23 March 2015

Kid Rock - First Kiss

Recently, we had a blog for Papa Roach (click here) and I believe there may be a one for Alien Ant Farm in the works, which brings us up to another artist from the late 90's/early 00's which used to get played a lot in rock clubs but that doesn't mean they were any good - Kid Rock. This is his tenth studio album and a continuation of the southern rock (IE Lynyrd Skynyrd worship) vein which he started doing round about 2002. Not that it's a bad thing as, quite frankly, his rap stuff was average at best but the occasional gem would pop up. Admit it, we all had fun trying to dance to "Bawitaba" and "American Badass" (more on that later) whilst drunk in rock clubs. I also liked his songs "I Am The Bullgod" and "Fists Of Rage" too. Never really cared for much of his other stuff though.

The artist formerly known as Robert James Ritchie was born in Detroit, Michigan in 1971. According to wiki, his stage name came about when people would describe going to see him play the hip-hop clubs of Detroit as watching that "white kid rock" (according to wiki). After a few records - and false starts, his big break came in 1998 when he released "Devil Without A Cause", an album which created a but of a stir due to it's mix of rap and rock. Well, the nu-metal era was taking off and he nearly got lumped in with all of that lot. It's not a bad album but there are far better. This was followed by "A History Of Rock" in 2000 and it's about here that he blew up as one of the songs was used by wrestling organisation WWE (then known as WWF) as the intro music for one of it's wrestlers - The Undertaker, who at this point had the gimmick of a biker as opposed to the 'Dead Man' of previous years. The song was called "American Badass" and was the music of the Metallica song "Sad But True" with Kid Rock rapping over it. This was also a hit - and not the first wrestling theme he'd do as he covered the ZZ Top song "Legs" for Stacey Kiebler's theme. There was also a wrestler for rival company ECW who was called Kid Kash, which borrowed heavily from Kid Rock, even coming to the ring to "Bawitdaba". So it's not like Kid Rock was a flash-in-the-pan or anything. Guest spots in "The Simpsons" and other shows followed, as well as a much publicised marriage - and divorce - to Pamela Anderson. It was about this time I'd lost track of what he was doing, until he released the song "All Summer Long" - which sampled "Sweet Home Alabama" by Lynyrd Skynyrd and contained two of the worst lyrics in a song..."smoking funny things" and "play that dead bands song". Real smooth...

This leads us onto First Kiss and to be honest, I picked to review this album as I couldn't be chewed to listen to Papa Roach or Alien Ant Farm. I got the lesser of three evils. Or did I?

Here goes...

1) First Kiss - Oh shit, it's a "back in the day" song about both his first crush and his first car. I'm pretty sure the insipid Katy Perry did a similar song. Besides, the only "back in the day" song that anyone needs to listen to is "Summer Of  '69" by Bryan Adams. Don't agree? GET OUT!!! Seriously, why the hell would a millionaire rock star want to revisit that part of his life? I'm guessing it's just a song and he's merely utilising subject matter but for fucks sake, it's a big piece of mawkish, sentimental crap. Throw this one to the fucking sharks for all I care...

2) Good Times, Cheap Wine - Starting off with a 12-bar riff, it goes onto basically describe how he just likes the simple things in life and how he'll never be a Coldplay fan or fit into skinny jeans. Why we should know or care about these sentiments is anyone's guess. It's basically saying "fuck you, modern world, I'm not gonna change for anyone" as it also mentions he's not gonna do Facebook or Twitter neither. So it's kinda ironic I'm listening to this album on Spotify. Again, a crap song. We're not doing too well here...

3) Johnny Cash - A song about telling some girl "I want to be your Johnny Cash". To be honest, it's not as bad as it sounds. Some nice music and vocal harmonies. It raises hopes that we may not have a completely shite album just yet.

4) Ain't Enough Whisky - Southern boogie. It's not too bad. Starts ranting about real life stuff ("they talk about sending my daughter to war" - at least, that's what I think he said). I can imagine this one getting a bit of a singalong going too.

5) Drinking Beer With Dad - "I remember when I was young, I couldn't wait to turn twenty-one"...holy shit, we've got another "back in the day"song! Although, I suppose this one actually has a good point to it, there is nothing like having a nice beer with your dad. The song seems to be telling us to treasure the memories of our dads whilst making memories with our own offspring. Quite sentimental. Good point too, treasure your family as we don't know how long they're gonna be here for.

6) Good Time Lookin' For Me - More boogie. It's pretty ordinary. I've tried listening to it three times now but it's just not landing.

7) Best Of Me - Seems Mr Rock sometimes has doubts about his abilities as a musician, but all that goes out the window once the lights go down and he starts doing his thing. So underneath the gentle piano and quaint lyrics, we have a song about overcoming stage fright. Possibly from "back in the day", I dunno. It's not too bad, to be fair.

8) One More Song - Snappy guitar opening before singing about meeting an old friend and then bitching about an ex. Seems to be the jist of things. It's a bit maudlin but whatever gets you through the night.

9) Jesus And Bocephus - Some gospel thing. Goes from drinking to finding God. It's not too bad, to be fair. In fact, it's the only song on here that I have in my memory after listening to this album. I tend to listen to each song two or three times in order to form an honest opinion, so it's not like I deliberately skip any. This is the best song. The vocal melodies are very good. Nice use of a church organ too,

10) FOAD (bonus track) - A song about having a go at a twat of an ex. Reminds me of a song that Zakk Wylde did when he was in his first non-Ozzy band (Pride And Glory). As far as this song goes, it's a bit bland. Not landing at all.

This was the first Kid Rock album I've heard in fifteen years and tbh, I wasn't keen on it at all (as if you couldn't tell). Mind, I was never his biggest fan to begin with. The plus points of this album are that it's produced very well (production duties were handled by Kid Rock himself with a couple of tracks done by Dan Huff), it's played very well and Kid Rock's brand of southern country rock is certainly a far cry from the redneck rap metal of yore. The drawbacks? It's like redneck middle-age is creeping in and he's getting the pipe and slippers out. This can be viewed in two ways: 1) It's a good thing he's grown up as no-one can act young forever or 2) he's lost all fire and is now plodding along. I think it's a bit of both, to be fair.

4 - Well it's alright, but still.

Top Track: Jesus And Bocephus.

Available on iTunes.


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