Toby Keith – “Bullets In the Gun”
Toby Keith’s recent singles have been something of a tossup. For every quality song like the genuinely moving, genre-blending “Cryin’ for Me (Wayman’s Song),” there’s a not-so-great song such as “Every Dog Has Its Day.” The title track and second single of Keith’s newest album is more closely aligned with the former.
“Bullets in the Gun” is a bombastic song delivered with nearly tangible bravado, and there’s nobody on the radio right now who does bombast or bravado better than Keith. He takes the role of a nameless loner who happens upon an exotic dancer in a border town bar. The situation soon ignites, and the two are headed for Mexico on his bike accompanied by a pistol and a giant sack o’ money. Things don’t get any better when they awake in a seedy motel surrounded by Federales. Though the story reaches its obvious and inevitable bullet-riddled end, it’s still very easy to get caught up in the story and Keith’s delivery. And dangit, it’s nice to hear a single with a little bit of guts in between so much drippy radio fodder.
We’ve seen the “barmaid and ne’er-do-well embark on a life of crime” story song before, most notably in the superb “The Road Goes on Forever,” a song to which this one bears remarkable similarity (sing “The road goes on forever/And the party never ends” when Keith’s chorus gets to the lyrics “Now the cards are on the table/And the bullets in the gun.” Pretty close, no?). While “Bullets in the Gun” is nowhere near as good as that song, it’s an enjoyable listen, and a welcome reprieve from the album’s subpar leadoff single “Trailerhood.” Most importantly, it serves as a reminder that when Keith is working with decent material, he’s one of the most talented men in mainstream country music.
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