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Released: Nov 12, 2010
Genre: Rock 'n' roll, country rock, blues rock
Label: Atlantic Records/Warner
Number Of Tracks: 12
Kid Rock has never been one to garner the respect he deserves but with Born Free, it may be time.
Born FreeFeatured review by: UG Team, on november 15, 2010 2 of 3 people found this review helpful
Sound: Age often opens up a certain side of musicians. Not one that's particularly surprising, but more human, as an artist tends to put a more natural side of them on display. Sometimes it's due to a change in lifestyle and that could be said for Robert James Ritchie a.k.a. Kid Rock. Having set standards for mainstream hits in the late 90s' with hazardous yet catchy hooks, the soon to be 40-year-old is a now an American roots musician focused on penning a reflection of the times.
With the bumper stickers changed, Kid Rock is, for once, soulful. Opening tracks "Born Free" and "Slow My Roll" present a changed man who isn't afraid of putting a rasp on display while piano chords and a classic guitar sound dance in the background. The eighth trip into the studio may not reflect Rock's past affair with metal and rap rock but it still entwines his former self. "Care" twirls like an adult contemporary single with Martina McBride lending vocals and T.I. sharing a safe-for-work verse of his own while "God Bless Saturday" drapes an American flag across its shoulders as a vintage guitar solo unloads at the halfway point of the track. Due to the roots of the artist, Born Free does claim a country-rock image with a sense of vulnerability, not twang or amateur lyrics about a whiskey girl who bought her first barbecue grill. // 7
Lyrics: It's hard to imagine Kid Rock recording an album with an acoustic feel to it. Instead of trying to touch the peak of his mainstream abilities, the musician presents a care-free attitude, easing his way into choruses without shouting about how he's a cowboy and rides all night because he sleeps all day. The singer did do a take in a similar department with Sheryl Crow in 2002 with the single "Picture", but his vocal talent on Born Free is genuinely remarkable. "Collide" and "Flyin' High" pitch him against more respected voices (Crow and Zac Brown), forcing him to blend with another and not bask in the spotlight by himself. Having taken a softer tone, Rock's lyrics about modern-day blues ("Times Like These", "Rock Bottom Blues") and the state of Detroit provide a message that's actually worth listening to even if it's stereotypical to the bone. // 8
Overall Impression: Witnessing the evolution of Kid Rock's career is almost shocking. Seeing the musician become involved in the honesty of roots rock is identical to watching pop princess Mandy Moore rock the mic as an MC (if that were to happen). His past may point out the transformation isn't a surprise, but the fact his talents have matured and almost erase the youthful angst he once had is a bit staggering. Kid Rock has never been one to garner the respect he deserves but with Born Free, it may be time. Amidst the fireworks show of sincerity and incline in ability, it's difficult not to applaud the road he's taken and what new territories he may create in the next decade of his heavily-criticized career. // 7
kbrulz, on november 15, 2010 2 of 3 people found this review helpful
Sound: Let me begin by saying that I am a Kid Rock fan. I celebrate his entire catalog... Over the past couple of albums, Kid Rock has begun to stray farther and farther from his roots. It all began with the recording of "Picture", the duet with Cheryl Crow. I always appreciated his diversity and ability to play any genre of music, and play it well. But, no one wants to hear Kid Rock sing 12 straight country music songs. He is at his best when his songs jump from hard rock to blues to rap to country"ish" music. This album give us none of that. This is clearly another album that will appeal to all the soccer moms and white trash queens that have begun to overrun his fan base. I understand an artist growing and wanting to change, but don't claim to be the American Badass and give us this.
Another problem I have is that Kid Rock has one of the best bands in music. Yet, Rick Rubin brought in an "All Star" band for the recording process. Chad Smith(RHCP Drummer), David Hidalgo (Los Lobos Guitarist) and Benmont Tench the keyboardist from Tom Petty's Heartbreakers. My question is, WHY?? There is nothing special musically on this entire album. Any session musicians from Nashville could've done just as well. This is the "sound" section of the review, so I will say that the album is well produced and sounds top notch. // 5
Lyrics: The lyrics range from scenic images (Born Free, Purple Sky, and Times Like These), to bar room atmosphere (God Bless Saturday, Flyin' High, and Collide - the latest effort with Chery Crow). The words aren't bad, they're just not what you would expect from the same guy who wrote songs called "Balls in Your Mouth" and "f--k You Blind". Kid Rocks vocals have definitely come a long way. He sounds great and shows range that I don't think anyone knew he had. // 7
Overall Impression: This album is a big step for Kid Rock to leave his rap/rock roots as a thing of the past. Some might think that this is a good thing. I've always thought one of the great things about him is that he did his thing and didn't apologize to anyone for it. He seems to be trying really, really hard to become Bob Seger (who plays piano on the song with Cheryl Crow). I get it, I guess. This was an album I was really looking forward to, and was very disappointed when I heard it. // 6
raymanbaracuda, on november 22, 2010 0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Sound: I have been a Kid Rock fan for quite a while now. It started when I was a beer swilling, smart ass teen who listened to rap music, sagged my pants, and told everyone and anyone to f--k OFF. I purchased an album called Grits Sandwiches for Breakfast. The humor, wit, and talents of Kid Rock really played a role in the way I lived my life. I could go on and on describing the parallels between Kid Rock's music and my life, but its a waste of time, if you get it, you get it, if you do not, its probably because you have an education level that of a 3rd grader. I am now in my early 30's, or is it mid 30's? Well, either way, I have grown to be an adult mosyt of the time, and with that I have opened my mind, expanded my horizons, and have started listening to music more then just for a beat, or a hook. Lyrics have more of an effect on me when I listen to music then anything else, and there is no doubt the subject matter, the lyrics, and effect of Kid Rock's music has grown to proportions I am not sure the man himself could have ever imagined. I have watched it from afar, I have seen it up close, I have been a part of this magical journey in one way or another, and honestly feel as if I myself have grown along with it.
I have seen people say this album is soft, I have heard people complain that Kid Rock has lost his edge, I have even seen some people say there are done with Kid Rock and his music after this album. To me, these people so not understand music, they do not listen to music, they are not open minded, and their credability is lacking. The words and/or message being conveyed on this album is far different then anything Bob has ever done, at the same time, he is taking some responsibility on his shoulders that many artists today are afraid to do. It would be easy for Bob to jump into a studio and yell f--k OFF, BITCH THIS, BITCH THAT, ..., throw his middle fingers in the air, and sell a million records. What alot of people fail to realize is that this journey started way before Devil Without a Cause, and this man has listened to critics call him everything from a rock/rap wigger, to a hack, to even a theif when reviewing All Summer Long. Whether you are an artist, or you are just a regular joe, the last thing you want in life is to not get credit for your work, your abilities, especially if its something you have worked to perfection for years upon years. Kid Rock has surrounded himself with one of the best live bands in the world, he has also brought in some of the finest studio musicians in the world, and has collaborated with some of the most talented song writers, and what it has done has turned him into a well rounded musical genius. // 10
Lyrics: Born Free, from beginning to end is filled with thought provoking lyrics, Lyrics that reflect on life, reflect on his career, and reflect on the state of the Country at a time when people are confused, scared, and worried about the future of their lives, their childrens lives, and the Country in general. If you put this CD in, and listen to the words, you undoubtedly can forget about your own worries, and be entertained, find an escape, find hope. Kid Rock has done just that on every album he has released, only difference being, the escape ultimately was the PARTY. This album relfects the times, but also reflects upon Kid Rock as a grown ass man. He is letting you know, through the words he sings that he has some of the same worries that we have, that even though he is a ROCK STAR, he is also a family man that has to reflect on life sometimes, look around, and realize people are struggling, and while he can't offer answers to everyone, he can share in our worries.
Kid Rock is not 25 anymore, The answer is not to down 20 shots, get some Kid Rock Tickets, and forget whats going on until tomorrow. This album is deep, it is lyrically meaningful, and it is showing a side of Kid Rock that many who have not been fans have never seen. I could sit here and question some of the production, I could question some of the pitches in which some of the songs are sung, but who am I to question a Rock Star for experimenting, or a producer? Instead, I listen to the words being shared, and I feel proud of Kid Rock for saying things that most artists avoid, doing something that most artists will never do. He has gone out of his way to prove his abilities, instead of taking the easy route and making another album of the same material that was successful before. // 10
Overall Impression: I can not wait to hear most of these songs live. I personally am excited to see what TBT and Bob do to thses songs to spice them up for the live shows. I think the Rick Rubin effect that may bother me on a song or two will disappear, and Marlon, Jimmie, Jason, Aaron, Freddie, Stef, Larry, Dave, and the girls will take this music up a few notches and give everyone the true rock n roll feel that maybe some feel is missing. This album shows passion, it shows an artist who is not afraid to progress, it shows writing that is beyond the scope of some pop music bullshit, and it gives everyone a little peak into who and what Kid Rock is all about, after the party ends.
Listen to the album, Listen to the words, listen to the message. This is one of the most well written albums I have heard in some time. I am right around the same age as Bob, I have lived my life in and around some of the same things Bob has, and I have seen alot of the same things happen in and around the city we love...
Bob is the biggest Rock Star of our generation. // 10