Review Summary: My name is KIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIID
One thing has been made abundantly clear over the years: Kid Rock is proud of his white trash redneck roots. While he has made a near-full switch from rap rock to country rock, his image and values have never quite changed. Time has proven to be a cruel mistress for the now 41-year-old “rocker”, who offers us his latest album Rebel Soul
. In a time where country music is a shell of its former self, Rebel Soul
reads off as a grocery list of genre cliches. Corny patriotism? Check. Gratuitous drinking? Check. Tearjerker ballads about love now lost? Check. All that's missing is his dog running away.
Musically, the southern/country rock sound leaves a lot to be desired. Bland twang-tinged licks and brief gospel vocals on the title track are laughable at best, and the cheesy horns and awful backing vocals on “Detroit, Michigan” feel out of place and comical. Kid Rock's vocal delivery tries hard to sound soulful, but on a record as bad as this, it comes off as disingenuous (it doesn't help that “The Mirror” relies heavily on AutoTune). Matters are made worse when one actually goes through some of the lyrics on this record. On “Let's Ride”, Kid Rock declares that in war, there's “no pussy, no dope, this ain't Saigon, but keep your heads up for roadside bombs”
. “Happy New Year” features some of his new year's resolutions: “I’ll quit smokin’, I’ll quit eatin’, I’m not jokin’, I’ll quit cheatin’, I’ll quit cursin’, I’ll quit drinkin’, I’ll be a better person, but tonight I’m thinkin’”
. Maybe he should have added “quit writing tedious songs” while he was at it.
The most frustrating track on the album is easily “Cucci Galore”, where “Bawitdaba” is rewritten as an overly misogynistic southern romper (complete with samples of Flava Flav's “YEAAAAH BOIIIIIII” thrown in at random times for NO reason). It serves as a reminder that Kid Rock once pretended like he possessed attitude at one point in his life, only to throw it away and become a bonafide good ol' boy. The fact that two of his songs have the nerve to contain “rock n' roll” in their titles shows how out of touch with his identity Kid Rock is. Yes, these are supposedly rock songs disguised as country, but Rebel Soul
contains anything but. It lacks any heart or attitude, and sounds as lazy as a rocking chair on a front porch with none of the personality.
At the end of the day, Kid Rock still may not give a damn what anyone thinks, and there's nothing wrong with being confident or even cocky. It still won't help him in the long run when the only people who will still find his music to be “rebellious” in any form or fashion (in 2012, no less) will be his army of ass-backwards rednecks who cling to his every word like God-fearing gospel. To them, Kid Rock truly is Rock & Roll Jesus
. To the rest of the world, Kid Rock is a tired act that long overstayed its welcome, and Rebel Soul
does nothing to say otherwise.