When John Michael Montgomery released his debut album, "Life's A Dance," I breathed a sigh of relief that he might not be another 90's clone. Unfortunately that would not be the case. With each future release, Montgomery became more and more commercial and lacking with his songs. However, "Kickin' It Up" may be weighed down by a few commercial tracks, but it is still an excellent album. The title track falls into the commercial category, along with tunes like the high-energy "Be My Baby Tonight" and "Friday At Five." The better songs on this album were borderline commercial tunes that still showed that Montgomery hadn't been completely drained of his Country soul. Songs like "Rope The Moon" and "If You've Got Love" play to Montgomery's strengths which are singing excellent tender songs that have a hint of meaning to them. The big hit on this album was, in my opinion, not the best. "I Swear" was released by Montgomery and a boy band at almost the same time. It was hugely popular for both of them, but it also made the record companies force Montgomery into the hollow A/C Country vacuum that has killed so many other wonderful careers. From this point on, Montgomery's career slowly spiraled down.
"Kickin' It Up" is not a bad album, but it's also not Montgomery's best. I recommend it to fans of early 90's Country, but the best gems can be found on Montgomery's debut album.