Over his career Kid Rock has done quite a remarkable thing. No, I’m not talking about bridging the genres of rock, rap, and country. I’m talking about being able to make a successful career out of being a glorified trailer park king, while at the same time besmirching the image of trailer park kings all across our great land with his colossal lack of taste and creativity.
When Kid Rock first started making moves into the country scene, I didn’t consider him pop, I just considered him bad. His recent single is the epitome of everything wrong with mainstream country. Somehow the man figured how to rip off two classic rock songs, call on every single pop country cliche on the list including reminiscent references to “going to the lake,” “summer,” and even a pot reference targeted to the disgruntled teenagers of suburbia, and still get it all in a radio-friendly under 3-minute format.
Kid Rock has also stepped in it more times than a cattle farmer. Before Rock’s sham publicity-stunt marriage to Pamela Anderson crumbled, he had the gall to get in Hank Williams III’s face to give him family advise. Oh the irony.
But Kid Rock has finally done something that I can agree with. Apparently a while back, in an interview with CMT writer Whitney Self, Kid Rock, likely while wearing a mauve feather boa 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. … If you really want to get down to country music, just be more of that, exactly what it is. So, go where you’re celebrated, not tolerated. You can have a much more enjoyable experience in life with everything.”
Though I think this is a little of the pot talking to the kettle, I have to say I agree with Kid Rock 100%. Of all the criticisms I could make of the guy, I do think that when it comes to his music, he’s always done what he’s wanted to do, and not necessarily followed the money. His taste is about as good as licking a red brick, but I can understand that from his point of view, which a lot of times has been from outside of music genres looking in, a lot of pop country artists don’t belong in the country genre.
I think this story also points out that the elements of the country genre that cannot get a place under the country tent because they’ve been crowded out by pop are starting to make a difference. The reason that Whitney Self brought up this Kid Rock quote was because “Constantly, I am reading this battle on the CMT blog between people claiming a certain artist is too pop while another is too country, or not enough, and so on and so forth.”
Before detractors of pop country could be explained away as weak disparate elements. Now it seems like the detractors of pop country are in full throat outside the pearly gates of Nashville, and are gaining more attention and traction every day. Soon, the money changers who run Music City will be faced with some choices: work to add more country elements to the mainstream of the genre, or have the caterwauling of disapproval drown out whatever the mainstream is doing.
Never thought I would say this, but well said Kid Rock.