“You Can’t Kill My Rock ‘N Roll” isn’t just a statement of confrontation and rebellion, it’s a celebration of everything we love, the music, the lifestyle, this is our religion, it’s our choice, and it’s everything we believe in”
Those words are on the press details that came with “You Can’t Kill My Rock N Roll” – the 11th album that Hardcore Superstar have released. It’s the sort of thing that often gets said, but with HS, its personal. Its signed by the band. The inference being that they mean every word.
I get that too. This rock n roll as it were, was my rock n roll as well. I grew up with Poison, Cinderella and Warrant never far from the stereo, and to be totally honest, when Kurt wanted to be entertained in the early 90s, I still thought Bon Jovi’s Keep The Faith, or Thunder’s “Recovering The Satellites” were better records.
But also, if rock n roll ain’t gonna die, then it needs to regenerate, and that’s sort of what this turbo charged 45 minutes feels like.
“ADHD” starts us off in modern fashion. A real crunch and less Sunset Strip than you may expect, and when the chorus soars it does so on the back of some thunderous drums.
A strident, confident opener, it is followed by “Electric Rider”, which literally crackles with energy from the off – and shows exactly what melding these two worlds, the classic and the 21st century, can be like.
“My Sanctuary” shows another side to the band. A country flavour abounds and this a genuine groove laden arena ready anthem, but in truth, arena ready fare, off the shelf, one size fits all familiarity abounds throughout. “Hit Me Where It Hurts” does more in less than three minutes than Aerosmith have managed in about 20 years, while the centrepiece (in every sense of the word) is the title track.
A ZZ Top-esque romp is the best way to describe it, but all the time with the anthemic nod to the likes of H.E.A.T. Its central message of forgetting your troubles with music has been around for decades, and you know what? It’s true.
The sense that they see themselves as a gang is perhaps shown on “The Others” (key line: “you don’t rat on your brothers”) and it comes in with a real AOR guitar line, but it’s the opening line on “Have Mercy On Me” that best sums up the whole vibe here. “how can anyone be so lame?” it asks. “don’t want a rock n roll that won’t entertain….”
Which is conversely why “Never Cared For Snobbery” works. Hardcore Superstar don’t give a toss what critics say, or indeed that grunge happened, they just play the music they love. And that in turn means that “Baboon” – every bit as annoying as Black Stone Cherry’s “Blame It On The Boom Boom – is, rather like the BSC track insanely catchy. And you can’t resist it at the end of the day.
There is an impressive, incessant quality about this and its hedonistic tunes. “Bring The House Down” is a slammer that is surely going to do just that wherever it’s played, and there’s a bluesy side to “Medicine Man” that is what it might have sounded like if Skynyrd had put the spandex on.
This type of album back in the 80s, always had a power ballad, and even if “Goodbye” isn’t “Every Rose Has It’s Thorn” it has an incredible overblown, almost power metal thing going on.
That’s sort of the point of “You Can’t Kill My Rock N Roll”. It knows the lineage it is from – Hardcore Superstar probably own all these records too – but if it is going to continue to thrive in this godawful social media, Spotify playlist, reality tv age – it needs to get with the times. That’s what these 12 songs are for.