Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Kid Rock's Born Free Album

I became a Kid Rock fan on June 5, 1999. That was the day that he performed his song, “Bawitdaba” on the MTV Music Awards. That performance singularly melded rock and rap the way Run DMC intended it to be when they teamed with Aerosmith on “Walk this Way” in 1986.

Since then I have collected all of his music and seen three of his concerts in Toronto. I heard him continue to jump from genre to genre or fuse two or more effortlessly. Aside from the aforementioned rock and rap, he also brought country, blues and jazz into the blend. Basically if it was popular American music, he was playing it! And no matter what he was playing it had soul in spades.

In two weeks I’ll be seeing him for my forth time and I figured it was about time I got around to checking out his new album. It had been released six months ago!

What I found with the album is that rap had left the fold, save for a few measly moments when rapper T.I. injects hip-hop into “Care” which also features country music star, Martina McBride.

Yep, the country is there and the rock can’t leave, it’s in his name! What I heard was all that is American. I thought either this SOB is the most incredibly patriotic son of a gun out there, with his ear on the pulse of exactly what the typical blue-class American family needs to hear, or he’s a marketing genius that’s just ready to tap into the wallets of this culture.

The lyrics touch home for US military families waiting for their loved ones to come back from Afghanistan, and Iraq. Patriotism rages on this album and many songs are anthemic in nature. On “God Bless Saturday”, he sings a hymn for the blue collar worker, but it seems so far removed from his experience as a huge celebrity who was at one time married to Pamela Anderson.

I really enjoyed the first few songs on the album but by the time I got near the end, all the songs had started to sound the same and I kept hoping for some rap to mix things up a bit, but he stayed true to the rock/country fusion throughout the album.

This album is the first that didn’t carry the parental advisory sticker and it’s truly a mature and mainstream outing. I’m surprised that it hasn’t been more successful and better embraced. I did hear it last week in Las Vegas though while waiting in line tickets to a show and again the next night they were playing the album before a show started.

As usual, I am really looking forward to his show. He never disappoints live and I highly recommend it.

This gets a rating of 7/10 for me.

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