Max Vadukul
Leah Greenblatt
July 08, 2009 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Leave This Town

Current Status
In Season

We gave it a B

Chris Daughtry is not in the business of delivering musical tofu, or escarole, or any other newfangly food-type metaphor. The American Idol season 5 finalist is a man of straightforward meat-?and-potatoes rock principle, and so far it’s served him very well: His? self-titled late-’06 debut yielded a clutch of appropriately beefy top 20 singles.

The blueprint of follow-up Leave This Town — chugging riffs, angsty-sensitive lyrics, here-come-the-soaring-double tracked-?choruses — may feel utterly familiar, but it’s undoubtedly what the people (the people not being up for, one guesses, any major stylistic switcheroos) want.

Album opener ”You Don’t Belong” begins with a not-unexpected quiet-storm interlude before exploding into a gratifying sort of Linkin Park-style melodic screamola, while the epic ”Every Time You Turn Around” and propulsive, percussion-heavy ”Supernatural” provide requisite power-ballad release. The distinct whiff of Nickelback on the thunderous lead single ”No Surprise” is due, no doubt, to the fact that Chad Kroeger, frontman for the multiplatinum Canadian juggernaut, co-wrote it; less expected guest Vince Gill appears on the finely wrought semi-acoustic reverie ”Tennessee Line,” though he keeps the twang to an almost undetectable minimum. One may search Town in vain for a flash of something raw and off-the-script, a moment that does not feel both scrupulously test-marketed and impeccably (over)produced, but Daughtry’s relentless competence as a mainstream-rock artist likely serves him far better than any radical departure ever could. B

Download This: Listen to the song You Don?t Belong at

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