I have reviewed albums that exhibit a solid grasp of their Pop sensibilities, but this album takes the biscuit!
The band centres on Chris Daughtry who came fifth in the 2006 edition of American Idol. To be fair, Daughtry did state that this fourth studio album was going to be poppier than the previous studio outings, but this was still a bit of a surprise.
I'd heard the leadoff single, 'Waiting For Superman', which evidently embraced the sort of studio sound that a lot of chart fodder possesses, but somehow I hoped for something with a bit more 'Rock' in it.
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Song-writing credits are noted to include an array of names like Martin Johnson (Boys Like Girls), Sam Hollander, Claude Kelly, John Lardieri, Antonina Armato, Tim James, Busbee, Elvio Fernandes, Jake Sinclair, Scott Stevens, Toby Gad and Kara DioGuardi. With an army of talents behind you, it's hardly likely that you're going to present a weak collection of songs.
Whenever I observe so many song-writers associated with an album of material, I instantly become a little suspicious. It might suggest that the main artist wanted more sides of their music to be explored which is just fine. On the other hand, it may suggest the artist needed a lot of help, or is focussed on merely producing an album collection full of commercially viable music that will sell.
Let's be straight here, 'Baptized' is the epitome of saccharine-soaked music that is ever likely to grace the content of the mighty MetalTalk.net and may not be most readers' cup of tea. You'll find great irony when listening to a song like 'Long Live Rock & Roll' with the Rainbow classic playing in your mind, and then witness how Daughtry with acoustic guitar strumming, play their own idea of what a song with this title could sound like.
Do not worry; it isn't a cover version, just a totally different perspective on a song that shares the same title.
Even including name-checks of Mötley Crüe, Bob Seger, Kiss, Van Halen, Guns N'Roses and the Rolling Stones with mentions of Kurt (Cobain) and Hole cannot save the integrity of the song.
It is more lightweight than most things that pass for commercially accessible Rock music these days but that's not to say 'Baptized' is a load of rubbish. If you're partial to Pop music or the most accessible moments from the universe of rock, then this album has a lot of appeal.
I'm a sucker for some cheese occasionally, and thoroughly embrace melodies in various musical environments, so I can appreciate what has been achieved on this album.
But for most readers of MetalTalk.net this offers very little. I suppose 'I'll Fight', 'Wild Heart' and 'Waiting For Superman' have a hint of something that my ears enjoyed.
With the crisp production values still prominent, amongst the three bonus tracks tucked on the end of this deluxe version there is 'Undefeated' (no relative of the Def Leppard track) and 'Cinderella'. Both of these offer upfront beats and polished studio-based instrumentation associated with music you'd expect to hear on mainstream radio.
There is an arena-sized "whoa" part in the former whilst the latter rides a quirky softly bouncing strummed song. On this deluxe edition of 'Baptized' there is an acoustic rendition of 'Battleships'. Complete with some piano and acoustic guitars and that clinical production, this is enjoyable.
I'm not entirely sure how to rate this. I suspect that if you're open to commercially crafted music, 'Baptized' will sit easily amongst your favourite radio-friendly inoffensive titles. It might be feasible to say that if you like your Metal and Rock music with more balls, then you would be best advised to avoid this at all costs.
In an age where downloading one or two tracks from an album seem commonplace, there are some infectious highlights to break up the running order of your personal playlists. It is very safe to the point of being stale and dull. If this album was a colour, it would be beige.
Waiting For Superman
Long Live Rock & Roll
The World We Knew
High Above The Ground
Battleships [Acoustic Version]