At some point, maybe when his previous album Bullets in The Gun was awarded the dubious distinction of being the lowest-selling #1 debut album of all time, he decided to screw it all and start making stupid songs. Bullets In The Gun didn’t give Toby Keith even one Top 10 hit; the first time that happened in his 14-album career. So Keith, being the business-savvy artist that he is, searched for the popular trends and decided that stupid songs about beer were the rule of the day, giving rise to songs like “Beers Ago” and the ode to the onset of idiocracy “Red Solo Cup.”
Well now he’s back with a new single “I Like Girls That Drink Beer,” a piece of trend-chasing laundry list cliche crap that plays off the same class warfare and cultural line drawing that dogs most of country radio today. It also sets a historic precedent for hypocrisy. The song and chorus start off…
Bye bye baby I’m leaving
You can keep your mansion and your money
Oh Toby, you seem to have forgotten that you live in one of the biggest mansions country music can boast, and are the highest paid person in country music, making more money than even Sailor Twift. Keith banked a whopping $50 million dollars last year according to Forbes and owns a vast business empire that includes his own major label in Show Dog Universal, his “I Love This Bar & Grill” restaurant chain, and massive endorsement deals with Ford and Mezcal beverages.
And as for the mansion? Check out the particulars of Oklahoma’s Chateau Toby from a People Magazine cover story:
“(It) includes an 8,900-sq.-ft. main house featuring a state-of-the-art theatre room and kitchen and a 2,500-sq.-ft. cabana with spaces for swimming, relaxing and grilling. The property also includes a well-stocked lake where the family can fish for bass, perch and catfish or just relax out on the dock and watch water shoot up from the lake-fed fountain…His racquetball court, where he and Tricia, who have been married 27 years, can compete against their three kids…”We can play at midnight if we want to,” says Keith. “Everybody in the family is good.”
And Toby says in “I Like Girls That Drink Beer” that he doesn’t want to go to the “ball in your chariot” but check out the specs and inventory of his carriage house:
…an eight-car, two-story, 6,000-sq.-ft. garage with space for his three Harley-Davidson motorcycles, a black Ford Expedition limousine and his prized collector cars-a ’69 Mach 1 Ford Mustang, a ’72 Oldsmobile Cutlass, a ’77 Pontiac Trans Am (“It’s a Smokey and the Bandit car,” Keith says) and a ’63 Chevy Impala.
And none of this includes his 300-acre horse ranch or million-dollar mansion in Nashville.
Beyond that, this song is a vapid pile of checklist countryisms.
- Beer – Check!
- Girls – Check!
- Trucks- Check!
- Two lane and/or dirt road – Check!
- Honky Tonks – Check!
- People from the city and people with money suck – Check and check!
- Cornbread and/or fried chicken – Oops, missed one Toby!
And watching the video, I can’t tell if Toby likes girls that drink beer, or girls that haven’t said no to a man since puberty. There’s more shots of silicone in the video than it took to remodel Toby Keith’s palatial master bathroom. And though on the surface it may seem this song is targeted at men, this is a song about girls, and for girls, because that’s the last demographic that actually buys music. Hypocrite or not, Toby Keith is a mad genius when it comes to marketing and he hits on all marketing cylinders in “I Like Girls That Drink Beer”. All of the close-up shots of people in the crowd are of girls, except for the one with the porcupine-looking dude with the paint-on tan on the left. Now how “country” does he look?
The truth is sonically “I Like Girls That Drink Beer” really isn’t that bad, and comparative to most of the songs on country radio, it’s pretty country. The chord progression is engaging, the structure is good in the way it starts on the chorus, and I’ll be damned if you can’t even hear some fiddle and steel guitar in the mix. Too bad he wasted it on such a hypocritical theme.
I don’t want to belittle Toby Keith’s wealth. Congratulations to him for living his version of the American dream. The problem is with the hypocrisy, how he uses this song as a tool of class envy and stereotype while living the very life he is besmirching. No, performers don’t always have to live the exact life that they sing about. This is an unfair requirement that most artists can’t live up to. But when you’re singing derogatory lyrics with the intent of downgrading the very thing that your life embodies simply because it appeals to certain trends and demographics, a big line is crossed.
Being country means being yourself and being honest. And by belittling the very life that he lives, Toby Keith makes an embarrassment of himself, and of country music.
Two guns down.