It's unlikely that even Kid Rock believed he had an album as good as Devil Without a Cause in him. Nobody else believed it, that's for sure. But he didn't just find the perfect extension of his Beastie and Diamond Dave infatuations here, he came up with the great hard rock album of the late '90s -- a fearlessly funny, bone-crunching record that manages to sustain its strength, not just until the end of its long running time, but through repeated plays. The key to its success is that it's never trying to be a hip-hop record. It's simply a monster rock album, as Twisted Brown Trucker turns out thunderous, funky noise -- and that's funky not just in the classic sense, but also in a Southern-fried, white trash sense, as he gives this as much foundation in country as he does hip-hop. But what really reigns supreme on Devil Without a Cause is a love of pile-driving, classic hard rock, not just that of hometown hero Bob Seger, but Lynyrd Skynyrd, Van Halen, and faceless arena rock ballads. The Kid makes it all shine with rhymes so clever and irresistible that it's impossible not to quote them. For all its modernity -- Rock's rapping, the titanic metallic guitars, Joe C's sideshow sidekick, the plea to "get in the pit and try to love someone" -- this is firmly in the tradition of classic hard rock, and it's the best good-time hard rock album in years (certainly the best of the last three years of the '90s).
Devil Without a Cause Review
by Stephen Thomas Erlewine