There's no way you're going to be able to confuse
First of all, Rock's eighth studio album, due November 16, was produced by legendary knobmeister Rick Rubin. Second, even though Rock, like M.I.A., will release a song called "Born Free" as his first single, the Detroit bad boy's tune focuses not on world affairs, but on the economic decline of his hometown, Detroit.
A press release announcing the album calls Born Free "transformational," going on to note that while Rock retains his "edge, wit, and swagger" on the record, he has left his rap-metal roots behind. "There isn't even a parental warning sticker," the release says.
Rock described how D-town inspired the Americana feel of some tracks.
"The catalyst for this record was Detroit, and my thoughts on the world through the lens of Detroit," he said. "Watching everything go downhill over the past few years, the economy, the loss of jobs everywhere, I wanted to make a record that reflected the times but that still had soul."
Most of the album was recorded during a two-week session in Los Angeles with a band that included Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers keyboardist Benmont Tench, Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith, Los Lobos guitarist/singer David Hidalgo and Chavez guitarist Matt Sweeney. The release also noted that Rock logged time in studios in Detroit, Nashville and Atlanta to lay down collaborations with fellow hometown rock icon Bob Seger, former flame Sheryl Crow, Zac Brown and Trace Adkins. T.I. and Martina McBride will appear on a song called "Care."
The disc is the follow-up to 2007's slow-burn success Rock N Roll Jesus, which produced the Lynyrd Skynyrd-inspired 2008 hit "All Summer Long."
Rock provided a preview of the album earlier this month when he performed six of its songs during a series of hometown shows. In addition to the Detroit-boosting anthem "Times Like These," he pulled the cover back on the Springsteen-like title track, the midtempo "Slow My Roll," the somber "Rock On," the 1970s-style rocker "Feels Good to Me" and the Rolling Stones-influenced "God Bless Saturday."