How Do You Like Me Now?!

How Do You Like Me Now?!

For his fifth album, Toby Keith changed labels without compromising his style. How Do You Like Me Now?! picks up where Dream Walkin’ left off, mixing energized pop hits (“Blue Bedroom,” “She Only Gets That Way With Me,” and the winning title song) with gentle story songs (“New Orleans”) and beefy, roadhouse rock (“Country Comes to Town,” “Die With Your Boots On”). Many songs show Keith beginning to capitalize on the “guy’s guy” persona that would fully blossom on his next album, Pull My Chain. Still, his last album of the ‘90s shows the singer’s ability to bring subtle new textures to his old recipe. “Hold You, Kiss You, Love You” rides a simmering rhythm based on organ and brushed drums, while the brooding melodrama of “When Love Fades” borrows less from country music than it does Don Henley and even Aerosmith in its softer moments. As Keith enters the middle stage of his career he proves he has more than enough presence to make it as one of modern country’s leading men.

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