Kid Rock : Born Free
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Kid Rock : Born Free

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The word may be in his name, and two song titles on his new album also have the word in them… but there isn’t too much ‘rock’ in Kid Rock these days.

The word may be in his name, and two song titles on his new album also have the word in them… but there isn’t too much ‘rock’ in Kid Rock these days. Unless of course you count country-tinged blues as loosely within the rock idiom, as that’s where we find Mr Rock firmly placing himself across Born Free.

The cover photo shows Kid in a relaxed pose, in a convertible with the top down on a sunny day with wide open fields behind him. That pretty much sums it up. This album is made for cruising down a long country highway; made for a relaxed road trip. And if that’s not what you’re up to, or unless you’re heavily into laid back bluesy boogie, it’s kinda got a bland, ‘heard it all before’ vibe to it. He sounds very much on auto-pilot songwriting wise, digging up many-times-plundered grooves and chord sequences, and attempting to spruce it up with some honky tonk piano, female vocals and guests as diverse as Bob Seger, Sheryl Crow (whose distinctive vocal performance in her unhappily brief cameo on We Collide is possibly the high point of the album) and Mary J Blige. Unfortunately all this can’t save this from being one pretty dull ride. It could very easily send you to sleep if you don’t keep your concentration up. And as we all know, drowsy drivers die…

Everyone loves going for a cruise, with the music pumped up loud and the wind in your hair. I’d liken this album to driving across the Nullabor though. Just minus the heat and the danger. It’s long, it’s straight ahead, with virtually no twists and turns, it hardly changes and it’s just plain monotonous after a while. Something you may want to do once for the experience or the curiosity value, and to say that you’ve done it, but you end up extremely reluctant to re-visit it (unless you’re way into that sort of thing of course.)

Born Free is a boring trip from an artist who seems a little fortunate to have the profile he has. Avoid this, there a lot better music out there.