Toby Keith

Boomtown

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With a disclaimer stating that he only had a year to write the songs for his sophomore album (while he had a "lifetime" to write those for his first), Toby Keith introduces us to his second effort, Boomtown. Not to worry: he pulls off a successful follow-up to his hit-heavy debut. His songwriting has matured, and his vocals still stand out as one of the predominant male voices of contemporary country. Keith straddles the wall between traditional and pop, and he maintains a steady balance. Opening with his number one song "Who's That Man," Keith immediately packs a traditional country wallop. His songs tell stories about everyday life and working-class people, and the serious issues they face like divorce, adultery, teenage angst, aging, love, and life in an oil boomtown. But Keith does occasionally detour the heady issues and lightens the mood with songs like "You Ain't Much Fun" ("...[since] I've sobered up") and his rocking tribute to female truck drivers, "Big Ol' Truck." Being a former oil man, himself, Keith's Boomtown saga gives the roughneck tale a stamp of authenticity. Toby Keith need not worry about running out of ideas. If he can create Boomtown in a year, he has a bright future.

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