As far as I know, no one has offered a verse-by-verse analysis of Kid Rock’s “Cowboy” (off his seminal 1998 album Devil Without A Cause), most likely because no one dares get that intimate with the lyrical persona of a man who willingly appeared in a gang-bang sextape with the lead singer of Creed. But this is the Internet, so someone has to be that brave soul. Enjoy:
What we know: this song is about cowboys. And, probably, robots.
Well I’m packing up my game and I’m a head out west / Where real women come equipped with scripts and fake breasts
Robot cowboy has given way to the raspy tones of Detroit’s 16th-favorite son, Bob Ritchie, who’s boldly leaving The D’s post-industrial hipster wasteland with nothing but tired fedoras and possibly infected tattoos to seek his fortunes with silicon-titted playwright community in… somewhere west of Detroit. Like Milwaukee, perhaps.
Find a nest in The Hills / chill like Flynt
Ah, The Hills. Got it, Bob. You’re moving to Beverly Hills with LC & Lo, building yourself a hovel in Audrina Patridge’s woefully vacant brain cavity, and lining it with old Hustlers.
Buy an old drop-top / find a spot to pimp.
This seems like a very poor investment strategy, considering automobiles depreciate rapidly in value, and you don’t own a house yet. Where are you going to convert your prostitutes to prostitutes?
And I’m a Kid Rock it up and down your block / With a bottle of Scotch and watch lots of crotch
Putting aside for a moment the fact that “to Kid Rock” is not a verb, you’re probably going to be cited by Neighborhood Watch for either loitering, drunk driving, or soliciting sex from the dudes whose penises you’re ogling. The law is way harder on penis-oglers here than it might have been back in Rock City.
Buy a yacht with a flag sayin’ “Chilling the most” / Then rock that bitch up and down the coast
Again with the buying shit? Equity, dude. Real property. You have to stop pissing your money away on these ridiculous big-ticket items. If bankruptcy doesn’t get you, the IRS will. And where the hell are you going to find a boat with such a specific flag affixed to it? You’d be way better off just buying that flag somewhere and putting it on the boat later, probably.
Give a toast to the sun, drink with the stars / Get thrown in the mix and tossed out of bars
“Sun, you are bright and shit, but not as bright as I had to be to come up with this next lyric, which, as the three of my listeners in possession of high school diplomas might realize, is referring simultaneously to the celestial bodies and the celebrities that I am assuredly hanging out here in Rancho Cucamonga’s nicest Buffalo Wild Wings. Seriously, I saw Martin Short doing coke in the women’s room just now”.
Then to Tijuana… I wanna roam / Find Motown and tell them fools to come back home
Just so we’re clear: You’re going to locate Berry Gordy’s defunct production company in a cerveceria south of the border, and and tell them to go back to Detroit – where you yourself have left, mind you – to revive a musical genre that hasn’t been popular since the late ‘60s? Right? Right.
Start an escort service, for all the right reasons / And set up shop at the top of Four Seasons
There’s are only two reasons to start an escort service: people want to have sex with other people, and you think that the first group of people will pay you money to have that sex with the second group of people. You should be VERY clear on these reasons before you ask the Beverly Hills Four Seasons to allow you to use their penthouse as your “spot to pimp”, ‘cause at the very least, they’re going to have a few questions about your business model.
Kid Rock and I’m the real McCoy / And I’m headin’ out west sucker…because I wanna be a
If the “real McCoy” means “singing this very song, right now”, then indeed, Bob. Indeed you are the real McCoy.
Cowboy baby / With the top let back and the sunshine shining / Cowboy baby / West Coast chilling with the Boone’s Wine
I once drank a quart of Blue Hawaiian Boone’s Farm in a Kroger grocery store parking lot. I was 19. It was a dare. Nothing that happened to me for the rest of the night could be described as “West Coast chilling.”
I wanna be a Cowboy baby / Riding at night cause I sleep all day / Cowboy baby / I can smell a pig from a mile away
With the amount of legal exposure you plan to incur by attempting to conduct a sex-trafficking ring in a high-end hotel, you are going to need that acute sense for impending arrests.
I bet you’ll hear my whistle blowing when my train rolls in / It goes (whistle) like Dust in the Wind
“Dust in the Wind” by Kansas sounds nothing like that. Nothing at all.
Stoned pimp, stoned freak, stoned out of my mind / I once was lost, but now I’m just blind
Cody the blind slide-guitarist from Roadhouse would find this very insulting. As would a lot of other blind people, presumably.
Palm trees and weeds, scabbed knees and rice
Get a map to the stars / find Heidi Fleiss
When you find her, ask her advice on your escort service idea.
And if the price is right I’m gonna make my bid boy / And let Cali-for-ny-aye know why they call me
You’re going to need that money for legal fees associated with your inevitable arrest for sex-trafficking.
Yeah…Kid Rock…you can call me Tex / Rollin’ Sunset women with a bottle of Becks
No, Bob! I will not call you Tex! You’ve already got a perfectly serviceable ridiculous nickname that innocent female pedestrians will scream in surprise when you creep up behind them and bludgeon them senseless with a Czech beer bottle.
Seen a slimy in a ‘vette, rolled down my glass / And said, “Yeah this dick fits right in your ass!”
Urban Dictionary has no idea what a “slimy” is, and neither do I. Based on the two types of people you seem to like singing about the most, I assume it’s either a) an officer of the law, or b) a woman. If it’s a): the police in Beverly Hills drive around in Corvettes, and when you see them, you inform them that your penis is sized to fit in their respective anal cavities? If it’s b): for the love of god, man, you’re going to need slightly more subtle game if you want your brothel to be comprised of ladies who aren’t on an 8-day ketamine bender.
No kidding, gun slinging, spurs hitting the floor
Never could there be a more ironically self-fulfilling argument against the Second Amendment than a picture of Kid Rock in a wife-beater, wearing laceless K*Swiss hightops with shards of glass protruding from the heels, brandishing a firearm. That picture is worth 1,000 words, and Charlton Heston will kill you for uttering any of them.
Call me Hoss, I’m the Boss, with the sauce in the horse
There’s simply no way this lyric is accurate.
No remorse for the sheriff, in his eye I ain’t right / I’m gonna paint his town red, and paint his wife white HUH
Don’t let The Man get you down, Bob! Whenever a draconian lawman is trying to judge me for “prostituting” or “drunk” driving, the first thing I do is go on a massive murdering spree within his jurisdiction, then find the woman he loves the most, tie her to a water fountain or stationary bicycle, and spray her with my seed.
Cause chaos, rock like Amadeus
That movie sucked chode.
Find West Coast pussy for my Detroit players
“Steve! STEVE! I caught one for you! Sure, she looks a little banged up but she’s clean! Finish quick so I can throw one in her too.”
Mack like mayors, ball like Lakers
Marion Barry parties harder than Peter North, after Peter North has just done three lines of knock-off Mexican Cialis off his own dick.
They told us to leave, but bet they can’t make us
“Mister Ritchie, it’s 2am. You have to leave. Look around you. Everyone else is gone. There hasn’t even been anyone in this bar for the last 30min. You’ve just been standing at the jukebox playing ‘Stranglehold’ by Ted Nugent and drinking floaters you’ve found on the surrounding tables. If you don’t get in this cab we got you, I’m going to call the sheriff whose wife you came all over, and he’s going to come down here and get medieval on your ass.”
Why they wanna pick on me… lock me up and snort away my key
Look, it’s possible you didn’t break any laws in this awful rampage across Hollywood. I’m just saying, it’s also possible you broke ALL of the laws. Especially if you’re in possession of a kilogram of cocaine.
I ain’t no G, I’m just a regular failure
Oh thank God. Self-awareness. Honesty. See? Isn’t this nice?
I ain’t straight outta Compton I’m straight out the trailer
The trailer for 2001’s hilarious fish-out-of-water comedy Joe Dirt, you mean! Nominated for no awards! You almost singlehandedly ruined the movie!
Cuss like a sailor…drink like a Mick
Your t-shirt, every St. Patrick’s Day: “Fuggin’ Kiss Me, I Have HPV”.
My only words of wisdom are just ‘Radio Edit’[Editor’s note: Leave it to a master poet like Kid to keep the most nuanced lyric in his entire ballad until the penultimate line. Even on the explicit album version, this weird female computer voice comes in and reads the ‘Radio Edit’ bit, which is either the stupidest piece of late-Nineties overproduction since those ridiculous ‘Keith-B-Real’ interludes on Big Willie Style, or some self-referential commentary that Kid might be just smart enough to make at Tipper Gore’s expense. But the assumption here is that Bob ‘intended’ to say ‘to suck my dick’, because it a) kind of rhymes with the previous verse, and b) is exactly the sort of thing you’d expect from the brain that spawned ‘Ball wit’ the Ball’ and was once legally known as Pamela Anderson’s husband. This is the only thing he wants to share with the world: that it should fellate him. Let that sink in for a few minutes.]
I’m flicking my Bic up and down that coast and / Keep on trucking until it falls in the ocean
And with this final apocryphal farewell, Kid drops the mic, hits the lights, and drives his drop-top off into the sunset. His Von Dutch hat silhouetted against the California sky, he is a lone prophet, a sojourning minstrel sent from the bowels of Detroit to fulfill a modern Manifest Destiny, one in which the hookers are young & spry, the Bud Ice tallboys are cold, the meth crystals are… is anyone still reading this? Hello?
[Featured image: Billboard/Clay Patrick McBride]
This atrocity originally appeared on No Grapes On Campus.