REVIEW: Kid Rock – ‘Rebel Soul’
It’s been a while since I last listened to Kid Rock—I recall hearing “American Badass” on Napster when I was nine years old. With Rock’s latest release, “Rebel Soul,” not much changed lyrically, but musically, Rock has left his rap and heavy metal style.
The album opens up with “Chickens In the Pen,” a traditional Kid Rock track with background gospel choir-like vocals that add substance. It’s a great transition into the following songs, showing it will be a soft rock, gospel-like album.
Like past albums, Rock integrates religious and political topics within his lyrics. “Let’s Ride” does just that in a slow rock anthem, alluding to the American military’s values of being “programmed to bleed red, white and blue.” It’s unclear as to whether the track is ridiculing how militaries functions with lyrics like “trained to kill baby, that’s what we do,” versus the chorus where Rock sings, “I’ll say a prayer for you to make it through to the other side.” Either way, the slow rock track is easily enjoyable without dabbling much into the lyrics.
Although Rock steps away from his usual music genre with “Rebel Soul,” the slow, blues-rock he delivers suits his vocal style and lyrics. “3 CATT Boodie” exemplifies how while he isn’t rapping and incorporating his heavy metal music style, he’s still able to pull off noteworthy tracks. This track has a breakdown midway though where Rock sings acapella with only percussions in the background, carrying slow southern rock beat.
“Detroit, Michigan” is the first of three cover songs on Rock’s latest release. Rock changed up the lyrics to Ronnie Love’s original, and sped up the tempo with his cover. The original track from the 60’s performed by Love really captures the soul from early rock ‘n’ roll. Rock adds his own spin, modernizing the lyrics to fit current day.
“Happy New Year” by John Eddie and “Cucci Galore” by Ulta-V are the other two cover songs Rock performed. The latter track’s lyrics were also reworked like “Detroit Michigan.”
The most sonically diverse track on the record is “The Mirror.” Instead of staying true to rock ‘n’ roll; Rock starts up the track with a slow, electronic-like sound, completely abandoning his guitar. The track is a slow ballad, illustrating Rock’s distress over a lost love with lost hope. The intro is deceiving as by the three-minute mark, Rock busts out his guitar and entertains an elaborate guitar solo, passionately crooning the last stanzas and chorus.
Songs like “Cucci Galore” and “Redneck Paradise” aren’t surprising to find on the track listing. The two tracks embody what Rock has sung about for the past 20 years and show that his views and values haven’t waivered despite the change throughout the years.
After listening to Rock’s back catalog and recalling some childhood memories, “Rebel Soul” is far form anything like his earlier works like “Devil Without A Cause” (1998).
Rock’s lyrics are somewhat outdated in this modern age, and his album isn’t as sonically diverse and intriguing as past, but it’s somewhat comforting to hear him singing about the same thing 12 years later.