Toby Keith has never been shy, but on Unleashed
the Oklahoman proves he has more in common with Charlie Daniels
and Hank Williams Jr.
than you might have thought. The headline-making hit single "Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue (The Angry American)" will either impress you as a piece of jingoistic hooey or rally your fighting blood with its images ("the Statue of Liberty started shaking her fist") of patriotic retaliation. The "eye for an eye" mood continues on "Beer for My Horses," a frontier-justice saga on which Willie Nelson
duets. But after that, things start falling into the usual formula: a killer pop ballad ("Rock You Baby"), some smart-ass sexual grandstanding ("Who's Your Daddy"), and a few midtempo ruminations on life and love that catch the ear but ultimately prove forgettable. By the time he gets to "It Works for Me," in which Keith celebrates the virtues of country living ("If it's so good in the city / Why don't anybody smile?"), you'll swear it's a Bocephus CD in your player. Oh, you rowdy boys! --Alanna Nash