Here’s the thing about [artist id="2385930"]Chris Daughtry[/artist]: He is an exceedingly regular guy (aside from his Lex Luthor dome and Pharaoh-with-a-Norelco facial hair). This is particularly noteworthy considering that his band’s 2006 self-titled album is the fastest-selling rock debut in SoundScan history, moving more than 5 million units, birthing seven singles and staying lodged in the top half of the Billboard 200 for more than two years.
This is the kind of success that usually changes dudes, adds pages to their riders and members to their entourages. It turns them into Rock Stars. Chris Daughtry is different, though. He most certainly isn’t a Rock Star.
I mean, of course, he is, but he still goes out of his way to maintain his blue-collar, hard-workin’ everydude persona. He makes it a point of mentioning that he is just the lead singer of a band, a democracy in which everyone writes riffs, records tracks, tours hard and shares the bounty. He just happens to be the focal point, though he is no more important than, say, drummer Joey Barnes, whose name I just had to look up.
This is all very admirable, but it’s also part of the key to his success. And Daughtry the everyman is back with a new album, Leave This Town, due July 14, which is bound to dominate the charts. And to begin that conquest, he’s released the video for the first single, “No Surprise,” and it’s definitely the most everydude thing he’s ever done.
It opens in a nondescript factory in some nondescript — though very dusty — town, with Chris and the boys rocking out and whoa-oh-oh-ing into the wide-open spaces. A battered old pickup rolls into frame, and from it emerges a good-looking (yet clearly down-on-his-luck) blue-collar worker (we know this because he carries a battered rucksack and displays several pensive looks). He’s looking for work, but alas, the foreman tells him there’s none to be had here. Daughtry himself drives by in a red Mustang convertible and witnesses the whole thing, and we know he is upset and concerned because he shoots that very look to the camera. He feels your pain.
Cut to a nondescript diner in (the same) nondescript-yet-dusty-town, where a good-looking (yet clearly down-on-her-luck) young waitress is being yelled at by her mean old boss. She is having a bad day, one that gets even worse when she dumps a soda on a horrified customer (not her fault, she got bumped!) and you know what happens next: She’s canned by the boss, and tosses her apron on the floor in disgust, while two of the other dudes in Daughtry look on sullenly. They feel your pain too.
As it turns out, the good-looking guy and gal are a couple, and they’re having money problems (one would think they could always go into modeling … I’ve heard it pays pretty well), which leads to bickering. They go to bed angry, and the next morning, she wakes up and he’s gone. She heads out looking for him (in cut-offs, since, you know, she’s the salt of the earth), and this is where the video and the song merge: “No Surprise” is a classic breaking-up-is-hard-to-do tune, the kind a million guys and gals separated by time or space or the open road or the military have experienced a million times before, and it ends the way these things usually do: messily, but for the best. Sure it might hurt now, Daughty wants you to know, but we both know that the split was for the best. Perhaps this couple are heading down that path. Maybe they’re already there.
We get no answers, though. The clip ends with the couple sitting on either side of a rock, overlooking that very dusty (and, it would seem, utterly hopeless) town. They both look pensive and scared. Probably because they should be. And Daughtry and his boys provide no solutions, either to their economic woes or their relationship troubles, because, well, they don’t have them. No one does. In matters of love and finance, Chris Daughtry is still the ultimate everydude, and he doesn’t know how to make things work either. Well played, sir.