1998, Music

Devil Without a Cause (1998) by Kid Rock

Full disclosure: I don’t like Kid Rock. I don’t like his urban hick persona. I don’t like his public support of The Donald. I don’t like that he owns a craft brewery that makes watery lagers because he didn’t think there were enough watery lagers available in the United States. If I never heard another word about Kid Rock, I would be fine with that.

But this record was a big hit, so I felt obligated to discuss it on my podcast. However, my guest for that episode has declined because he feels as though we will spend the segment shitting on this record – he’s not wrong – so I’ve listened to it my requisite three times even though I won’t actually discuss it on the show. That feels like a shame.

Kid Rock and his Twisted Brown Trucker Band have written some catchy songs, or at least parts of them. There are hooks and sometimes they get in your head whether you like it or not. There are too many of these songs, but at least they’re catchy.

The lyrics on the other hand… I don’t listen to much hip hop but Rock seems to change topics mid song all the time. I mean, in practically every song. The chorus’ topic and the verses often don’t fit, or the bridge. They feel like they are all different songs. It feels as though he’s written these lyrics in response to listening to both the raps and the hooks (the samples too?) in a whole bunch of songs and decided each song should be a collage of different rhymes, whether or not they’re related. He’s like an urban, redneck, shitty ’90s Beck who decided to record all the music himself.

The approach to lyrics is the same as the approach to the production. Most of the stuff here sounds like they created it themselves, instead of relying on samples. I think that’s something to give them credit for, but it’s a little weird, right? It sounds like it was created partially from samples but it probably wasn’t. Why do that?

There’s nothing about this that I like. It’s not rock enough for me, it’s too hip hop, it’s not country enough, the lyrics bug me, etc. But reviewing this in 2018 I cannot really underestimate its importance for Bro Country. I don’t know much about Bro Country, but most of what I know sounds like they all grew up with this record and decided to make it more country. So, though this record is not good, it’s certainly influential. Isn’t that wonderful.

5/10 due to its unfortunate influence

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