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Shock'n Y'All

Shock'n Y'All

4.0 15
by Toby Keith

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Yahoos will be disappointed in Toby Keith for not waving the red, white, and blue more aggressively on the follow-up to his controversial 9/11 response, Unleashed. But the beefy Okie has done the right thing by low-keying the politics and returning to examinations of the grinding, workaday world. His closest foray into Angry


Yahoos will be disappointed in Toby Keith for not waving the red, white, and blue more aggressively on the follow-up to his controversial 9/11 response, Unleashed. But the beefy Okie has done the right thing by low-keying the politics and returning to examinations of the grinding, workaday world. His closest foray into Angry Americanism is both muted and respectful: "American Soldier" recounts the G.I.'s regimented life and daily sacrifices. In contrast to the figurative bombs exploding all over his previous album, however, this song commences austerely, with gentle, finger-picked acoustic guitar, then rises to a controlled roar as it celebrates courage and commitment to a cause. The sarcastic "Taliban Song" gives him a chance to roll out some vintage jingoism, but it's hardly as incendiary as other Keith broadsides. Otherwise the news is about topics closer to home. The sludgy, Stones-ish country blues of "I Love This Bar" celebrates the debauched types who make the nightlife special. Keith offers up a couple of tasty morsels of southern rock 'n' soul, Memphis style, in the driving breakup song "Time for Me to Ride" and a grinding ode to a Georgia peach, "Sweet," both of which benefit from razor-edged guitar work and pumping horn sections. The catchy, island-flavored "Nights I Can't Remember, Friends I'll Never Forget" appropriates Jimmy Buffett's easygoing attitude in paying unapologetic tribute to college days spent partying hearty (at the expense of an education), thereby maintaining the album's sub-theme of conscience-free pursuit of unbridled hedonistic pleasures. Punchy, muscular, and fueled by heartland machismo, Shock'n Y'All ought to keep Toby Keith's gravy train rolling, even absent any controversial super-patriotism or gung-ho militarism.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Since Toby Keith not only can come across as a loudmouth redneck but seems to enjoy being a loudmouth redneck, it's easy for some listeners to dismiss him as a backwoods right-wing crank -- particularly when he succumbs to such easy impulses as mocking Dixie Chick Natalie Maines in concert and naming his 2003 album Shock'n Y'All, not so cleverly spinning the military catch phrase from the second Iraq war into a bad pun. Those listeners aren't entirely wrong, since he can succumb to reactionary politics, as on swill like "Beer for My Horses," but Keith isn't coming from a didactic right-wing standpoint. He's an old-fashioned, cantankerous outlaw who's eager to be as oversized and larger than life as legends like Waylon Jennings, Merle Haggard, and Willie Nelson, who bucked conventions and spoke their minds. Sure, Keith enjoys pandering to the Fox News Republicans "Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue" won him, and his jingoistic ventures don't have the humanity and humor of Haggard's protest songs (although to Keith's credit they display far more humanity than Sean Hannity and are much more genuine than Steve Earle's post-9/11 songs), but that doesn't mean Keith doesn't have a big, warm heart. In fact, on every album prior to Shock'n Y'All he's displayed a taste for mawkish sentiment, but what makes this album work is that he's turned that sentiment into warmth while making the record into the hardest, toughest set of songs he's yet made. Unleashed gave him the clout to make any kind of music he wanted, and left to his own devices, he's lonesome, on'ry, and mean, a cheerful advocate of redneck libertarianism with a sly sense of humor. All of which wouldn't mean much if he wasn't a strong songwriter, and more than any of his previous works, Shock'n Y'All proves that he's a steady-handed journeyman, crafting songs in the tradition of classic outlaw country. It's a deliberately hard-driving, hard-drinking, gutsy country album, yet it doesn't shy away from modernism, best illustrated on "Sweet," with its funky rhythms and use of "babelicious" (which rhymes with "delicious," btw). Even with these modern flourishes, the album is firmly within the hard country tradition, with lots of barroom humor, propulsive rhythms, hearty humor, and a humanity that contradicts the rabble-rousing of Unleashed. And if Keith is more of a party-hearty hound than a profound singer -- even when he imagines "If I Was Jesus," it's only so he can turn water into wine at parties -- that's now an attribute, not a deficiency, since it gives him focus and sensibility. Keith is happy to be a dirty old SOB, cracking jokes, drinking beer, and flirting with the ladies, and that makes Shock'n Y'All a fun, rough, rowdy album that wins you over despite your better impulses. It's not polite, but Shock'n Y'All is pure Toby Keith, and the best album he's done to date.

Product Details

Release Date:


Album Credits

Performance Credits

Toby Keith   Primary Artist,Vocals
Phil Madeira   Dobro
John Wesley Ryles   Background Vocals
Mike Brignardello   Bass
Mark Casstevens   Acoustic Guitar
Shannon Forrest   Drums
Paul Franklin   Steel Guitar
Kenny Greenberg   Electric Guitar
Clayton Ivey   Piano,Keyboards
Julian King   Percussion,Trumpet,Background Vocals
Brent Mason   Electric Guitar
Jerry McPherson   Electric Guitar
Steve Nathan   Piano,Keyboards
James Stroud   Percussion,Background Vocals
Biff Watson   Acoustic Guitar
Glenn Worf   Bass
Scotty Emerick   Acoustic Guitar
Wes Hightower   Background Vocals

Technical Credits

Phil Madeira   Composer
Toby Keith   Composer,Producer
Chuck Cannon   Composer
Ronnie Dunn   Composer
John Guess   Engineer
Julian King   Engineer
James Stroud   Producer
Richard Hanson   Engineer
Ricky Cobble   Engineer
Wayne R. Halper   Liner Notes
Scotty Emerick   Composer
Anderson Thomas   Art Direction
Deena Shapiro   Liner Notes
Todd Cassetty   Art Direction
Darren Welch   Art Direction

Customer Reviews

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Shock'n Y'All 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 15 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Awsome lyrics and an IN-YOUR-FACE attitudemake it a big hit with people of all ages.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I purchased his latest cd this past week. And after listening to it completly, I'm impressed. It probably won't be his best ever, but it's worth buying for any Toby Keith fan
Guest More than 1 year ago
Almost shyed away at the title, "If I was Jesus", but now I can't get the song off my mind. And how about "TIME FOR ME TO RIDE"? is that not reminiscent of some good old 1970s southern rock? What an album! What an Artist! Toby's a damn keeper, even if the CMA doesn't seem to appreciate him.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Obviously the critic dislikes Toby Keith's politics but this is an outstanding album. The American Soldier is dead-on and the entire album is entertaining. The critic should leave his politics at home and review the music.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Worst album ever. Clearly.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Don't Leave, I Think I Love You is 2nd only to I Love This Bar...maybe better. Listen to the words!!! The Beat Is Fabulous~! He always comes through on his C.D.'s. He is one of the best.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Shock'n Y'all is Toby's best effort to date. Great rocking songs, lots of classic Toby humor, and a powerful tribute to America's military. While there are no true ballads, the album is so good you don't miss them. Who ever said every country album had to have ballads, anyway?
Guest More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Pros: Toby's voice, the music was okay, two or three of the cuts Cons: The other eight or nine cuts I was looking forward to this CD. When I first started listening to Toby Keith, my reaction was the same as Amy Grant's (when she handed him the award and commented on the fact that she thought he had issues with women), then I grew to enjoy nearly everything he'd done. Until now. As I said, I was looking forward this release and went out at 7:30 am to grab it -- now I wish I hadn't. American Soldier is a nice tribute piece, I Love This Bar is a good-time piece with a nice feel to it, and Nights I Can't Remember, Friends I'll Never Forget was another one that I liked, as for the rest?..... Well, it's a good thing he's got the Baddest Boots in town because the rest of this CD wouldn't get him a second look. I'm not Shocked, Toby, I'm really disappointed.
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