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 411mania » Music » Album Reviews

Toby Keith - Shock’n Y’All Review
Posted by Frank Dallas on 12.08.2003

As I look around 411mania.com’s Music section, I see that Country Music gets NO LOVE! Why is that? I my humbled opinion, Country Music has seen a renaissance in the past few years. Thanks to acts crossing over, which isn’t a bad thing, more and more artists are having success with record sales. Country Music, in general, has seen a steady increase in record sales over the past few years (30.1 million in 2001 and 30.3 million in 2003), and this is while nearly every genre has experienced some declines.

Country has moved to more of a pop friendly style of music. Is that a bad thing? I’d suggest it’s not, for the artists are eliminating the annoying heavy steel guitars and other traditional forms of country. They are also spending more time in the studio to produce better quality music. One guy who has changed his sound over the years is Toby Keith, who has seriously become the Crown Prince of Country music lately.

Here’s a guy who sold records with the traditional style of music, although his lyrics were different (little less talk and a lot more action…), but changed up his sound with “How Do You Like Me Now” and has been a major success ever since. His last album, Unleashed, was in my opinion, the best album of 2002. Who can top the great hits from that CD? “Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue”, “Who’s Your Daddy?”, “Rock You Baby”, and “Beer for My Horses”. Let’s not forget his constant sold out concerts, too, and the many awards he won with the Unleashed album.

Tough act to follow with the “Shock’n Y’all” album, in my opinion, which could turn many country fans off from this CD. Overall, it’s a good country album, but at the same time, it may have been rushed? Keith had a busy 2003 with touring and promotions, not to mention his new Ford commercials. While this album has diminished from the incredible Unleashed CD, it’s still worth it if you like Keith.

This CD is 12 tracks long, 10 of which are new singles and 2 are “BUS” songs he performed with Willie Nelson on tour (which are very entertaining). Allow me to finish up this review by reviewing each track:

“I Love this Bar” – I love this song… I’d argue that it’s one of the easiest songs to sing along to. If I were in a karaoke contest, I’d pick this song. I’m not a partier or a drinker, but this song is pure fun. The version you hear on the radio is a radio edit, for this one contains additional lyrics. Who can’t sing along with ‘I love this bar, it’s my kind of place… just walking through the front door puts a big smile on my face’, etc. Great opening single by Keith.

“Whiskey Girl” – This one sounds like a typical Toby Keith song and could be a single. The song is based on what the title is… A song about a girl who prefers whiskey at a bar. I like the background music of this one more than anything.

“American Soldier” – One thing I like about Toby Keith is how patriotic he is. This song is no different in his expressions, as it’s a tribute to soldiers worldwide for the hard work they do. It’s a slow song and a very touching one at that. My favorite track on the CD. While other bands write protest songs, you have Keith here reaching out and dedicating a song to soldiers in the Middle East.

“If I was Jesus” – This song has the same rhythm line as I Love This Bar, only speeded up. Different lyrics, of course. The song is pretty comical, with Keith giving you an idea what he’d do if he was Jesus. Lots of irony in the song. Good lyrics, but it sounds like a sped up I Love This Bar with the background music.

“Time for Me to Ride” – A very mellow Keith song about getting away from life, pretty much, with a touch of blues. Interesting mix by Keith.

“Sweet” – Another bluesy type song for Keith. I like the lyrics saying “I can’t reach that Georgia Peach, but she sure looks delicious”.

“Don’t Leave, I Think I Love You” – This is a transition song of Keith going back to his older days. Steel guitars are very present and it has that 1980’s style of country music. Not my preference, but this song isn’t that bad.

“Nights I Can’t Remember, Friends I’ll Never Forget” – This is a pretty typical country song with a song about life and the love for friends. Somewhat heavy on the steel guitar on the background.

“Baddest Boots” – Filler country song….

“The Critic” – This is a very odd song by Keith. Completely non-country here, with a guitar and snaps only providing background music. It seems as though it’s satire against music critics.


“The Taliban Song” – That sounds like Willie Nelson in the background? Maybe I’m wrong? Another comical yet emotional song against terrorism. Great stuff!

“Weed With Willie” – A very entertaining song. Sample lyric: “I’ll never smoke weed with Willie again, my party’s all over before it begins”. I’m a big fan of the friendship Nelson and Keith have formed.

The 411: While it’s not Unleashed, this is a pretty solid album and a great country album. Keith continually proves with his creativeness that he’s the top male act in country and his record sales will go up, while everyone else continues to put out albums with one hit and the rest is total filler. Fun CD and recommended mainly to Keith or Country fans, but I’d recommend others to check out “American Soldier” to really see how good Keith can get.
Final Score:  8.0   [ Very Good ]  legend


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