Kid Rock is a true innovator, with a sound that combines elements of heavy metal, classic rock, country and hip-hop. The problem is that Rock has embraced all of the worst aspects of those various genres, so that he comes off as the unholy union of Nickelback, Bob Seger, Rascal Flatts and Nelly. He’s got the unsubtle bombast of metal, the pandering populism of heartland classic rock, the schmaltzy sentimentality of country and the empty braggadocio of hip-hop. His latest album, Rock N Roll Jesus, puts all those qualities on display, without any of the charm that made some of his past efforts enjoyable in a kitschy way.
Although he first rose to fame as a rap-rocker, Rock only raps on one song on this album (“Sugar,” a pale retread of hits like “Bawitdaba”), an unfortunate development since he has a terrible singing voice. That doesn’t prevent him from earnestly crooning about past loves on “Blue Jeans and a Rosary” (complete with opportunistic religious overtones for the country fans) and “All Summer Long” (which manages to sample both “Werewolves of London” and “Sweet Home Alabama”). There is one moment of genuine fun on this album, though: the absurdly misogynistic country kiss-off “Half Your Age,” a mean-spirited dig at ex-wife Pamela Anderson that’s as hilarious as it is horrifying. The rest of the album is merely the latter.
Rock N Roll Jesus