Release Date: Oct 14, 2014
Record label: Capitol
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Contemporary Pop/Rock, Heartland Rock
On his first album in eight years, Bob Seger inhabits a character that dates back to the dawn of man. “I was the first to live and breath,” he sings in “Adam and Eve,” a message of awe and warning from the world’s first human. Elsewhere, Seger sings about the wandering ways of a long life (“All of the Roads”), about his hard-won ability to recede from his needs and expectations (“Let the Rivers Run”), and about meeting God at the end of life — or perhaps at the beginning (“Gates of Eden”).
Bob Seger is much cooler than you think. Look past the sweatbands and the truck ad anthems, and you’ll find the heart of a Motown kid beating strong within his person. The sound of his early albums was rooted in the soul/R&B canon and even leaned a little psychedelic (take a moment and dial up “2 + 2 = ?” on your favorite streaming service). You’ll get none of those sounds on Ride Out, of course, but if you didn’t already know that, the information should help soften the shock of seeing names like Jeff Tweedy and Steve Earle in the songwriting credits.
New Bob Seger albums don't show up too often (this is his second since 1995). But he's still the same heartland warrior with the same sturdy, elastic rock & roll vision. Ride Out goes from "Detroit Made," a tribute to Motor City automotive ingenuity steeped in Rust Belt rock and soul, to the Chicago-blues overdrive of "Hey Gypsy," to the freedom-loving "Ride Out," where he growls his message for our times over a tight boogie with a Southern-soul feel: "Time to disconnect from clutter/Time to hit the road." Seger's leanings are rootsier these days, which fits his august Midwestern growl.
Bob SegerRide Out(Capitol)3 out of 5 stars The once raucous ramblin’, gamblin’ man turns 70 in May, but, by the sound of his 17th studio release and first in 8 years, he’s got plenty of gas left in his Motor City tank. Take that as a metaphor for one of those classic cars he owns and for his well-established Detroit roots, both of which he pays tribute to on this album’s opening track. Penned by John Hiatt, the rollicking “Detroit Made” is everything you expect from a Bob Seger rocker;soulful, propulsive, pedal to the metal and a worthy successor to uptempo hits such as “Hollywood Nights,” “Katmandu,” and “Get Out of Denver.
Arriving a mere eight years after the decade-in-the-making Face the Promise, Ride Out nearly feels rushed by Bob Seger's latter-day standards. At 34 minutes, it's brief and nearly half of its ten songs were composed by songwriters other than Seger, two characteristics that would suggest something of a patchwork job if it weren't for the fact that in the days before the Silver Bullet Band, Bob used to regularly split his brief albums between originals and covers. In its construction, Ride Out mirrors early albums like Back in 72, but it comes from the days after the Silver Bullet Band, the days when Seger surrounded himself with highly paid professional musicians who didn't leave a note out of place.
If classic-rock legend Bob Seger’s 17th album turns out to be his last — and there’ve been rumblings — then he’ll be able to say that he went out with style. On his first album of new material in eight years, the Michigan rocker is in good form. Splitting his content between covers and originals, he continues simply but smartly to think about about girls, cars, life, and love, but also shifts gears into social commentary.
Bob Seger, the perpetual underdog — "the beautiful loser," to borrow from one of his best songs – has been making records since the 1960s. He finally found fame after a decade of dedicated bar-band dues-paying, and now has eased into the role of respected elder statesman who makes new studio albums at about a twice-a-decade pace. "Ride Out" (Capitol) finds the 69-year-old rocker back in Nashville recording with session pros as he did on his previous album, "Face the Promise" (2006).