After a listen, I feel on the fence. If you liked the first album, I predict you will enjoy this one immensely. To me, 'Leave This Town' doesn't truly reach for greatness but it keeps the quality high and stands out amongst what gets played on most American radio stations today. The music on this release is high in energy, loud, in your face and the vocals are raw and gritty. Yet, still, I felt a bit underwhelmed overall by 'Leave This Town' because to me, it's a straight-forward and safe extension of the last album with fewer chances taken. As someone else stated in their review, it sounds and feels as if Daughtry chose to play it safe simply by sticking to the same formula, and mostly the same sound, as the well-received and applauded first album.
There were things that I liked and felt were an improvement over the first release. I didn't feel as if there was an ongoing struggle between the vocals and instruments. There is a nice balance struck and I didn't get the feeling that Daughtry was simply 'screaming' the lyrics, as I felt they did on the first album. There was also a good balance between hard-hitting rock songs and softer, easy-going songs. I do feel the slower songs work great on this album; you can feel and sense the connection and emotion between Daughtry and the words being sung, a rare ability with most musicians these days.
My only complaints really is that, for the most part, the music felt a bit old and familiar because many of the songs are produced in the same manner as songs from the first release. I think some of the hype and five star reviews are bit overblown; yes, the group is good but there wasn't a song that I felt was Earth-shattering or an instant 'hit' in my mind. I wish there were a few more chances taken with the music, something different from the first release. Yet, I understand that perhaps this is there style and they're sticking to it until the fans suggest otherwise.
As for the bonus tracks, they're okay. On the good side, they are just as good as any of the other tracks on the album. 'What Have We Become' and 'On The Inside' sound rather similar; mid-tempo rock with the roaring instrumentals, loud vocals. In a way, they cancel one another out by not being all that different from one another. Not sure if the two tracks are worth the few extra dollars from the regular edition, though.
In all, an okay release. I think you'll either really love it or you'll feel it's nothing entirely special. If you're looking for a good pop/rock collection of songs, this will suit your needs.
Listen To These: 'September', 'Everytime You Turn Around', 'Life After You'
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