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Toby Keith

Pull My Chain – 2001 (DreamWorks Nashville)

Reviewed by Jeffrey B. Remz

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CDs by Toby Keith

Toby Keith certainly enjoyed a career song with "How Do You Like Me Now?" on his last outing. The song did his career - which had a number of hits over the years, but no real prominence - wonders. A song and awards will do that for you.

And it apparently did him some good in his ability to pen and choose stronger material. The problem heretofore for the Okie was that his albums didn't hold together. A few good songs, were included, but somehow the overall effect was that he consistently came up short. Here, Keith moves one step forward with the big difference being stronger material. Maybe Keith, who co-wrote 9 of the 13 songs, including the lead off number one hit "I'm Just Talkin' About Tonight," matured as a writer.

There is nothing earthshattering about the songs, though he does spice it up with a credible country rap on "I Wanna Talk About Me," where he has enough of the other self-absorbed person doing all the talking. Horns add kick to the title track. It's not exactly hard core country, though Keith's crusty vocals - he stays within himself and doesn't oversing ("Forever Hasn't Got Here Yet") help push it in that direction. Keith may not being pulling anyone's chain here, and that may mean fans still will like him one album later.