It’s hard to put a pin in exactly who Kid Rock really is and what he does. He built his stage name (birth name Bob Ritchie) on blending several music forms and styles together into a cohesive and oft-times harmonious tracks that were not as revolutionary in terms of music history, but they were catchy and very successful. From his seminal “Bawitdaba” to “Cowboy” to a work that shattered most people’s pre-conceived notions of Kid Rock in “Only God Knows Why,” Kid Rock spent time honing his craft and putting out very deliberate music that touched many chords within us all that had never been plucked simultaneously before.
Giving him this much credit makes it hard to write what I need to write: Kid Rock fell off the proverbial wagon after his mainstream debut. Sure, there was ‘The History of Rock’ compilation, but after that, Kid Rock became a man stuck between the rock of his musical integrity and the hard-place of commercial success. His fans and record executives wanted more sounds like his hits, especially “Only God Knows Why,” but he wanted to keep on and grow as a performer. This would have been admirable if that had been what happened. Unfortunately, seeing what sold and made him money led him down the road of salty ballads, and a more pop-rock sound that eventually led him to move away from his hip-hop sensibilities and toward a more southern rock sound that, quite frankly, will not make him the lost Williams member that he yearns to be.
Track of Distinction: “My Oedipus Complex” that I heard on ‘The History of Rock’ but was originally recorded and released on his indie album ‘The Polyfuze Method‘ in 1993. The track is a multi-layer exploration into the mind that includes the bitter and the sweet, the manic and the depressive, and the aligned and the chaotic. I’m sure a Master’s thesis in behavioral psychology could be penned by dissecting this piece but, for now, it’s simply worth the listen.