On his first studio album in four years, Kid Rock proclaims himself as the Messiah on his latest, Rock N Roll Jesus. On this album, he is resurrected from hiatus and creates what many consider his best album of his career. All theological discussion aside, Kid Rock's own redemption lies in his love of music. Kid Rock's greatest assets as a musician are on full display with Rock N Roll Jesus. His tireless energy on the hard-rocking tracks is matched with a surprisingly soulful self-awareness on others, affirming his position as the consummate rock star. The new album also carefully displays his trademark ability to blend musical styles, including Southern rock, stadium anthem hard rock and popular country. Kid Rock also throws in some deftly placed hip-hop phrasings, either via the band's DJ or his own rock-rap vocals, a style he practically invented. Last week on "Larry King Live," Rock discussed these different music styles that appear in his new songs. "I think hip-hop is the new blues music of our age, you know? The respect I have for that is incredible. And rock and roll, of course, is always the attitude. That’s where the fun comes in. And the soul — the Motown soul that was instilled in me and spoon-fed to me since I was a kid." Rock N Roll Jesus delves deepest into soul music on the tracks "Amen" and "When You Love Someone." These songs are produced to their fullest potential without coming off as merely another style in his repertoire. He's well-versed in Southern-style soul and easily delivers the vocals and thoughtful lyrics needed to give these tracks authenticity, whether he's denouncing "scumbag lawyers with agendas" or simply pleading for more love in the world. Kid Rock always understands that he is the real show. Even an above-average practitioner of debauchery couldn't hold a whiskey bottle to Rock's level of excess, and perhaps he's most effective when he wears it on his sleeve. The songs "So Hott" and "Sugar" are marked by heavy guitar riffs, his obsession for multitudes of women and his own grand ego. He's no saint, but then again, he's never pretentious enough to beg for salvation in these songs. The album's lightest moment comes on the country radio-ready "Half Your Age" where he taunts his infamous ex-wife Pamela Anderson with his appreciation for his new woman. He claims she "doesn’t care about the strippers dancing at [his] shows." No matter the style, his honest and unapologetic personification of rock ‘n' roll allows him to mingle with all audiences, from beer and shot barstool warmers to conservative politicians to other music giants. When R. Kelly wanted to out "Rock Star" all other urban artists on his latest album, who else would he call upon for support but Kid Rock? The energy Kid Rock exudes on this new album could never be faked, and his new songs indeed fill a void in rock stardom that's been missing since his last album. Kid Rock's Rock N Roll Jesus resurrects his own cocky and aggressive persona to play the music he loves, which ultimately turns out to be a heartfelt collection that complements his massively popular history.
This article was published Oct 11, 2007 at 12:00 am, and last updated Oct 11, 2007 at 12:00 am.