Kid Rock must have led the most idyllic, kick ass adolescence and young adulthood imaginable if you go by the testimony of his songs. His entire career has been taking his cues from fellow ‘Gander Bob Seger and singing about how he’d love to go back and live it all again. That, and stealing riffs from other people’s established hits has been Kid’s truck now for 25 years. In Kid Rock songs all the chicks are hot and you can still water ski in mid-December, when in reality the majority of Kid Rock’s rearing was spent smoking marijuana behind Burger King’s, getting his ass kicked for being the white Run DMC of his town, and masturbating to water-logged copies of Playboy out in the woods by a trailer park in cold-ass Michigan.
It’s pretty easy to use Kid Rock and his greasy hair as a punching bag, but he set himself up with this new “First Kiss” single, specifically sent to country radio. This song has been done, and done again, and then done some more, and then redundantly done until it was run into the ground, and just to make sure every single bit of life has been exhaustively squeezed out of this nostalgic concept before Kid Rock is forced to stop touring from liver failure, he’s done it one last final time. Hopefully, at least.
It’s not that this song is bad as much as it’s so incredibly tired and unnecessary. And to make it worse, Mr. Ritchie assures its redundancy by shoehorning one clichÃ© lyric after another.
“I turn my stereo up and roll my windows down.” — Yeah yeah Kid Rock.
“Oh how I wish that I could go back in time.” — Don’t we all.
“We’d break up just to make up.” — Kill me now.
Meanwhile the music of “First Kiss” sits down in this tired old mid-tempo version of schlock rock that just feels like it’s going through the motions—Kid’s raspy vocals not completely unimpressive and attempting to instill some life into this incredibly worn-out shuck of a song, but in no way redeeming the effort. It’s not that the wheels are falling of just yet, but the tires are bald and it all feels like it’s running on borrowed time. At least that “All Summer Long” song had some life instilled into it from the Lynyrd Skynyrd and Warren Zevon samples.
One thing that sucks about this being Kid Rock’s re-entry into country radio is that his earlier dalliances weren’t all that bad when going back and giving them a second listen. “Picture” from 2003 with Allison Moorer / Sheryl Crow is an easy-to-admit-to guilty pleasure, and his cover of David Allan Coe’s “Single Father” wouldn’t stop you from listening.
As strange as it may sound, Kid Rock is actually in this unusual position to be able to come to country radio with some authority and possibly ruffle the feathers of this new cocksure class conspiring at the top of the charts. Greasy hair or not, Rock has always come to the country format with a level of respect most of country’s current artists can’t even comprehend.
Furthermore, Kid Rock has been known to speak out about things such as lip-syncing and Autotune in the past. Don’t get me wrong, Kid also has blood on his own hands from being one of the pioneers of country rap and other Cancerous trends in Americana popular music, but maybe that would put him in a position where the young pups who need a good slap on the backside would actually listen to him if he said there should be more respect for country’s roots, as he’s alluded to before when he said, “I think what country can do to better its image is to be more themselves to try not to be part of the pop world and not try to be part of the mainstream.”
But I guess that’s all wishful thinking. In the end “First Kiss” is being released to country simply to snag some attention for Kid Rock as his stock slowly dwindles and the support of rock radio continues to evaporate. There’s nothing country about it, and just like other “country” singles, it’s taking advantage of the fact that the format at the moment is a rudderless ship.
In a vacuum, this isn’t a terrible song. But from the amount of times it’s been done, it’s pretty much an immediate punch out.
1 1/2 of 2 Guns Down.