LTT is sharpened by two years on the road, and the music is the proof. The difference between "LTT" and "Daughtry" is the backing of a real band, as opposed to the one formed in the studio on the debut. While Daughtry brings back the same pro. crew for LTT, the album finds it's personal touch in songs co-written by the members of Daughtry, Josh Steely, (Lead Guitar) Brian Craddock, (Rhythm Guitar) Josh Paul, (Bass) Joey Barnes, (Drums) Not to mention that Chris bears a writing credit on all twelve tracks. The album finds success on all levels, with haunting ballads, thrashing stadium rock, and the mid-tempo emotional tracks that made Daughtry the sensation they are today. Every track seems to fall in place in a more satisfying way than Daughtry, adding to the theme. While there will always be those that question the band's credibility, I would be shocked to see a Daughtry fanatic consider LTT anything short of the first album. Whether it be the sorrow, anger, determination, regret, or redemption found in Leave This Town. The album falls into such a personal category that it would not be insane to assume that LTT could raise the same success that the debut did. Like it or not, Daughtry's infectious hooks will take over radio again. Whether you denounce the band as commercial bubble gum rock, or fall into the die hard category, there's got to be one message heard by all listeners, Daughtry is anything but over.