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Released: Nov 19, 2012
Genre: Southern Rock, Country Rock
Number Of Tracks: 14
Kid Rock continues to blur the line between country and southern rock, having come a long way from the nature of his earliest releases. Whether this is a positive or negative transformation depends on your personal taste in music.
Rebel SoulFeatured review by: UG Team, on november 20, 2012 2 of 4 people found this review helpful
Sound: What a long strange trip Kid Rock's career has been. Before his career took off Kid Rock was a straight up hip hop artist playing clubs with local success in the late 80's and early 90's. He gave up hip hop and slowly rebranded himself as a rock act. When he first came back into public notice it was with his 4th studio release, "Devil Without A Cause", in 1998. At this point his music was straight forward rock with some rapped lyrics and now in 2012 he is deeply entrenched in southern rock with some pretty extensive forays into country music, with very occasional rapped lyrics or more hip hop tracks. So, basically you have someone who started their career purely hip hop and are now considered as THE most well known southern rock act of our times with the exception of Lynyrd Skynyrd.
"Rebel Soul" is Kid Rock's 11th studio album, and contains 14 tracks. The total run-time of the album is a few minutes over an hour. The current lineup of his band has been fairly stable since around 2007, with the addition of Shannon Curfman who was added in 2010 on guitar and backing vocals. Stacy Michelle who had previously added backup vocals left the group in 2009, as well. Like a lot of other southern rock bands, the sound depends on multiple guitars Kid Rock's current lineup consists of 3 guitarists, not including his own occasional playing live. Bones Trombly and Paradime add keyboards, organ, turntables and programming. The end result is a very full textured tapestry of sound on every song you really won't find much in the way of stripped down tracks on this album (though Kid Rock does marginally attempt the stripped down blues sound that has been popular lately with the track "Catt Boogie"). From a stylistic point of view, Kid Rock knows what he is doing his song structure, instrumentation, backup vocals and vocal harmony it is all immaculate in its own context. This is a solid album. // 7
Lyrics: "Rebel Soul" finds Kid Rock continuing his recent attempt of mixing in some political views and social commentary, which has been showing up on his last few albums. Kid Rock obviously supports the troops and wants to make sure we all know it. My brother is in the military and I am proud of him and what he does, but with a lot of the support the troops music that comes out it just feels like artists are capitalizing on the market. I feel like that is what is going on with Kid Rock, but I guess when you look at the time he spends performing for troops and such it doesn't really matter if he is sincere. Kid Rock's voice is really the ideal for his specific brand of music with strong melody sounding like it is coming through slight gravel. You can't really complain about the quality of the vocals. With the exception of just a couple of covers on the album, the remainder was written by Kid Rock.
From the first single off of "Rebel Soul", here are some lyrics from "Lets Ride": "Used as a scapegoat taped to the wall/ bruised and abused on some foreign soil/ trained to kill baby, that's what we do/ and programmed to bleed red white and blue/ come on and grab your guns, lets ride/ and may your conscience be your guide/ I'll say a prayer for you to make it through to the other side/ tonight's the night we fight or die/ grab your guns son said we headed for war/ like your uncle JT done years before/ no p*ssy, no dope, this ain't Saigon/ but keep your heads up for roadside bombs/ c'mon and grab your guns let's ride/ and may your conscience be your guide/ I'll say a prayer for you to make it through to the other side/ tonight's the night we fight or die/ Even in darkness you're my strength my soul my will to survive/ but in this fight I stand ready to die". // 6
Overall Impression: My favorite song on the album would probably be "Chickens In The Pen" and my least favorite song by a large margin is "Happy New Year". It may just be me, but the song "Happy New Year" grates on my nerves like crazy for some reason. I hate to say it, but I really like the song "Cucci Galore" the funky bassline and rhythm are really catchy, and when the heavy chorus comes in the song won me over. In retrospect, after several listens there are songs for everyone (with a lot of genre blending) and well practiced song craft involved in this album. Kid Rock has been active in music for a good while now, and while he has changed over time, you have to admit he knows what he's doing. If you are a fan of Kid Rock's previous work then you will enjoy this album. If you are a fan of southern rock then you will enjoy this album. If you are looking for an album to play in your pickup truck while you go mudding, you will probably like this album. If you are a huge fan of Cannibal Corpse then this might not be an album you'd enjoy. I personally find myself somewhere in the middle. While I like the album well enough, only a few of the songs really stand out to me. You may want to preview and then pick and choose which tracks you purchase. // 6
UG Team, on november 19, 2012 1 of 3 people found this review helpful
Sound: Kid Rock started his career in the music industry in the early 90's as an angst-filled rapper of a sort who eventually matured into the guy from Michigan who specialized in southern rock. After hearing "Born Free" being played during many sporting events on TV, I am born ready (insert cheesy drum fill) for "Rebel Soul". In his first album released to iTunes, Kid Rock maintains his course of good ol' American southern rock but you can definitely feel his rap influences in certain songs like "The Mirror". It's also interesting to see his use of mechanical claps in this album and how they are contributed in both a southern and rap context.
As I said, in certain songs like "Cucci Galore" and "The Mirror", it is quite easy to see that Kid Rock was once a rapper. And then to the exact opposite, you have songs like "Cocaine And Gin" and "Redneck Paradise" which follow southern rock ideas (did I really need to say it?).
On "Cucci Galore" in particular, I thought he did a particularly good job of striking a relationship between rap and rock, using rap verses and meshing them with a killer riff, which led to an exceptional chorus. The guitar solos under the main rhythm also provided a nice texture to make this song a favorite.
"Midnight Ferry" illustrates Kid Rock's taste by using a simple, quiet structure for the guitar so that his vocals are valued most along with the hallelujah hey chorus line that he does with female backing vocalists. Even the guitar fills blend in in a way that I wouldn't quite notice them if I wasn't a guitarist. Nevertheless, this isn't a negative because it puts the song on a unicellular course, which suits it well.
"Let's Ride", a patriotic song written for the U.S. Military, presents a great hard rock riff at the beginning that isn't really used again throughout the song, but the feeling permeates through, mixing well with the other parts of the song. The reason I highlight this song is that it diverges from the two dominant genres of this album southern rock and rap and instead just takes a straight rock approach.
Lastly, I thought "Mr. Rock N Roll" was the best song on this album. It starts off with a cute little groove on the ride cymbal before breaking into a pentatonic fueled rocker that has a hint of southern feel. The song slows down quite a bit in the middle, giving way to harmonized vocals with a lead guitar in the undercurrent. It then goes back to the main section of the song that takes the song home. The way the piano, guitar, and harmonies mingled in the mix was excellent. This is the song that most makes me want to jump around on the album leading it to be the song that I would most want to hear live.
Overall, most of the songs on this album are fully southern rock with the exceptions I noted above and then maybe a few more. There were usually guitar leads but it varied to what degree and at what volume and gain level. There was a consistent serving of vocal harmonies, some done by Kid Rock, others done by female vocalists. The drums, piano, and bass all complemented the music very well. // 7
Lyrics: Lyrically, Kid Rock impressed me with his lyrics that were sometimes funny, sometimes serious, and sometimes just plain rock and roll. They impressed me because they all accomplished their purpose in their respective songs, a characteristic true in all of the instruments on this album. I'm still trying to decide if "Redneck Paradise" is an insult or not with the line, "I might get a little tipsy - I might be past my prime - But pour me some gin with (?) whiskey - and I'll show you a real good time." He also fairly impressed me on "Mr. Rock N Roll" with the line, "he rocked around the clock in blue suede shoes - but still there ain't no cure for the summertime blues - he took a Mississippi Queen to Katmandu, a Stairway to Heaven and yelled Hey Jude - so now tell me ____ Mary who do you love?"
Granted these lyrics follow a tried and true rhyming scheme, I'm an easy person to impress and when I can memorize verses from songs like that, I give the artist credit for making the lyrics memorable.
Vocally, Kid Rock excels on this album, controlling his use of his voice and harmonies to add depth to the album. As I said before, Kid Rock was able to shape his voice and instruments so that they complimented each other and focused on a certain sound at a certain time, making the songs relatively easy to follow for the listener. // 8
Overall Impression: On an impression standpoint, my first one is that this album was very well thought out from beginning to end. Though I wish there was less flat southern rock, Kid Rock obviously knew what he wanted on this record and delivered a refreshing mix of rock, southern, and rap all inside a Ted Nugent like republican, redneck paradise.
I believe that this album will easily suit a mainstream music crowd, which will probably lead to some of the songs gaining radio credibility, a characteristic that too many of the artists discussed on UG lack. I definitely think that a song or two will make it as a sports television staple, like "Born Free".
Anyone on this website, regardless of your personal preferences, ought to give a few of these songs a listen because I think that the depth will pleasantly surprise you, if you're willing to look for it. For me, this album has already earned a spot among the 630 songs on my iPod and it will surely occupy a fair amount of my listening time for the next few weeks. On "Rebel Soul", my favorite song is "Mr. Rock N Roll" and I hope someone comments positively on "Cucci Galore" or "The Mirror" because this type of rap isn't nearly as treasonous as other mainstream material and it ought to be given a chance.
By Parker Abt // 8