Kid Rock – Born Free (2010)

Posted: February 19, 2011 in Music

“I am an American Badass!” – or so we once thought. November 2010 saw Kid Rock release Born Free, and quite frankly, it’s a dud. We’ve known for a few albums now that the gold chains and Kangol hat have been replaced by blue jeans and Jim Beam, but up until now there has always been at least a hint of the screaming and guitar crunches still in the reserve tank – enough at least to keep the fans of the original sound still on the hook. But, alas, it has now come to this.

Kid Rock’s new album Born Free is too mellow and wholesome to be considered Rock & Roll. The various tracks comprise a generic country/Christian themed album that could be heard over the loudspeaker in Walmart. You will tap your foot while in the store but you will never think about the melody again after you leave. The compositions are not strong enough to impress, and the lyrics are not powerful enough to garner attention.

It’s disappointing because Kid possesses the voice and the charisma to inspire, but this album does not reflect those characteristics. Instead, he stays in the comfort zone of carefree, nondescript country ballads that fail to make a lasting impression. Mostly, the songs are about freedom, relaxing, and being a good man under God, all of which are good intentions – but it’s not what you want to hear from Kid. The incorporation of several religious and biblical references runs counter to his established image. When the artist’s name is Kid Rock a little more rocking is expected. Worship music is something I expect from Amy Grant, not him.

The best songs on the record are those that feature collaborations with guest artists, such as Sheryl Crowe, T. I. and others. Martina McBride does a good job on “Care.” Her gospel-inspired contribution to this song adds a much needed sassiness to the mix. The presence of other artists gives a distinguishable character to the tracks while the songs where Kid performs alone sound too similar to one another.

Several songs have astonishingly powerful background singers that blow Rock away vocally. “Rock Bottom Blues,” forced me to listen closely to the woman’s voice while Kid Rock served more as a distraction. Perhaps if he tried experimenting with his singing or doing something other than singing in a cliché manner typical of stars in this genre, the record could have been better.

“Born Free,” the title track, is not a bad song but there is nothing special about it that stays with you. It’s unfortunate because this album really makes the listener wish that the next song will be something more, something different than the last, but it just doesn’t happen. What does occur is that you actually feel bad for disliking the product that Kid seemed to have really tried to make enjoyable or at least positive.

In the late 90’s Kid Rock seemed just about seasoned to make it as a real artist and gain some Rock & Roll street cred. The hit song “Bawitdaba” was going to pave his way and forge him into a bona fide rock star even though it still was not the best song at that time. This album makes “Bawitdaba” sound like an epic accomplishment.

“Purple Sky” features lyrics such as “I want to drink till I’m not thirsty, I want to sleep till I’m not tired” and all that comes to mind is that it’s obvious information that does not need to make up the key lyrics of the piece.

Kid Rock has mellowed out over the years. He used to fuse rap and rock with energetic beats and moved butts. Born Free completely lacks those necessary elements. His latest incarnation is a good natured guy who is struggling to find his place in the current world of country/rock/Christian music. Sadly, this album consists of the same stuff we heard many times before – and the original thrill and energy of Kid Rock has obviously been left far behind.

01 – Born Free
02 – Slow My Roll
03 – Care (feat. Martina McBride & T.I.)
04 – Purple Sky
05 – When It Rains
06 – God Bless Saturday
07 – Collide (feat. Sheryl Crow & Bob Seger on piano)
08 – Flyin’ High (feat. Zac Brown)
09 – Times Like These
10 – Rock On
11 – Rock Bottom Blues
12 – For the First Time (In a Long Time)
13 – Care (Demo Version)

MySpace: Link | Wiki: Link | Download (320kbps): Link


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