Toby Keith – “Somewhere Else”
Songwriters: Toby Keith and Bobby Pinson
The first two singles from Toby Keith’s latest album, Bullets in the Gun, have landed short of the Top Ten (“Trailerhood” and the title track). It’s a rare double miss for the ACM Entertainer of the Year nominee after nearly 20 years of chart success.
He returns to radio this spring in hopes of reversing the trend. A nice switch for the gruff Oklahoman, the project’s third single, “Somewhere Else,” describes a downbeat character who struggles to come to terms with the collapse of a relationship. Since home is where the heartache is, he decides to withstand the barrage of memories at the corner bar: “Long as I got that neon light shinin’ like a beacon in the night, I know I can make it downtown by myself,” he claims.
“Somewhere Else” begins with the interplay of acoustic and electric guitars and segues into a sing-song melody that belies the narrator’s disappointment. Keith, who owns one of the most commanding voices at country radio, sounds full of false hope as he rattles off the details of his lonely existence. He spits out verses like a hillbilly rapper, with the little losses only hastening his emotional demise: “Cubs got beat again on Sportscenter/My bedroom’s cold as my TV dinner.”
It’s Keith’s macho bravado with songs like “Courtesy of the Red and White and Blue (The Angry American)” and “How Do You Like Me Now?!” that broke him into the top echelon of Nashville stars in the early 2000s, but he’s equally convincing while obsessing about a departed ex. Though the arrangement grows more brooding before each chorus, Keith quickly yanks the listener back into his world of fantasy as he heads toward the hook.
Though his commercial profile has fallen since 2007′s Big Dog Daddy, Keith’s recent output suggests that the successful entrepreneur has quite a few creative tricks left up his sleeve. “Somewhere Else” works as a solid if not special entry into his lengthy catalog.
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