Single Review: Toby Keith, “Rum is the Reason”

“Rum is the Reason”
Toby Keith

Written by Scotty Emerick and Toby Keith

I can’t figure out why Toby Keith can’t get any mileage off of the singles from his new album. It’s not even out yet, and this is the third release.

And it’s good. But so were the last two, so hopefully third time will be the charm.

Here’s the conceit, which is accompanied by an entertaining tour of world history: “Rum is the reason pirates never rule the world.”

Keith is in full laid-back mode, casually delivering the song against a steel drum backdrop. Because he plays it straight –  not even approaching Jimmy Buffett levels of camp, let alone his own – it’s a more effective performance.

It’s a novel record, but not a novelty one.

Grade: B+


  1. I don’t know if it’s because he doesn’t get the promotional push he used to or if radio just decided it’s time to phase out Toby the way it did guys like Strait and Alan Jackson, but they certainly did it quickly. It’s already been three years since he last had a song make it even in the top 20 and there’s no sign of him getting back even though the music hasn’t gotten any worse than it was back then.

  2. Sort of hard to believe, but Toby Keith is 54 years old. That’s just 2 years younger than Alan Jackson, who radio has already decided to send to the geriatric ward. I guess Toby is on his way, as well. Shame, since he’s been making some very good music lately.

  3. Another drinking song by Toby Keith? The song isnt bad at all, but he has really hit that well way too much over the last couple years.

    I think the reason Toby can’t catch on at Country radio is the same reason so many other artists of his generation has disappeared from the radio over the past few years….the genre has sold out to go all in on attracting a young male and female audience and any artist that cannot be sold to those fans is going to be S.O.L.

    You can market Carrie Underwood as a sex symbol to a young audience. You can market FGL and Michael Ray, etc. as the same. You really cant do that with Toby. Hell, Tim McGraw is barely hanging on to his radio relevance at this point, if he didn’t have Borchetta backing him he may have even gone the way of Vince Gill and Alan Jackson at this point.

    Plus, Toby was never very shy about not playing nice with the industry. George Strait and his label were able to milk the years of goodwill they had bought for one last trip around the sun where he got a bunch of awards and one or two #1 hits, but even that has faded now. Toby isnt going to get that same send off because he was never very shy about hiding his ego.

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