Toby Keith – “Somewhere Else”

Blake Boldt | March 7th, 2011

Toby KeithSongwriters: 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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  1. [...] Keith Musicon or AmazonMore On "Somewhere Else"Country Universe rates Keith's new single a B | The 9513 gives "Somewhere Else" a rare Thumbs-upToby Keith "Somewhere Else" LyricsI walk downtown in my [...]
  1. Ben Foster
    March 7, 2011 at 10:23 am

    I like it. It might not be the best thing Toby’s ever done, but I enjoy the chorus. Very catchy and fun melody.

  2. Collin
    March 7, 2011 at 10:42 am

    I was surprised that I liked “Bullet in the Gun.” This one’s pretty strong as well. I feel like lately, Keith’s been doing something that’s incredibly rare in Nashville these days: actually trying.

  3. Benny
    March 7, 2011 at 11:50 am

    He could have held on to “Bullets in the Gun” a bit longer and it might have been a bigger hit.. but this is definitely the best song of his last album and a sure winner.. love the flow of the words and the general spirit.. perfect tune!

  4. J.R. Journey
    March 7, 2011 at 1:17 pm

    “Keith’s recent output suggests that the successful entrepreneur has quite a few creative tricks left up his sleeve.”

    I have to concur. Toby Keith’s single have always been hit and miss for me, but he’s hitting a lot more, for me anyway, in the past few years than he used to. ‘Bullets In The Gun’ is one of my favorites from him, and this one is another winner.

  5. Kyle
    March 7, 2011 at 7:21 pm

    Pretty Jason Mrazzy, no?

    It’s a nice sounding song though, which is enough for me to not change the station these days. I don’t totally “get” what the lyrics are trying to say – it almost seems like the tipsy ramblings of the main character – but there enough interesting-sounding lines mixed in that it doesn’t bother me a whole lot.

  6. Rick
    March 7, 2011 at 8:46 pm

    I really liked “Trailerhood” and think it should have been a # 1 hit. I’s guess some radio programmers didn’t get the joke and thought its appeal was to the white trash set, not their suburban soccer mom listening audience. Just pathetic…

    This is a catchy little tune that I hope does really well for Toby. He needs to keep earning those big bucks so he can keep Carter’s Chord, and what’s left of Trailer Choir, on the payroll! (lol)

  7. luckyoldsun
    March 8, 2011 at 2:10 am

    I don’t know if the fact that “Bullets in the Gun” was a ripoff of REK–and that Toby was called out for it–is a reason the song tanked.

  8. Celeste
    March 8, 2011 at 11:31 am

    “Somewhere Else” is a well thought out play on words. The more you listen to it the more you understand that. The catchy melody is perfect for the song. The guy wants her back, and the only thing that helps him hold his life together at the moment is the neon light of the bar and the front porch light of the place where he lives, but the whimsical tune keeps the song upbeat. It IS a sure winner.

    LuckyOldSun, any more songs on the radio sound alike so if you want to call one a ripoff of another go ahead. It took two people to write “Bullets in the Gun”, so they would have both willfully consented to the “ripoff” as you called it. These two have written numerous hit songs in their life time and are outstanding in their profession so why would they hurt their reputation by doing that? Then there are some artists, who couldn’t write a song if they tried. I don’t believe it was ripped off for one second.

  9. Jon G.
    March 15, 2011 at 11:59 pm

    Ripoff implies that any perceived similarities are intentional, and I just do not that is true. There is no reason to copy Robert Earl Keen. His songs are not exactly mainstream, so it wasn’t a bid for a hit, which Keith is perfectly capable of producing on his own. Surely he and Rivers Rutherford would’ve suspected that, if they were to consciously copy Keen, critics would recognize it, so nobody attempting to gain critical acclaim would go through with it. I guess what I’m saying is “no motive, no murder.” Forethought is a requisite, and I doubt this was premeditated. In all likelihood, Rutherford & Keith were influenced by Keen. His influence caused them to pen a song that is less than original without their realizing it. It is understandable that this would impact some listener’s opinion of the song. But throwing out terms like ripoff is a bit too strong.

    And assuming that a resemblance to “The Road Goes on Forever” is equally illogical. I would guess from what I know about people who listen to ‘country music’ nowadays that few tuning in to Top 40 stations have ever heard the name Robert Earl Keen or would know one of his songs if they heard it. It’s sad, but I believe it’s true.

  10. Jon G.
    March 16, 2011 at 12:04 am

    And you know your career has been a good one when a song that only reached #12 ‘tanked.’

  11. luckyoldsun
    March 16, 2011 at 1:54 am

    I didn’t know the song made it to #12.

    Anyway, the first time I heard it, I instantly thought it’s a rip-off of REK’s song. And then I saw the reviews on the Internet and all the reviews mentioned that same thing. So I find it a bit wacky to suppose that Keith and Rutherford were oblivious to something so obvious.
    While REK is not played on the radio, “The Road Goes On Forever” is an very prominent song that’s certainly known throughout the industry. It was recorded by Joe Ely and then by the Highwaymen and was the title song on their last album.

  12. Jon G.
    March 16, 2011 at 12:16 pm

    Hmmm. That’s a fair point. But I have a hard time believing they intentionally “ripped off” Robert Earl Keen for the aforementioned reasoned.
    I’m still unsure that people are familiar with the song. Maybe that’s just an indication of how little faith I have in contemporary country audiences.

  13. Celeste
    March 18, 2011 at 10:52 am

    Jon G., you stated this so much better than me. I was angry that people, including some in the industy could jump to the conclusion that “Bullets in the Gun” was a “ripoff” that I tried to explain that they would have to willfully conspire to do it, but my anger got in the way. Thank you!

  14. JeffT
    March 29, 2011 at 1:40 pm

    The song did peak at #12. A song’s relative position on the charts also has a lot to do with the competition. There are just a lot of really good songs out there.

  15. Matt
    May 23, 2011 at 10:02 am

    The 9513 gave a thumbs up to the worst song of the year (so far)?

    There was no effort put in to this tune AT ALL.”If you don’t know where you’re going,you might end up somewhere else”? Really? Those are some of the stupidest lyrics I’ve heard since taylor swift’s “fifteen”

  16. Barry Mazor
    May 23, 2011 at 6:11 pm

    The 9513 no longer reviews ANYTHING. It’s over.

    Anybody left around here actually READ?

  17. NITHIN
    May 24, 2011 at 1:40 am

    Matt clearly does.

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