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Music Review: Kid Rock – Rock N Roll Jesus

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Kid Rock is always in the news for something. Whether it’s getting arrested at a Waffle House, marrying Pam Anderson or going off about the lack of talent on American Idol, the man knows how to get attention. After selling over 20 million albums, Kid Rock has also proven he knows how to sell records. Rock, born Robert James Ritchie, has released his seventh album boldly titled, Rock N Roll Jesus. On the heels of his quick marriage and divorce with Pam Anderson, Rock N Roll Jesus is easily Rock’s most introspective album to date.

It was produced by Kid Rock and co-produced by Rob Cavallo, best known for his work on Green Day’s American Idiot and Dookie. Rock N Roll Jesus finds Rock moving away from much of the rap-rock that dominated his breakthrough album Devil Without A Cause and his subsequent release, Cocky sans the Sheryl Crow duet, “Picture.” Instead, Rock has created an album full of southern-fried, occasionally guitar laden tracks that seem to mesh well with his own sensibilities.

Rock N Roll Jesus begins with the title track, a heavy metal influenced rocker with a guitar riff that will hook you right in, trumpets blaring to emphasize the sound and female backing vocals to bring everything together. “Rock N Roll Jesus” is Rock’s attempt to bring back classic rock and in the process he gets his album off to a fine start. Rock slows things down on the next few tracks with mixed results. “Amen” features a gospel choir and piano accompaniment, with heartfelt lyrics about racism, political posturing, and soldiers at war.

He sings with conviction: “And as we sit free and well/Another soldier has to yell/Tell my wife and children I love them in his last breath/C’mon now amen, amen, amen./" While some listeners may think “Amen” is just another example of a hard partying rock star going soft for the female fans, it feels like Rock is after something deeper than that. Perhaps having visited soldiers in Iraq last Christmas, he was inspired. “All Summer Long,” borrows its opening guitar riff from Warren Zevon’s “Werewolves In London” and the rest of the song, an ode to teenage summer love, is sung to the guitar riff and piano breakdown from Lynyrd Skynyrd's song "Sweet Home Alabama." “Roll on” is a bluesy, saxophone laden tune about living the simple life with the woman of your dreams.

Rock moves away from the ballads in a big way, with “So Hott.” This tune is a strip club dream and undoubtedly became a favorite upon its release, right up there with AC/DC’s “You Shook Me All Night Long” and Mötley Crüe’s “Girls! Girls! Girls!” “So Hott” can only be described as completely raunchy. The song even lacks the solid guitar riff Kid Rock can usually be counted on to deliver.

It’s impossible to talk about Rock N Roll Jesus without mentioning “Half Your Age.” An obvious swipe at his ex-wife Pam Anderson, Rock uses a classic country sound that would make Hank Williams proud. Lyrically, there’s no mistaking the target: “She’s twice your age/and twice as hot” to “I found someone new/treats me better/she don’t bitch about things we don’t got.” Rock has survived and moved on.

With the exception of “So Hott,” Kid Rock has shown some newfound maturity with the release of Rock N Roll Jesus, effectively mixing country, gospel and classic rock to create some good southern-fried rock.

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About Rebecca Wright

  • http://rocknroll mickyanne

    THIS IS THE BEST CD YET, AS FOR AMEN I DO BELEIVE IT HAD TO DO WITH ROCK GOING TO SEE THE TROOPS, HE TALKS ABOUT GOING TO SEE THE TROOPS IN THE LARRY KING INTERVIEW, LUV ALL CD’S BUT THIS IS THE BEST AND BY THE WAY IT’S “HALF YOUR AGE/TWICE AS HOT”

  • Lelo

    I’m 60 yrs old and I love Kid Rock. He’s amazing and getting better with age. I don’t always agree with his raunchy expressions but I know he is real and speaks from his heart. I love men that are real and musicians that aren’t afraid to speak their mind. Rock on Kid, you’re the best

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