I knew dude was taking a turn in the last few years with the songs he's done with Uncle Kracker and Sheryl Crow, and I mean, good for him - he's trying out different things, maybe even growing up a little. He is 40 years old after all... But I may need to listen to "American Badass" to remember why I loved this guy years ago.
This is his 8th album and the very first to not bear a "Parental Advisory" sticker on the front. There is absolutely no need.
You'll see what I mean as we go through the track-by-track:
"Born Free," the title track, kicks things off. And immediately, you hear that this is going to be much more southern-American-rock than what we're used to from this guy. The lyrics speak of the big ticket items we think of in the USA, and the guitar screams Fourth of July. Woo. You embrace those roots buddy. All the way from Detroit. Here's the video:
I've heard this before somewhere, and really like it: "Care (feat. Martina McBride & T.I.)." There's a few things I love here: the gentle nature of the song lends itself to all settings, even a slower moment in one of his older concerts; Martina is a powerhouse and wonderful and I would have never seen this duet coming, let alone a trio with T.I.; lyrically, this is so good for today. You want to make a difference? Start by making this your theme. "Well I can't change the world and make things fair; the least that I can do is care." Here's a music video that was release for it, but doesn't include Martina... -_-
"When It Rains" is a very sad song, using the classic cliche, "when it rains it pours." While it's not one I want to hear regularly, this is one has been added to my new "Hard Times" playlist of music I need for depressing times. Yeah, I know, boo emo kid. But who doesn't need something like this?
"God Bless Saturday" is probably my favorite song on this album. It's the perfect blend of what we loved about this guy back in the early 2000s, and his new attempt at a different sound. And it's a good party song without those damn dance beats from a computer that drive me so crazy. I promise this will be playing next time I'm getting ready to go out on a weekend.
From the best to the worst, next up we have "Collide (feat. Sheryl Crow & Bob Seger [on piano])." I should probably mention that I despise Sheryl Crow for reasons I don't know how to explain. I like a lot of her songs - when they're done by other people. I don't like hearing her though (even though she has a decent voice), and I didn't want to hear her on this album. Regardless, I'll include their official video released for it:
"Flyin' High (feat. Zac Brown)" is next. I really like Zac Brown Band on a casual listening basis, and it was nice to hear this familiar voice again. This is kind of an homage to home I guess, and it's a nice laid-back number. Really nicely done and a sweet collaboration.
"Times Like These" is another all-American song, but I like this one better than the others that have been coming up. It's more about working through things and enjoying them for what they are. You've got to embrace what you've got, kind of attitude. "It makes us who we are." Just a generally good message anytime in life.
I was expecting "Rock On" to be pretty old school and get us up and moving and enjoying it all. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. It's the slowest damn song on the album. Please put me to sleep now. Seriously, I just went through and deleted about 20 emails and it's still not over...
"Rock Bottom Blues" is a nice one. I know Rock had been embracing his Southern side in the past couple years, and this is a good display and thank you to all he's learned. It's got a great beat and that old muddy water background group keeping it going. Harmonicas abound. Good times.
Wait, where did this voice come from in "For the First Time [In A Long Time]"? It's way too high pitched, and yet I know it's still Kid singing. I would adore this song if it weren't for the voice range on it. Take it down like 2 octaves and I'd be more comfortable. There's just no reason for it, so I'm confused and unhappy.
"Care (Demo Version)" ends out the album, which I enjoy equally as much as the one with Martina. There's another singer there who has such soul, and gives it a completely different but equally wonderful feel. It's just great all around, again.
Stuff I Wouldn't Mind Hearing Again: (and can actually put on my playlist since this album's on Spotify!)
- "Care (feat. Martina McBride & T.I.)" - Spotify, YouTube
- "God Bless Saturday" - Spotify, YouTube
- "Times Like These" - Spotify, YouTube
- "Care (Demo Version)" - Spotify, YouTube
Look, it's not that Kid Rock did anything wrong on this album or by taking a new route. I like a lot of what he attempted here, but a lot of it sounds all the same. I'm just bored by the same sounds over and over, and without lyrics that vary either, you're creating a boring atmosphere for the listener. They need more to grab on to for different states of mind.
And for the love of God Rock, if you're going to take a new musical turn, please wash your hair - it's the one really non-fitting personal trait about this whole venture.
Before you head out for the night, share your thoughts!!!