reviewed by MC5, November 2003
This album was "classic rock" as soon as it appeared in 2003 and I mean that by way of criticism. Here Kid Rock is claiming to be better than the "Rolling Stones" and numerous other bands. Yet his music lacks newness. Listeners will hear "ZZ Top" and other influences some of which he mentions, but while he claims in "I am" that "you'll never put your finger on me," because he's mastered southern, country, hip-hop and soul, this is just old classic rock as soon as it came out.
The exception might be the one rap song, "Intro." It's not that he does a bad job playing classic rock. "Feel Like Makin' Love" is done well as far as that goes. It's uncommon for an artist to do a cover better than the original, and Kid Rock might claim that he has with this tune.
MIM has explained that one might even "like" this music while knowing rationally that there is something wrong with it, maybe even profoundly wrong and evil. Being a Maoist means being a revolutionary scientist and that means having the ability to question everything that we like.
It's irritating how every musician has to tell fans of his or her originality and synthesis of previous genres. We Maoists consider this a petty-bourgeois thing--the belief in individuals above it all. Pop musicians tend to buy petty-bourgeois politics with a vengeance. The best part is that this petty-bourgeois attitude comes into shape in antagonism toward the corporations that sell their music. Kid Rock has gone so far as to produce his own music before turning it over to Atlantic. The point is that these artists know very well that they are under pressure from monopoly capitalist corporations.
The down side of this corporations versus artists conflict is that it carries over into everything else, as when Kid Rock sings his own private virtues. If it is artist versus the corporation, then it pays to name brand one's self and that's what Kid Rock does. Such individualism is corrosive to all class, national and gender struggle in which the oppressed cannot win one-on-one fights but must find a path of unity that leads out of group oppression.
Today Kid Rock might be better known for his one-time relationship with super-model Pam Anderson. Like most popular rock musicians, Kid Rock builds an image of conquering wimmin. The song "Rock n' Roll" is about sex with groupies and a rough attitude. However, even apart from the self-hyping attitude, MIM also would have a beef with Kid Rock apart from all that because of his identity politics. In "Hillbilly Stomp" and "Son of Detroit," Kid Rock proudly proclaims he is a long-haired redneck.
Kid Rock probably has good intentions with this bit about Detroit and being a redneck. Detroit and rap have an image of being all-Black. Kid Rock is obviously making some peace his way. On the other hand, the many whites who react to acceptance that the white people have oppressed the others is to try to narrow focus. They stop claiming to be better than everyone else or having a right to own slaves, but they build identities of which to be proud.
For MIM, there is no reason to be proud of being a redneck yet (and the long-haired bit is irrelevant though some people who have problems with it are intolerant of the wrong things in general as Kid Rock would probably agree). White trash are reacting to what other people with other identities are doing when what needs to be done is for white people to transform themselves, not stand in pride in their existing identities or find the details that they see oppressed groups searching for in their own history.
The redneck says he or she is not responsible for his ancestors' being slaveowners or lynch-mob members. Many will go so far as to say the United $tates should not try to be the global cop as in Iraq right now. Yet if the redneck is not responsible for the invasion of Iraq, then no one is. It was not just a handful of corporate bankers going in there Rambo-style guns ablazin' and though national minorities are disproportionately in the military services, 68% of Blacks opposed the war before it started while only 20% of whites did, which means that 2% of rednecks did once we exclude the Northern and West Coast urban professional whites who opposed it. The whole world is looking to the Amerikkkan redneck and wondering when s/he expects to get along with the rest of world. The redneck population of the world is the 10% facing off against the 90%. It stands to reason that the 10% are going to be at war with the 90% as in Iraq and that the sooner and more thoroughly the rednecks go through self-transformation, the sooner the peace can come.