Toby Keith: 35 MPH Town

American ass-kicker drinks, gripes about those damn kids

Credit: Courtesy of Universal

"The jukebox knows no shame," sings Toby Keith on the honky-tonk boilerplate "Haggard, Hank & Her" — and that's good news for him. Keith's umpteenth studio LP is a 10-piece bucket of his signature country craftsmanship: sobriety-hating, liberal-baiting, self-deprecating. "Drunk Americans" is a charmingly awkward red-blue-state bear hug; the button-pushing title track rues godless youth who need a good whuppin'. Per usual, highlights put hard-earned truths before identity politics. "Sailboat for Sale" echoes Lyle Lovett's "If I Had a Boat." And "Beautiful Stranger" is about rediscovering a lover who might be your spouse. It's smart, subtle songwriting — because Keith can do that, too.