Kid Rock: Rock And Roll Jesus

Kid Rock: Rock And Roll Jesus

C+

Kid Rock

Album: Rock And Roll Jesus
Label: Atlantic

The extent to which one can enjoy—or even tolerate—a Kid Rock album generally depends on how seriously one believes Kid Rock takes himself. Rock And Roll Jesus finds Kid happily wallowing in a pool of butt-rock clichés: hair-metal guitars, southern-rock licks, and leering sentiments like "I don't wanna be your friend / I wanna fuck you like I'm never gonna see you again." That gem, from "So Hott," seems even more ridiculous aside shlocky ballads like "When You Love Someone" and the gospel-tinged "Amen."

It all seems a little too absurd, to the point where listeners have to wonder if it might be some masterminded thesis on rock memes. It's almost certainly not, but when approached as an exercise in maximalism, Jesus is probably Kid's best album. Such balls-out cock-rockery has its place—mainly shady roadhouses and strip-club runways—and it's handled with gusto: no solo is too excessive, no scream too corny, no experiment too blasphemous (not even a mash-up of "Werewolves Of London" with "Sweet Home Alabama"). Jesus spits in the face of good taste with such unbridled enthusiasm that it's almost possible overlook its more cringe-inducing tendencies. Almost.