I've listened to Kid Rock's new CD several times now, and all I can say is that it is, without a doubt, one of the best he has put out. I realize he's probably alienated legions of his old hard core rap fans, but the album shows tremendous growth as an artist. The former Bob Ritchie was fed a staple diet of rhythym & blues, Motown, and Bob Seger while growing up in Michigan, and the influences are evident on this release. To those who feel it is necessary to dismiss Kid Rock's latest effort as "pop" a la Brittany Spears, I'm afraid to say that your perspective is narrow, and your taste is all in your mouth.
Far from pure country, "Born Free" is reminiscent of the many artists who built the classic rock genre. It has that familiar feel to it, but Kid Rock still manages to make the tunes stand apart, and sound fresh. It's a little bit Eagles, a lot of Bob Seger (at some points, you'd swear it IS the Silver Bullet Band) and it's very much Rock'n'Roll.
Refusing to restrict himself to a singular, and limited, audience, Kid Rock continues to broaden his overall appeal. Although he can rap, it's my feeling that Mr. Ritchie is returning to his roots rather than abandoning them. Now that he's north of 40, the Kid appears to be making a move towards becoming a more soulful, reflective rocker. The songs have depth, address his love for the Detroit area, but still have enough punch to maintain his party personna. The collaborations with Martina McBride, Big Bob himself, and Zac Brown all work extremely well. Finally, if he and Sheryl Crow sounded any better together, they'd be picking out china patterns.
All in all, one of my favourite releases in recent memory. Solid from top to bottom, "Born Free" is an outstanding CD.