Toby Keith - "Pull My Chain" Mar 28, 2015 9:32:43 GMT -5
Post by StevePulaski on Mar 28, 2015 9:32:43 GMT -5
Pull My Chain (2001)
By: Toby Keith
By: Toby Keith
Right between the release of Toby Keith's How Do You Like Me Now?! and Pull My Chain is when I began listening to the country singer, watching every music video he did during the time on Country Music Television (CMT) and even going as far as to have my mom help me collect cassette releases of his albums. How Do You Like Me Now?! was a shift for Keith, as he was not only transferring from Mercury Records to DreamWorks, but he was transferring styles as well. His first three albums were populated with crooner country music, distinctive thanks to Keith's baritone vocals singing heartfelt weepers. When he shifted record labels is when Keith begun to take on the style we know him for today, which is rowdy, free-spirited, and more of a comedic force of country.
Pull My Chain doesn't come close to replicating the greatness that seemed promised on How Do You Like Me Now?!. That particular album was so fresh and unexpected, as if Keith has been unshackled from a style and just let loose in front of a microphone, armed with the weapon of three chords and a distribution channel. Pull My Chain, however, features some of my childhood favorites that still hold up today, like the wry "I'm Just Talkin' Bout Tonight" (one of the first songs I learned how to sing, actually), which subtly details the perks and efforts of a man having a one night stand rather than blatantly outlining them, and the "I Want to Talk About Me," which could very well be seen as one of the earliest efforts of country-rap well before the days of Colt Ford and Bubba Sparxxx.
Keith moves on in his usual zippy manner, hitting some winners with "Tryin' to Matter," a mid-tempo song about a couple desperately trying to make it work and achieve their own personal goal of having their loving "matter," "Forever Hasn't Gotten Here Yet," a very solid, borderline-rock track about keeping your promise to someone you swore you'd love forever, and "My List," a simple ballad about a man taking time to do things like "go for a walk, say a little prayer, and take a deep breath of mountain air," adhering to all of life's little blessings instead of the hustle and bustle of the daily grind. He stumbles on songs like "You Leave Me Weak," where he sounds almost whiny, something I never thought I'd call Keith on any of his albums, and "Give Me 8 Seconds," a song burdened by a loud production and lackluster lyricism. He finds himself rebounding with slower tunes like "Yesterday's Rain," a nice metaphor for being burdened by old circumstances, but still finds a difficult time rising above the album's overall inconsistent nature.
Pull My Chain is one of the last albums of the early 2000's of Toby Keith that doesn't bear such hard-hitting, patriotic tendencies like his next few works would, and for that reason, it's pleasant to note that the album's sentimentality is never too cloying or artificial. However, the album is an album rooted in many different inconsistencies, from production being all over the place to songs being almost entirely forgotten following their conclusion. Had Keith not delivered something so impressive and grandiose before this, perhaps I would be a bit more positive with Pull My Chain; yet, because of that, we saw what Keith could do with How Do You Like Me Now?! and this isn't in line with that.
Recommended tracks (in order): "I'm Just Talkin' Bout Tonight," "Forever Hasn't Got Here Yet," "I Want to Talk About Me," and "My List."