So Baptized got streamed yesterday and I've got my review packed up on this blog right now. Ever since the highly successful debut album the frontman Chris Daughtry formed the band Daughtry, things have been looking up. From their self-titled debut album to their 2011 release Break The Spell, it might seem that Daughtry's success have waned over the years. Can their fourth effort, albeit a resurrection or a new chapter for the band, continue or even peak higher than their previous album?
With this new album, Daughtry hasn't been making larger scale hits since their sophomore album Leave This Town, debuting at number one albeit selling over a million units in the US. To round it off, their most recent successful hit was Crawling Back To You, peaking under the 50 mark of the Billboard Hot 100. However, Daughtry's fan base is a different thing altogether, with probably one of the more passionate and lovable fan base of any band. Without a doubt, while they are still relevant in today's music when other rock bands may still be more competitively stronger or selling more units than what Daughtry is putting out.
So with this album, the band has adopted an electropop sound, which can be heard clearly and distinctly from their lead single, Waiting For Superman. While the song may not be that powerful than their lead singles before (It's Not Over; No Surprise; Renegade/Crawling Back To You), it's a really great shift in tone for the band, and really is the first step for the audience to witness the birth of a new chapter. Then comes the album's second single, Long Live Rock And Roll, in which the band goes back to their roots and digs deep with references to Elton John, Billie Joel, The Beatles, Rolling Stones and many others which have made the rock genre such a starter. It's a stadium rocker song, and does remind us of the style that represented the previous albums. While I personally like it, I wished the song was much longer with a more unmistakable hook that really significantly stood out from the rest. However, it is one of my favourites off of this album along with it's lead single. With that said, I expected a very low-quality Daughtry album that couldn't really hold itself up, but rather, it has managed to surprise and impress.
To say that this new direction has paid off doesn't really mean anything since it's the first time Daughtry has shifted. Despite being endowed with a pop vision, this album still does contain some of the rock attributes that have made Daughtry such a rock-luster band that everyone loves. With powering vocals in Chris Daughtry and catchy hooks that pumps up each song with such character that it explodes like a behemoth. That can be said for the first half of the album, with I'll Fight and Wild Heart impressing me the most, with presentation that really took me back to Break The Spell and Leave This Town. It is also certainly one of the more vocally expressive albums in Daughtry's catalog as Chris himself does show off some impressive falsettos accompanied with soaring vocals. The album title track Baptized also does amazes, highlighting the great guitar play and creative lyrics while Battleships is also great, though not really having that edge nor that memorable essence which was imbued in the other first six tracks. In other words, it's more or less a Daughtry tradition.
Things do slow down in the form of the next three songs: The World We Knew, High Above The Ground and Broken Arrows. The first two songs that comes directly after Long Live Rock And Roll don't come as memorable nor hooks with a high impact, often times falling flat just before it hits the final lap. However, Broken Arrows is a contender for the best song on the album with such an emotional output from Chris Daughtry. A ballad that surprisingly, doesn't shadow Chris's presence due to the piano chords, but rather aids him and provides a superb tone that showcases his vocal powers in another fashion that hasn't been seen in a long time. It's a great stripped down version, and does slow down the album, but it was really heartwarming to see different sides to the album rather than a straight out rock album that everyone wants.
The final three tracks then sparks fire with Witness not really picking it up, but Traitor kicking the door open with a ferocious hook with the heavy drums pounding harder than ever. Witness does belong in the category with The World We Knew and High Above The Ground, though it does show some attributes that it breaks out from it's shell from the other two tracks. To top it all off, 18 Years is spectacularly good. It is almost a reflection of the entire album and a round-off for Daughtry's new shift in direction. That said, the second half of the album doesn't outshine the first half, which definitely carried more weight despite emotional powerhouses in 18 Years and Broken Arrows.
8/10: Baptized clearly doesn't disappoint, while I'm not sure if it could be nominated for the band's best album yet considering I still have my heart hinged on their debut self-titled album. However, the shift in direction doesn't really show much considering most of the elements on this album do point back to their previous album Break The Spell. Still, it does impress me with very vocal hits and once again shines in the lyrical department. Not the best album of the year, nor a contender, but it's nonetheless a very solid album that should keep you on your ears for quite awhile. I highly recommend it.
Benny Ong: Just your regular guy who likes soccer more than most people, and also a little downtime is pretty nice.