John Rich

Rich Rocks

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Capping off his run on the spring 2011 season of the Celebrity Apprentice -- aka, The One Where Donald Trump Feigned a Presidential Campaign -- with a pair of thematic six-tracks EP, John Rich once again proves that when it comes to pandering, he has no peer. The first of these is Rich Rocks!, a self-explanatory title for a collection of party-hearty anthems designed for digital jukeboxes in sports bars across this great land of ours. Rich lays out his thesis with the opening “Country Done Come to Town,” one of several songs suggesting that his redneck ways would scarify those prissy city folk -- hard not to imagine Rich writing these and thinking of his fans picturing his role on the Celebrity Apprentice -- that are undercut by pristine production and Rich’s milquetoast voice. Protest as he may, whenever Rich sings in his flat, affectless voice, it’s hard to imagine how he’s raised any hell -- which is a bit of a problem because every song is about how he’s a badass nonpareil, how he’s throwing his own gun show, throwing his horns, valeting his muddy truck -- with boasts that don’t quite jibe with his immaculate grooming. Hypocrisy in pop, rock, and country is expected, even welcomed, as long as the music has a kick, but Rich Rocks! has been scrubbed clean of any dirt and danger: it’s party music for an Applebee’s that closes at 10 p.m.

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