REVIEW: Kid Rock – Rebel Soul

Artist: Kid Rock
Album: Rebel Soul
Genre: Something

Since I have always prided myself on writing reviews with an unapologetic and honest tone it is only fair that I also admit that there was a time that I not only owned but enjoyed Kid Rock. Those were confusing times comprised of angst and wardrobes from Hot Topic. My hair looked a lot like something from a Nine Inch Nails video. Obviously, a lot has changed since 1998. For example, Kid Rock’s sound has shifted from an aggressive rap-rock hybrid to something posing as a southern gentleman. Somewhere along the way something buried in Mister Rock twitched and sent him into an inter-Faulkner frenzy.

Personally, I wish he had just dusted off his David Allen Coe record and moved on. Instead, I’m sitting at my writing desk both confused and feeling bad for Merle Haggard. I don’t completely understand how a person gets from lyrics like “3 foot 9 with a 10 foot dick” to fronting a Lynyrd Skynyrd tribute band. Then again, I also don’t think the south will rise again, so demographically I might be uninformed.

I am not going to lie to you. There is talent buried in this album. Hell, I’ll go so far as to say that a number of the chops and riffs are not only respectable, they’re pretty impressive. However, very little of that has anything to do with Kid Rock. It is rather obvious, based strictly on the posture of the album, that every song is structured to repeat in a lasting and annoying manner to allow the real musician, hidden in the back, the chance to blast “Free Bird” solos whenever possible. The collective of Rebel Soul is a cookie-cutter, carbon copy rip off of the deep south Rock N’ Roll hall of fame. Seriously, if the Van Zandts had grown up in Detroit, Michigan, Rebel Soul would be featuring “Sweet Home 8-Mile.” It is cute and all, but as a whole we’re giving it too much credit. There are 50 year old factory workers in every dive bar in every blue collar city re-creating this sound, yet Rolling Stone magazine is rewarding it with 3 and ½ stars. That’s the same magazine who hated Led Zepplin and Cream right? Therefore: Kid Rock > Robert Plant? I am not buying it.

The problem I have with this album is this: it doesn’t really seem like Kid Rock. This man has built his career around a signature image that is in no way, shape or form being represented in this readjustment of sound. Attempting to sell records to a group of radical backwoods no-names wallowing in stage three of the grieving process of Hank Williams Jr.’s Monday Night Football failure is not an original look. Surely this isn’t what Rock mean when he pinned “Cowboy.” If there is anything I have learned in my travels it is that being Southern equals being real. This album comes off more as wanting to be Johnny Cash for Halloween. In the south they have a term for that, it is called being a drugstore cowboy.

This isn’t the way to the Grand Ole’ Opry. But more importantly, this isn’t Kid Rock’s roots. That is exactly why no one hears Eminem or Andrew W.K. singing about “mules kicking the chicken pen.”

*Shakes head*

Written by: Joshua Hammond

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