’s Rock N Roll Jesus
has a little something for everyone. Fans of country, gospel, R&B, rock and pop will all find a song or two to enjoy, and those who are open to lots of different musical styles will be pleasantly surprised by Rock’s range. He may still be a clown with a dirty mind, but on Rock N Roll Jesus
Rock demonstrates some maturity to go along with a plethora of instantly pleasing good-time tunes.
One Stylistic Left Turn After Another
Kid Rock came to fame at the tail end of the 1990s thanks to the rap-rock
classic Devil Without a Cause
. Since then, he’s moved away some from hip-hop, embracing country and Southern rock. Rock N Roll Jesus
represents the strongest collection he’s come up with since Devil
, finding room for all his influences without too many stumbles. In truth, Kid Rock is starting to become his own genre – a charming ragamuffin whose music jumps around the radio dial looking for whatever sounds best. It’s rare to find an album that encompasses the ‘70s arena balladry of “Amen,” the country sing-along “Half Your Age” and the unapologetically lewd hard rock of “So Hott” – but what’s impressive is that these stylistic left turns all work for him, mostly because they all feel like a natural extension of his personality.
Nostalgic and Fun
Overall, Rock N Roll Jesus
has the spirit of community that was the hallmark of earlier bands like the Eagles
and Lynyrd Skynyrd
. On occasion, Rock will aim for socially-conscious lyrics that have a message, but for the most part he sings about love and friendship in very accessible songs that value no-sweat fun. He may declare himself the Rock N Roll Jesus and brag about his sexual proclivities, but it’s very clear that his bluster is mixed with much tongue-in-cheek self-deprecation. Rock just wants everyone to enjoy themselves, and that’s no more clear than on “All Summer Long,” where he samples “Sweet Home Alabama” and Warren Zevon’s “Werewolves of London” to reminisce about a Michigan childhood filled with drinking and girls. There’s a potent nostalgic quality to Rock N Roll Jesus
– Rock isn’t just trying to recreate ‘70s bands but the ‘70s of his youth as well.
A Lover Who's Not a Heel
Because Kid Rock is quite candid about his sexual desires, like on the horny headbanger “So Hott,” Rock N Roll Jesus
might be mistaken for the sort of strip-club rock practiced by Hinder
and other contemporary bands. But two important distinctions separate Rock from those groups. The first is that when Rock tries to get down-and-dirty sexy, it’s actually believable and compelling – “So Hott” won’t win points for subtlety, but its AC/DC
-channeling rock riffs are undeniable. The second meaningful difference is that Rock actually has the ability to render women as sympathetic, complex characters in his songs, unlike the typical slut-or-angel typecasting they receive in other bands’ material. “Blue Jeans and a Rosary” is a surprisingly effecting tale of a woman who saved Rock’s life, while even the putdown of an ex in “Half Your Age” is good-humored without delving into misogyny. No doubt some fans will look to these songs for clues into his failed relationship with Pamela Anderson
, but Rock N Roll Jesus
is not a bitter breakup album. If Rock is missing Anderson, he’s decided to hide the pain under some pretty happy-sounding songs.
Kid Rock's 'Rock N Roll Jesus' - Bottom Line
Rock N Roll Jesus
argues that Kid Rock might not be a deep artist, but he sure is an enjoyable one. A lot of rock artists get nervous about “compromising” their sound by making room for other genres, but in Rock’s world there’s only two types of music – the good stuff and the bad stuff. With Rock N Roll Jesus
, he brings the good stuff.
Best 'Rock N Roll Jesus' Tracks:
“Half Your Age”
“All Summer Long”
“Blue Jeans and a Rosary”
Release date – October 9, 2007