Toby Keith became one of country music's elite by writing great songs, giving charismatic performances and using sheer force of will.
Toby Keith became one of country music's elite by writing great songs, giving charismatic performances and using sheer force of will. Fearless and refreshingly politically incorrect, he makes full use of those traits here. "I Love This Bar" will be a beer-joint staple for years to come, and Keith taps into his more edgy tendencies on the blues-funk of "Sweet." Country gold can be found in "Don't Leave, I Think I Love You." In case anyone is unsure, Keith makes his politics readily apparent on the gentle, powerful "American Soldier," as well as the, uh, less gentle but equally powerful live cut, "The Taliban Song," a nifty little "patriotic love song" that is salty and funny. Indeed, humor is a big part of Keith's gig, whether it is the "tip o' the joint" in "Weed With Willie" or hitting close to home in "The Critic Song." But that's OK: We can take it. This is one great record, and Toby Keith is a superstar. Live with it.—RW