Kid Rock

KID ROCK – Rebel Soul

Kid Rock - Rebel SoulOk, before anyone starts running away puking through their hands by the very sight of Kid Rock’s name, just read this out for a moment. The obnoxious bragging dude who was rapping over heavy metal samples is no more, now Kid Rock is an obnoxious dude who just likes to rock. Fact is, this has been going on for quite a few years now and his transformation started back in 2007 and the release of his brilliant Rock N Roll Jesus CD. Sure, there were elements of rapping and some hip hop beats there and he did sample Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Sweet Home Alabama” and wrote his own song over it, but in my book he actually improved it, but the majority of that album was straight forward hard rock ‘n’ roll with a big southern twist and the whole CD is more or less free from machines and such, no matter how you’d like to describe the music. The follow-up Born Free (2010) was even more rap free, only in one song could you find traces of rap, and the sound on that album was very much southern rock and country rock. And yes, that was also a brilliant album.

With his new album, Kid Rock (born Robert James Ritchie) has gone all in and left every tiny trace of his rap / hip hop past behind and is now fully concentrating on doing what I guess is closest to his heart; rock and roll. So for everyone out there who likes to listen to music with an open mind, give Kid Rock the benefit of a doubt, because this album is a magnificent rock record, mixing everything from 70’s hard rock to his other love, country and southern rock and he sounds very convincing doing it. Now, Kid Rock may not be no Pavarotti, sure his range is somewhat limited, but the guy do sing better than one might think and his voice fits perfectly for the music his creating. I mean, this is rock and roll and as long as you’re not off-key, which he’s not, you’re doing pretty damn good. I’m actually quite impressed by the musical journey he has made from his hip hop days up until now and he deserves some respect for it. So the least you can do is to give him a break, you might end up surprised.

Opening track “Chickens In The Pen” and the title track are just brilliant, both reminds me of old Aerosmith with a southern twist, “Let’s Ride” is a plain rocker, 70’s style, “3 CATT Boogie” is real killer rock song with some 60’s influences and “Detroit, Michigan” is just great and swings of both rock and old style soul. “God Save Rock ‘n’ Roll” is a mix of rock, pop and country and swings like crazy, “Celebrate” is pure groovy classic rock, the title of “Mr Rock ‘n’ Roll” really says it all and “Cucci Galore” has some cool Led Zeppelin riffing mixed with some Red Hot Chili Peppers funk, very cool, very catchy and very groovy. Then there is “The Mirror”, a bluesy ballad that both grooves and rocks, but for some reason there is an auto tune on his voice that feel very unnecessary. It’s a great song, but the auto tune really annoys me.

This is truly a great rock album without any bad songs at all and if the last two albums was something someone out there enjoyed, then this one is a no-brainer. When Kid Rock rocks, which he does a lot here, he’s very good and let’s just keep our fingers crossed that the hip hop and rap are gone for good because the way this album feels, I’m sure that this path that Kid Rock is on is the one that is really him. Kid Rock is dead. Long live Kid Rock.

Jon Wilmenius (8/10)

Track list:
1. Chickens In The Pen
2. Let’s Ride
3. 3 CATT Boogie
4. Detroit, Michigan
5. Rebel Soul
6. God Save Rock n Roll
7. Happy New Year
8. Celebrate
9. The Mirror
10. Mr. Rock n Roll
11. Cucci Galore
12. Redneck Paradise
13. Cocaine and Gin
14. Midnight Ferry

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