A sprawling disc of storytelling, pop history and partying, Kid Rock's ninth studio album seeks the grooves and reach of classic soul – with a Detroit bull-god spin, of course. Self-produced in Michigan with his colorful Twisted Brown Trucker Band, this ruggedly consistent and robustly sung music jumps genres and makes statements. Soul, according to Kid Rock, does what it wants.
Supple Berlin techno beats course under a tale of ruined love on "The Mirror," and the chocolate martinis and Lambos of "Cucci Galore" make for an iconic hip-hop hot-tub session. There are Camaro-rock anthems ("Let's Ride," "3 CATT Boogie"), an ode to livestock and sex ("Chickens in the Pen") and the poignant "Detroit, Michigan," a Motor City Mount Rushmore that includes shouts to the Supremes, George Clinton and Eminem. But whether he's singing about guns, preachers or the rock-star grind, these songs all come back to the Kid's signature Seventies-steeped theme: "I'm still tryin' to be, I'm still singin' in key/I'm still livin' free," he swears in "God Save Rock n Roll." The album ends with "Midnight Ferry," a midtempo ballad where Rock vows to "carry on my way with, yes, the world." Rebel Soul makes that world hotter – but also warmer.
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