“Rap rock is dead.”
Those words were spoken by one of the giants of the genre, Bob Ritchie, as he was giving music advice to his son.
Ritchie, better known as Kid Rock, has taken his own advice and abandoned the genre that made him famous.
His albums, since 2007’s “Rock N Roll Jesus,” have steered towards a mix of country and rock. Rock’s new album, “First Kiss,” proudly follows that pattern.
The title track, “First Kiss,” sounds very similar to Rock’s 2010 hit, “Born Free.” It’s a hard-driving song, with a simple, yet powerful chorus.
Rock’s authentic attitude comes through immediately after, with “Good Times, Cheap Wine.” The politically-incorrect song has Rock voicing his opinions on things such as the band Coldplay and the popular music festival, Coachella.
Rock’s one of the few semi-mainstream artists that can get away with taking these shots, since he’s never really been embraced by any branch of the music industry to begin with.
The political-incorrectness doesn’t stop there, by any means, with songs like “Ain’t Enough Whiskey,” and “Drinking Beer With Dad.” These songs take shots at more than just the entertainment industry, calling out politicians, criminals and society.
Regardless of where you stand on the subject matter, the music’s solid, with the hard rocking “Ain’t Enough Whiskey,” and the smoother country side of things with “Drinking Beer With Dad.”
“Best Of Me,” which has been floating around the Internet for two years, finally sees the light of day on this album. The song, which Rock wrote for George Jones and performed at the country legend’s funeral, seems to fit for Rock just as well as it would have for Jones. The song is simply about a hard-living man whose life is dedicated to a good woman.
There are two things that a Kid Rock album has to have — Hank Williams Jr. and Bob Seger. The first of which is taken care of with “Jesus and Bocephus.” Though the country icon surprisingly doesn’t make an appearance, the song pays tribute to him and his music.
Depending on which version of the album you buy — explicit or edited — you’ll get a different closing track. With the explicit version, you’ll get a song called “FOAD,” the meaning of which can be found with a quick Google search. Though the song is a fun breakup number, it really reaches its true potential with the edited album version, “Say Goodbye,” co-written with Bob Seger, who insisted Rock had ruined the song with the lyrics and raspy vocals. Seger co-wrote the alternate version with Rock and gave him advice on how to better the vocals, which Rock said turned out to be one of his best vocal performances in an interview with Rolling Stone.
“First Kiss” is a redeeming follow-up to the disappointing “Rebel Soul,” released in 2012, which Rock admits he didn’t spend enough time on. The album is as authentic as Rock’s personality and will please fans almost as much as his upcoming tour with rock legends Foreigner. Rock’s bringing back his popular “$20 Best Night Ever” tour plan, with $20 tickets, $20 T-shirts, $4 beer and cheap parking and concessions.