July 24, 2018 Daughtry – Cage To Rattle (Album Review)
Over the course of a decade, Daughtry has presented a pivot in sound compared to Chris’ early American Idol days, and the upcoming record is showing no signs of return. The Grammy-nominated and multi-platinum selling band has stuck to what works best for them, which is (for the most part) put the Rock-n-Roll angst aside and create more feel-good Pop tunes. The fifth studio album, Cage To Rattle, set to release on Friday, July 27, 2018, courtesy of RCA/19 Records, continues to pave a path of connection for fans.
In an overall retrospect, listeners are either going to love the anticipated summer sizzlin’ album, or listeners will have bitter feelings towards the lack of Rock to be “expected.” However, that’s the unfortunate thing about being in the limelight: listeners will carry expectations, regardless of the consideration of a band’s evolution. It is hard to believe it has been five years since Chris Daughtry, Josh Steely, Josh Paul, Brian Craddock, Elvio Fernandes, and Brandon Maclin released Baptized. Scoring four number-one hits, four Grammy nominations, and over eight-million albums sold, Daughtry have faced their challenges and transformed into a light that won’t burn out.
The ten-track playlist opens with “Just Found Heaven,” a track resembling “Waiting For Superman,” but carrying darker undertones. The North Carolina band create suspense from the beginning with heavy keys, not long before a thumping drum beat carves a steady groove. The Pop Rock anthem and hymn holds a special place, as Chris turns fearless to what happens next in life. This is a track that could be taken to church and have choirs sing, though it still has slight edge to it.
Daughtry digs into the roots of their souls with “Backbone.” The song holds a Jazz influence layered in between the fixated keys and short, electric guitar licks that are sharp like a lumberjack striking a log. Proving to be a Dance tune, the lighthearted melody contradicts its message to toughen up and grow a backbone. In contrast, “Death of Me” displays the inner-battle one could have when she/he is trying not to give up. The vocals are near isolated throughout the first verse, while keys grab the listener’s attention and mild guitar plucks linger beneath the choir-like synths. Deep drums sounding of a Native American meditation hold a deep trance as Chris pleads that something has got to give. The track holds the album title and is uplifting in a sense of relativity; the message sent is to hold onto hopes, dreams, and believe that whatever cage is holding the listener hostage, whether it be the mind, environment, etc. can be broken.
Another constant theme throughout the record is to remain youthful. “Deep End” serves as the first official single and bears the right amount of progression. Musical elements jump in one by one, and Chris’ vocals are full force as he confesses love for someone. “Back in Time” portrays a reminiscence while the groove of the melody strikes a dancing bone. This song is easily the highlight of the album and something to be proud of. Crisp and bluesy guitars sway against the clicking of guitar sticks, and old-fashioned style vocals fill in the silence. Though the tune strikes in a familiar sense, it is hard to place a finger on, while powerful hints of rushing guitar dance with the toe-tapping steady bass and drums.
“Bad Habits” and “Stuff of Legends” are honorable mentions, growing heavier as the album comes to a close. Holding the thick and gritty atmosphere found in the debut album, Daughtry, “White Flag” is the most climactic track on the album. Warming keys invite the listener to an anthem of never giving up or going out by choice. Daughtry holds onto their pride as the song comparatively explodes, unlike the rest of the album where most tracks hold a complacent level. Holding onto their white flag, the band lays in battle until the ringing, gritty bass and guitar bleeds out. Not because it went out by choice, but because it simply cannot go on.
Daughtry fans will want this album to keep going. Especially with the final track: it is so full and so much of what fans have been yearning for, it is hard not to want more. Daughtry carries consistent themes while carrying a refreshing sound, and Cage To Rattle will be an album to revisit. On the first listen, there are times the guitars had to be searched for; and the record follows more Pop-sounding synths and displays creative transformations for the band, something along the lines of Imagine Dragons. However, it is an acquired taste that just about anybody can ultimately enjoy. For these reasons, CrypticRock gives Daughtry’s Cage To Rattle 4 out of 5 stars.