Toby Keith is no rookie, but his efforts on DreamWorks have taken him to a new level. This album finds him more confident and adventurous than ever.

Toby Keith is no rookie, but his efforts on DreamWorks have taken him to a new level. This album finds him more confident and adventurous than ever. And for good reason: Pull My Chain boasts great songs, stellar musicianship, and stout production. "I'm Just Talkin' About Tonight" is a new honky-tonk standard, the title cut is a swampy slice of backwoods dog-faced funk, and "Pick 'Em Up and Lay 'Em Down" has a real edge. A lot of men will relate to the rapid-fire "I Wanna Talk About Me," which Keith manages to sell through sheer force of personality. Keith owns a lethal tremolo and knows his way around a ballad, too; highlights here are the subdued but powerful "You Didn't Have as Much to Lose" and the soulful "Yesterday's Rain." He may be a bit of a late bloomer, but Mr. Keith is ready for stardom—now.—RW