Ted Nugent calculates his moves thoughtfully, including releasing his first studio album in seven years on July 4. Detroit’s favorite son and favorite shredder loves to wave Old Glory—especially in conservatives’ faces—and although he probably didn’t upset very many liberal BBQs, he sure made his fans’ fireworks displays burn a little brighter, I have no doubt. The man is legend.
No question that rock is politically polarized, but who wouldn’t agree with the title track: “Right, left, good, bad, it all gets boring and old; the only hope for America is good old rock and roll.” Well, maybe that’s a little simple, but so is “Make love, not war.”
The Nuge is unapologetically on the side of right and might, as titles like “Trample The Weak and Hurdle The Dead” might suggest, but those who ignore Nugent’s sense of humor and musicianship miss not only the point, but some excellent hard rock…you might as well take one look at Dolly Parton and dismiss her as a bimbo.
One track, “Never Stop Believing,” with Sammy Hagar, shows off a delicate blues flair, but for the most part, the vibe is hard rock, like the excellent instrumental “Throttledown.” “I Love My BBQ” mixes over-the-top, un-PC lyrics, social commentary and nutritional advice designed to push almost everyone’s buttons, but listeners will also be reacting to the driving rhythms and tasty guitar licks, whether they admit it or not. This is rock and roll, baby, and this is Ted Nugent: no apologies required.
– Suzanne Cadgène