Toby Keith - "How Do You Like Me Now?!" Mar 6, 2015 15:26:04 GMT -5
Post by StevePulaski on Mar 6, 2015 15:26:04 GMT -5
How Do You Like Me Now?! (1999)
By: Toby Keith
By: Toby Keith
If I made a list of my top ten favorite Toby Keith songs, "How Do You Like Me Now?!" would likely be fairly high on the list. Ever since I was a kid, something about me and that particular song connected; from the get-go, I understood the storyline to it and I resonated with the ideas it presented. It concerns a man who is rubbing it in the face of a girl he couldn't get to love him, or even look his way for that matter, in high school and proclaims his musical success to her while reminding her of the life she settled for. The song had the ability to be mean-spirited and hateful, but Keith keeps it jolly and fun, especially when put to his own personal context, calling it the anthem for anyone who has tried so hard to rub their own personal success into the face of people who doubted them or didn't believe their dream could come true.
Keith's fifth studio album, first on Mercury Records following his departure from DreamWorks, named after that same song, is a rousing good time, showing Keith with a refreshed drive and ego that has the ability to crank out yet another winning album. Following his first three albums, where Keith was singing good songs with a solid or average presentation, it is on How Do You Like Me Now?! where he finally finds himself and gets his own mantra and moxy working for him. He is loud and cheerful on songs like "Country Comes to Town," asserting the presence the genre can have, and "Die With Your Boots On," pleasantly humble on tracks like "Blue Bedroom" and "New Orleans," that tell stories of lost love or lost hope, and truly fantastic, more unique songs like "You Shouldn't Kiss Me Like This," probably my favorite on the album alongside its titular track.
"You Shouldn't Kiss Me Like This" concerns two close friends, who are often seen together, but we can tell the woman doesn't want to take the relationship much further into serious dating realms. Despite most people seeing the true beauty of them being together and the possibly love in the air whenever they are together, they remain simply friends until her kiss makes him second-guess everything. He states that he recognizes their relationship stops at a friendship, but when she "kisses him like that" he believes she "means it like that," and it's a wonderful song about two perfect parties that are uncertain of where they're at even though fate and love it playing with them in a positively special way. It's a thoroughly beautiful song.
How Do You Like Me Now?! treads so close on finding its way into schmaltzy territory at times, especially with one of the album's concluding tracks, "Hold You, Kiss You, Love You," but, typical of Keith, he doesn't toy with these ideas too much without shifting gears to another melody or another vibe. At forty minutes, the album is a lean and fulfilling offering from a singer that has earned the right to ask such a question after the large amount of material he has released.
NOTE: My entry of Toby Keith's song "How Do You Like Me Now?!" for "The One-Hundred Songs of Steve Pulaski" blog series I did back in the summer of 2014, stevepulaskisongs.blogspot.com/2014/07/song-52-toby-keith-how-do-you-like-me_20.html
Recommended tracks (in order): "How Do You Like Me Now?!," "You Shouldn't Kiss Me Like This," "I Know a Wall When I see One," "Blue Bedroom, "Country Comes to Town," and "When Love Fades."