Even though he's been on the periphery of the Irish music-buying public's consciousness since his 2000 hit 'American Bad Ass', it's taken Kid Rock eighteen years into his recording career to have a bona fide hit on our fair isle. The fact that it's come in the shape of 'All Summer Long' - a feel-good, middle-of-the-road rock anthem that samples not one, but two classic rock songs, says it all. Kid Rock just isn't as bad-ass as he used to be. Gone are the days when the lyrical content of the Detroit-born musician saw him banned from the airwaves (1990's ode to oral sex 'Yo Da Lin In the Valley'), or his bad boy behaviour won him more tabloid column inches than ex-wife Pamela Anderson's bust measurement.
No, the new Kid Rock is one that has largely foregone his hybrid of rap/rock in favour of a more considered, accessible sound. The problem is that he's subsequently been drained of any of his debatably interesting qualities in favour of a samey, often bland southern rock flavour. Much of Rock N Roll Jesus falls between uptempo, catchy, radio-friendly rock hits with a country/soul/gospel flavour (Amen, When U Love Someone, Blue Jeans and Rosary) and the occasional nod to his former guise (the harder, faster So Hott (opening line: "You got a body like the Devil and you smell like sex") and the twisted, metal-edged Sugar).
Of course, the ubiquitous Lynyrd Skynyd/Warren Zevon-sampling All Summer Long will be the main reason that people buy this album. The perfect soundtrack to drunken teen nights, GAA club celebrations and festival campsite singalongs, it's as dreary as it is lacklustre, and is therefore, unsurprisingly, a huge hit. As much as he'd like to be seen as a saviour of rock 'n' roll, however, Kid Rock is instead, the new John Cougar Mellencamp. Make of that what you will.