“I’ll fuck you in your ass quick with Taylor Swift’s dick” announces Kid Rock charmingly on “Grandpa’s Rap,” an old-school shock-rap parody marrying toxic content with winking deniability. As comedy or bait for Twitter moralists – even from a pretend Senate candidate who’s supped at the White House with our potty-mouth president – it’s pretty lame.
But it’s on brand for Michigan son Bob Richie, heir to the upstart, hot-button entertainment tradition that’s given us Iggy Pop, Alice Cooper and Eminem. What’s notable about his 11th studio set is how entertaining, even empathetic, it can occasionally be. “Po’ Dunk” lovingly raises a glass to “batshit crazy” redneck culture; “Tennessee Mountain Top” is a combo Hollywood Babylon kiss-off and “Sweet Home Alabama”-style mash note; “I Wonder” cross-pollinates Prince and Bob Seger. If “Greatest Show on Earth” is generic hard-rock chest-thumping, “American Rock & Roll” is admirably inclusive corn, and the gruffly touching cover of the Four Tops’ “I Can’t Help Myself” is nonpartisan home-ground pride.