Wednesday, April 13th, 2011

Toby Keith – Somewhere Else

And that’s nine, by my count…


Anthony Easton: Even when he is sad, or lonely, or desperate, there is an element of good cheer in Keith’s work. This seems more about denial than cruelty, but the same element seems to be here.

Martin Skidmore: I rather like the very bouncy way he sings this, but the poppiness of that and the perky backing is surprisingly at odds with the breakup theme. He sounds rather cheerful about it all. I quite enjoy it when just absorbing the sound, but if I pay attention there is a sort of weird cognitive dissonance — but actually I kind of like that too. See Willie Tee’s magnificent “Walking Up A One-Way Street” for the biggest such music/lyric contrast ever.

Josh Love: Man, there’s not really a whole lot to this song and yet it’s still great because Toby’s such an effortless master of this type of shit. A lot of younger country singers would probably take a song like this and slow it way down and ladle a bunch of leaden earnestness and melodrama onto it, but Keith displays an exquisite light touch, giving beery heartbreak a pleasing yet unsettling jauntiness worthy of the master, Hank Williams. It’s like watching Butler and UConn pouring tons of sweat into setting the game of basketball back 40 years and then comparing that to watching Kobe fuck around and score 30 with ease. Great voice, great phrasing, the perfect mix of feeling and sly irony at acknowledging the tropes of the genre.

Alfred Soto: I don’t think Keith is capable of singing badly, and the stentorian authority on display is impressive. The phrase “somewhere else” is an odd trope though, which works in a meta sort of way: just when you think the song ambles into the rote, it ends up — well, you know.

Chuck Eddy: Bullets In The Gun was the least compelling Toby album in over a decade, barely even a keeper, but this track still manages some of the easy jazzy bounce that made White Tra$h With Money from 2006 my favorite he’s made. He’s always likable when he sings about hitting the bars, too, and “Somewhere Else” sneaks in just enough wisdom and good humor to get by. Still, I’m definitely getting the idea the fella’s not on his A-game lately.

Pete Baran: This is oddly low-key for Toby, a man who puts the bomb in bombastic sometimes. A chugging, walking song (as he says himself when it starts), it’s weirdly insecure. It seems to riff on the opposite of “I Will Survive” — even the blistering forgettableness of the title hides a surprisingly raw tale of a man with only a bar light left in his life. Keith is often at his best when confounding his own carefully coiffured stereotype, which makes this jolly take on “I’m Not In Love” oddly affecting.

Zach Lyon: Nice and jaunty, and his vocals are a hook when they come in with the old-time-rock-and-roll reverb. It’s got some nice lines (“bedroom’s cold as my TV dinner”) and it’s a nice little glimpse into a character. Not much of a story though… I’m rolling my eyes as I type this, but it really needs to go somewhere.

5 Responses to “Toby Keith – Somewhere Else”

  1. So is that ten 7’s then?

  2. …And I missed the subheader.

  3. I was wrong when I commented on D-DM apparently.

    Unrelated: I think this year warrants a Noncontroversy Index more than the standard.

  4. Yeah, Toby Keith — the King of Noncontroversy! Who would’ve thunk it? (Also, Brad Paisley may be interested to learn that Toby actually covered a Barry White song a couple years back: “Never, Never Gonna Give You Up,” on a Wayman Tisdale album.)

  5. There are certainly more tracks fighting for “least controversial” than “most controversial” right now. I think we have less than half the number of controversy entries (greater than 2.0 average deviation) than we did at this point last year. Jessie J’s at number one by some margin, which seems appropriate.