Single Review: Toby Keith, “Drunk Americans”

Toby Keith Drunk Americans“Drunk Americans”

Toby Keith

Written by Brandy Clark, Bob DiPiero and Shane McAnally

The most successful records Toby Keith has had lately have been about drinking or about being American.  It’s easy to see the title of “Drunk Americans” and assume that Keith is stitching the two themes together in an act of cynicism.

That assumption would be wrong.  Shockingly wrong, actually.   I dare say that “Drunk Americans” manages to elevate both the drinking song and the patriotic song by bringing the two together.   It’s so sharply written that I planned to document all those great songs Toby Keith has written lately that never got sent to radio, but amazingly, he didn’t write this one.

All the more power to him for having the good sense to cut it.  It has the singalong quality of his best hits, but also appeals to the better nature of his listeners.   It’s been more than ten years since  “Keith vs. Chicks”, and my biggest frustration of that period was that I loved both artists, and music was always something I saw as uniting people of different backgrounds and opinions.

“Drunk Americans” makes the case on the surface that it’s drinking that unites us, but really, I think it’s the music that’s playing while all of those people are imbibing.  “We all get it wrong,” he sings, “but we all sing along.”   Usually, alcohol and strong opposing views don’t mix so well, but music makes the people come together. Yeah.

Anyway, this is a great song and an even better record.  I love the Celtic undertones that capture the spirit of an Irish drinking song without losing its identity as a country number.   I love the inclusive spirit and the Census-ready breakdown of just how diverse Americans are.

Do I believe we really can all look past our differences and just get along if we have enough drinks?  Not in the slightest.  There are serious divisions and debates about the direction our country is headed in, and a few beers isn’t enough to change that.   But the power of a great song is that it can get you to think that maybe we can, if only for three-and-a-half minutes.

Grade: A

7 Comments

  1. You know, I made a private prediction that Toby Keith’s next single would be a patriotism song.

    I was pretty much correct. Radio requires Toby Keith for that serious frivolity.

  2. I saw the title and imagined some sort of mash-up of “American Ride” and “Red Solo Cup” and so naturally expected the worst.

    To say I was pleasantly surprised is an understatement. Songs like this show how much smarter and better Toby Keith is than he so often pretends to be, even if he didn’t write this one. We need him in this mode more often.

  3. I wish I liked this song better, but I do appreciate the sentiment. I guess it just doesn’t have enough of a hook for me to keep it in my head. Good for Brandy Clark for getting such a prominent cut and good for Toby for releasing the only song that he didn’t write on the album as a single!

  4. This actually sounds a lot more like Toby’s writing voice than a lot of the stuff he’s had his name on lately.

    It’s no “I like Girls Who Drink Beer,” though.

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