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Thou shalt not covet thy idols

Kid Rock

"Rock N Roll Jesus" (Atlantic/Top Dog)

While only the most extreme among Kid Rock fans would bow down and proclaim the "early-mornin' stoned pimp" their lord and savior, anyone who's ever enjoyed his brand of raunchy, silly, occasionally earnest rawk will be entertained by this second coming. As usual, he is obsessed with classic rock, dropping references both musical and lyrical, fast and furious. Among the name-checked and sampled are Lynyrd Skynyrd, AC/DC, Ted Nugent, and Steve Miller, which, added to the evocations of the holy heartland trinity of Springsteen, Mellencamp, and Seger pretty much tells you everything you need to know about "Jesus." Namely that there are loud guitars, female backing choirs, big attitudes, and reflective detours away from the gutter into high school nostalgia and rants about the state of the world. Sometimes Rock strikes the perfect balance of influence and invention as on the Mellencamp-y "Amen." Other times he finds it difficult to disentangle himself from what he idolizes and ends up with a derivative muddle, like "All Summer Long," a veritable mash-up of "Sweet Home Alabama" and "Werewolves of London." But even his derivative muddles exhibit such an irresistible zing that you find yourself laughing at and singing along to and not worrying that maybe his heroes did it first and did it better. [Sarah Rodman]


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