Kid Rock has made about as dramatic a musical change between the genre he started in and the one he’s at now as any music artist. Considering he began as a Detroit hip-hop star (see one of his first singles, and arguably still his finest song, “Bawitdaba”), Rock’s conversion to country music is fairly convincing.
Although Rock is genuine in his dedication to his new genre, it doesn’t mean he’s good at it. First single and title track “Born Free” gets the album off to a rough start. The song almost sounds desperate in its attempt to convince country fans that Rock is serious. It latches onto the theme of freedom and the inherent pro-America attitude that comes with it. The song doesn’t deserve the prominent spot that it gets on the new album.
The rest of the album is easier to chew on. “God Bless Saturday” is a blue-collar anthem based on counting down to the weekend. It would be easy to point out that Rock has probably not been able to go to a blue-collar bar since “Devil Without A Cause” debuted in 1998, but Rock can sure sell it.
Rock hasn’t completely shed his hip-hop persona, however. He tries to get the best of both worlds on the song “Care.” Country artist Martina McBride sings a verse, and rapper T.I. adds his own verse later in the song. McBride fits in nicely, but T.I’s contribution comes off as contrived (for a better guest verse from T.I, see the review to the left).
Rock could certainly be better on his new album, but he could be a lot worse. He’s not great, but at least he isn’t fake.