Over the years, Kid Rock has been known for merging the soul of Detroit's rap scene and the dirt of Detroit's rock scene into a "Polyfusion" both popular and successful with a nationwide audience. Recently though Kid Rock has seemed to distance himself further and from his "Grit Sandwiches for Breakfast" roots, even going so far as to declare that he likes country music more than rock - it's just funny how he never even mentions rap or hip-hop in that statement.
This is not the album that will surpass Kid Rock's golden days of "Devil Without a Cause" and MTV. This is not even the album that will surpass "History of Rock" or "Cocky." This is Kid Rock's farthest musical venture from the rap genre. In actuality this is his rendition of classic rock, with only one song in the middle of a rock album that's actually rap. This is an album filled with rock ballads like "Rock n' Roll Pain Train" and "Cadillac Pussy". These songs do have rhythm in them but the rhythm disappears quickly when Kid stops his singing and goes into all-out screaming. One wants to listen to this album from Rock's artistic standpoint, but the blandness of his material erases any emotional context. Take "Rock n' Roll Pain Train" for example:
"On that rock n' roll pain train
I can't slow it down
The music and the whiskey
Don't it make you wanna get loud
Life's been good to me so far
Hope it's been good to you"
The first single of the album is Kid Rock's remake of Bad Company's "Feel Like Makin' Love". Even in rock music, this follows the tradition of the original almost always being better than the remake. Kid Rock did everything the same as Bad Company on this track except for SCREAMING again throughout. "Jackson, Mississippi" is almost the same as "Feel Like Makin' Love" in every thing about it. In the former Rock sings "I feel like makin love, feel like makin love to you while in "Jackson, Mississippi" Rock yells "and I feel like Jackson, Mississippi/A river runnin, like Jackson, Mississippi." And on "Black Rob," Rock talks about how he was discriminated against:
"They used to call me names
Said I was just a wannabe
But now they all pay to see
What they were gettin free
How about them days and now
You don't know what to say
Ain't it funny how the sun can shine
And then fade away"
The only real standout track on the album is the rap "Intro". This is nothing like the rest of the album and actually sounds like he tried to be hip-hop lyrical on the track. At only two minutes long though, this would actually make a good song if he had stretched it. This track is the justification for Rock still calling himself a hip-hop artist. The rest of the album however has no justification.
"Rock n' Roll" and "Son of Detroit" are the kind of generic Rock you'll skip as soon as you hear the first beat, because once is more than enough. And not surprisingly, "Hillbilly Stomp" is just what it's named. It's a sort of bouncy track that just doesn't make you want to bump your head. Surprisingly "I Am," "Do it for You" and "Hard Night for Sarah" have a real Elton John feel to them thanks to a piano over the instrumental, but Kid Rock's style disposes of any good feeling to come from it. "Run Off to L.A." should be uplifting but really isn't. "Single Father" implies a real deep track, but Rock just talks about everyday things.
Overall this is a bad album with a lot of work put into it. Some of the beats on this album could be put to justice, but ultimately Kid Rock fails to do so. His lyrics on this self-titled album are just like the huge tattoo on his back - painful. Has Kid Rock lived up to his image? Perhaps if he wants to be a rock or country music icon. As a hip-hop album though, it fails completely. It may be time to remove Kid Rock from the "Rap" category on store shelves altogether.
Music Vibes: 5 of 10 Lyric Vibes: 1 of 10 TOTAL Vibes: 3 of 10
Originally posted: December 2, 2003