This came out in 2003 – or at least that’s when I got it. Here’s what I said about it back then (with some minor editing):
Unabashed redneck Toby Keith was up for seven Country Music Association Awards this month and didn’t win any. One can only presume that CMA voters faced the same conundrum over Keith’s last album Unleashed as we face over Shock’n Y’all, his newest collection of roadhouse country, tough-guy balladry and jingoistic sloganeering.
That conundrum, in a nutshell, is that it’s difficult to decide what is more offensive: The crassness of the Gulf War-pun title and fireworks-laden cover art; the calculated button-pushing of cuts like American Soldier; the thoughtless intolerance of ditties like The Taliban Song; the staggering repugnance of the messianic mess If I Was Jesus (“I’d heal me a blind man / Get myself crucified”); or the overall sub-par songcraft, which once again makes Hank Jr. look like Hank Sr. Whatever the reason for Keith’s CMA shutout, though, it’s encouraging. Makes you think there may still be hope for civilization — or at least country music.