“Baptized” by Daughtry Review


Will’s take on “Baptized”

Here’s the formula for Chris Daughtry’s new album, “Baptized”: a quiet guitar riff with hushed drums and some whining about how tough life is, then a big drum chorus with electric guitars and a power line about how it’s okay that life sucks because it’ll get better and we’re stronger than that anyway. Over and over and over and over. I guess that’s not entirely true: in the lead single, “Waiting for Superman,” they seem to have injected a synth line at the last minute.

A characteristic that doesn’t quite manage to redeem this album is Daughtry’s ability to change from any genre to the next. Is it alt-rock, alt-country, post-grunge, or even pop? The synths that I mentioned above point towards pop, but four songs later, in “Long Live Rock & Roll,” lead singer Chris Daughtry manages to name-drop everyone from The Beatles to John Denver.

There’s absolutely nothing that makes this album noteworthy, and for that, you can’t hate it. There’s nothing good or bad. It’s very “meh” across the board. The only people who will love it are established Daughtry fans, and the only ones who will hate it are established haters. By the time I was two-thirds of the way through the album, I was so bored I had to force myself to listen on: not because it was bad, but because it was boring. At least when you listen to something truly bad, there’s something to comment on. That isn’t the case here.

Rating: 1.5 out of 5 stars.

Micah’s take on “Baptized”

There was a time in my life when I would have been able to endure this album. That time was sixth grade, which also happened to be the time that I thought the value of a song was determined by whether it was on Guitar Hero or not. Music was divided into “Rock” and “Other.” This, being labeled “rock” on iTunes, would have qualified as cool to my young ears.

No longer. “Baptized” is the work of a talented musician who has decided life is easier if he just doesn’t try.  Listening to the title song, I found myself wondering how long it had taken to write this collection of clichéd sound effects, generic backing vocals, and choruses ready to be played over country-club speakers at an inoffensive, senior-friendly volume. Perhaps the most interesting thing about this album is the fact that the songs – “Wild Heart,” “The World We Knew,” etc. – seem to be titled like terrible soap operas.

The irony, though, is contained in the one song that even vaguely breaks the formula on “Baptized” – “Long Live Rock & Roll.” While it’s no better-crafted than the album’s other cuts, “Long Live” seems to be almost entirely composed of references to rock acts from ages past. From Nirvana to U2 to the Rolling Stones, the name-checked musicians all share one quality that Chris Daughtry apparently lacks – they played rock music. Rock, in its purest form, is rebellion: against the establishment, against the musical tides, against corporate greed.

And sixth-grade me was dead wrong. This isn’t rock, by any definition. This isn’t dangerous, or rebellious, or anything but manufactured to please the maximum number of people. This is the opposite of rock: this is complacency.

Rating: 1 out of 5 stars.