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71 Billboard Rating

Daughtry
"Break the Spell"
Producer: Howard Benson
Meatball/19/RCA
Release Date: Nov. 21

Daughtry certainly knows how to cover the bases. "Break the Spell," the third album by the band fronted by 2006 "American Idol" finalist Chris Daughtry, isn't quite all things for all people. But it comes pretty close. The quintet brings its best Bon Jovi-style power drive on rockers like "Renegade," "Outta My Head" and "Louder Than Ever." And delivers cellphone-waving power ballads in the first single, "Crawling Back to You," and "Crazy," while the emotive "Gone Too Soon" is a genuinely heartbreaking ode to a dead child. The real wrinkle on Break the Spell, however, is a more substantive and deliberate embrace of country crossover. Working with such co-writers as Brett James, Busbee and band guitarist Josh Steely, Daughtry is just a fiddle or pedal steel away from Lady Antebellum on tracks like "Rescue Me," "Start of Something Good" and "We're Not Gonna Fall." It all sounds sturdy and fits comfortably down the middle, more dependable than daring.

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