Rocks Off was excited to hear that Toby Keith is scheduled to make an appearance at next year's RodeoHouston. We just hope he makes it here.
You see, we're starting to worry a little about Toby Keith's health. Not about the health of his career, mind you; his blue-collar musical output remains steady as ever. This week, the singer put out his 16th studio album, and it's sure to spawn a hit or two on country radio before all is said and done.
But to be quite frank, a troubling trend emerges on the new record. It starts with the title: Hope on the Rocks. At first blush, it could be taken as a subtle dig at President Obama, whom Keith supported in '08, but that's not the concerning part. Before we've even hit the play button, we've already got a prominent reference to alcohol, and you can bet your biggest belt buckle that the Big Dog Daddy ain't stoppin' there.
Beginning with the album's leadoff single, "I Like Girls That Drink Beer," more than half of Rocks' tracks are explicitly devoted to praising alcoholic beverages. In fact, only two songs on the record make no reference to booze whatsoever. This could be a warning sign.
Now, we're no teetotalers here at Rocks Off, but we also watch enough A&E to be cognizant of the dangers that habitual drinking presents. Could new tracks like "Cold Beer Country" and "Haven't Had a Drink All Day" be twanged-out cries for help?
It's a sobering possibility. After all, Keith ain't no spring chicken anymore. He's 51 years old, an age when beer and whiskey maybe oughtn't be the foremost thoughts on his mind. New research indicates that alcoholism can shorten your lifespan even more than smoking, and we'd hate to see the Oklahoman hit the dirt Sooner than he has to.
But is alcohol really a problem for Toby Keith, or is it just his most reliable muse? If the man really drinks as much as his songs indicate, it may not matter. Sure, booze has inspired quite a few of his biggest hits, but at what cost? Gold records sort of lose their shine if your liver's turning darker than a black steer's tuchas on a moonless night. Could it be time to stage an intervention?
The signs are there. But don't take our word for it! What follows are Toby Keith's top five drinking songs. See what the man himself has to say for his affinity for the firewater:
5. "Get Drunk and Be Somebody"
This troubling tune from 2006 is practically an alcoholic's manifesto. Let's examine the chorus:
Well all week long I'm a real nobody
But I just punched out and it's paycheck Friday
Weekend's here, good God almighty
I'm gonna get drunk and be somebody
Clearly, Toby Keith only feels alive when he's drinking. In fact, if this song is any indication, he's got literally nothing going on in his life outside of work and booze. Anyone who has lived with alcohol dependency knows exactly how that plays out in the long run.
I mean, come on: There's pretty much no bigger warning sign of alcoholism than taking your paycheck straight to the bar. This is not a healthy lifestyle, Mr. Keith.
4. "Whiskey Girl"
Examining just who Toby Keith is consorting with can give us a clue as to the stability of his lifestyle. Based on "Whiskey Girl," unfortunately, things aren't looking too good. Keith's choice in lovers appears to be a classic enabler, skipping right over beer and margaritas for the hard stuff.
"She needs somethin' with a little more edge and a little more pain," croons Keith. Needs, huh?
Sounds like classic dependency to us. It's no secret that alcoholism loves company, and it speaks volumes about Keith's addictive tendencies if a woman's got to chug straight from the bottle to keep up with him.
3. "I Love This Bar"
If the local tavern is where you feel most at home, guess what: You may have a drinking problem. Based on the lyrics to "I Love This Bar," Toby Keith has spent enough time in his favorite watering hole to learn all the faces -- and probably forget 'em all a time or eight, too.
"Just walkin' through the front door puts a big smile on my face," he sings. Yeah, well, if that happens before noon, it's not really anything to brag about, Toby. Love should be reserved for trusted friends and family, not the rowdy saloon where you throw away your money on poison.
2. "Beer for My Horses"
Come on, now. Can Toby Keith really be so permadrunk that he finds it totally acceptable not only for his friends to keep knockin' 'em back, but for his horses to get shitfaced, too? For God's sake, that's animal abuse!
Excessive alcohol always leads to poor decisions, and in the case of this song, it appears that violent, vigilante "justice" is the direct result of Keith's inebriation. No matter what your grandpappy told you, Toby, lynching is illegal in Texas and everywhere else. And thank God, because putting the law into the hands of a soused troubadour riding drunken livestock sounds like the world's worst idea ever.
1. "Red Solo Cup"
There is perhaps no symbol in America more closely associated with dangerous binge drinking than the red Solo cup. It's a staple of beer pong tournaments, illicit high-school parties and Pledge Week blowouts, and if a man finds himself still writing his name on one well into middle age, well, that's extremely troubling.
As the song's lyrics clearly indicate, the red Solo cup has grown in importance to Keith far beyond what's appropriate for disposable picnicware. It's a friend -- maybe his only friend left. Toby, you don't have to live this way. You can still turn it around and be happy again.
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