13 Songs, 43 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

The bestselling album of Toby Keith’s career is also one of the definitive works of ‘00s country. For the rest of his life, Keith will be associated with “Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue (The Angry American),” which became a channel for the mix of belligerence and pride that many Americans felt in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. The song is jingoistic — its designs are obvious, and intentional — but as a fist-pumping, chest-puffing anthem, it's incredibly effective. It applies redneck justice to a complex international crisis, but Keith wasn’t proposing a solution to the world’s problems — he simply voiced what he and millions of others were feeling. The rest of Unleashed isn’t nearly as in-your-face. “Huckleberry” and “Rock You Baby” are earnest declarations of love from a man who doesn’t get enough credit for his sensitive side. While the Willie Nelson duet “Beer for My Horses” is good, silly fun, “It’s All Good” offers the flipside to “The Angry American.” The song describes the solace small pleasures can offer in a world that often appears lost to chaos.

EDITORS’ NOTES

The bestselling album of Toby Keith’s career is also one of the definitive works of ‘00s country. For the rest of his life, Keith will be associated with “Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue (The Angry American),” which became a channel for the mix of belligerence and pride that many Americans felt in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. The song is jingoistic — its designs are obvious, and intentional — but as a fist-pumping, chest-puffing anthem, it's incredibly effective. It applies redneck justice to a complex international crisis, but Keith wasn’t proposing a solution to the world’s problems — he simply voiced what he and millions of others were feeling. The rest of Unleashed isn’t nearly as in-your-face. “Huckleberry” and “Rock You Baby” are earnest declarations of love from a man who doesn’t get enough credit for his sensitive side. While the Willie Nelson duet “Beer for My Horses” is good, silly fun, “It’s All Good” offers the flipside to “The Angry American.” The song describes the solace small pleasures can offer in a world that often appears lost to chaos.

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