Toby Keith releases 'Red Solo Cup' video -- but are you still sipping what he's pouring?

Toby Keith, what happened to you?

You used to be the biggest superstar in country music, selling millions of records and raising just as many eyebrows, but these days, rather than making music for the masses, it seems like you’re more willing to scrape the bottom of the buffoon barrel and simply pander to your “Trailerhood” audience.

Don’t get me wrong, I admire your audacity—you say what you think and you don’t care who you offend—but must you sacrifice your musicality in the process? I mean, your latest single is an ode to the “Red Solo Cup” and you claim that men “do not have testicles if [they] prefer drinking from glass.” Is that really single-worthy?

It’s tough for me to write this because I really liked your music growing up. “Should’ve Been A Cowboy”? Classic. “How Do You Like Me Now”? Delightful. “My List”? Touching. But I became a super-fan when you released your honest and honestly angry 9/11 response “Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue.”

Sure, the song pissed off a bunch of people (and a few Dixie Chicks), but it launched you into the stratosphere of country stardom, providing you with a platform to create political music that actually got listened to. Not many artists get that opportunity.

But instead of creating thoughtful, accessible follow-ups to your hugely listenable 2002 album Unleashed, you began to delve into self-parody, pigeon-holing yourself as an arrogant-and-proud Uhmerrican who loved beer, bars, boobs, and not much else.

Your albums quickly abandoned charming, moving cuts like “Huckleberry” and “Rodeo Moon,” and instead replaced them with dumbed-down, in-your-face rockers like “American Ride” and, now, “Red Solo Cup.” It’s like you and Jason Aldean have switched career tracks.

Mind you, I’m not deriding your songs’ lyrical content — just like Hank Williams Jr., you can say whatever you want. I just wish that you weren’t constantly alienating general audiences by releasing music meant only for your very specific redneck niche.

Not only does it hurt your mass market appeal, but it will prevent people from paying attention when you decide you have something interesting to say again.

At this point, you’re just preaching your very faithful choir.

P.S. Smoking a homemade bong on video? Come on. You know better, Eric Church.

Read more:
Hank Williams Jr. attacks Fox, ESPN in ‘Keep the Change’
Toby Keith also surprised by his own participation in Sarah Palin’s show.
Toby Keith, Ethan Hawke, Kris Kristofferson, and the ACM press-room fracas

Follow Grady on Twitter: @EWGradySmith

Comments (69 total) Add your comment
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  • Torrence5

    I lost respect and interest in Tobey Keith when he attacked the Dixie Chicks for expressing their opinion (one now adays most people agree with). Toby has made a fortune off of singing about the war(s) and America.

    • PatF

      Toby (without the ‘e’) did not attack the Dixie Chicks. The Dixie Chicks attacked him. And I’m not sure how you conclude that “nowadays most people agree with” the Dixie Chicks. (Are they even still around?) And Toby has “made a fortune” writing and singing his many songs on many subjects, selling albums, concert touring, opening restaurants (where soldiers eat free), and thoroughbred horse racing. Obviously your loss of interest in Toby has led you to become misinformed about him about him as well.

      • Gthimgan

        Well said Pat…If there were more artists giving their time and energy to SUPPORT the troops, the world would be a better place.

  • Kevin

    It’s pop-country… of course it sucks. What I think is happening is that Mumford & Sons came along and showed country fans that there is great folk, bluegrass, and alt-country out there that is 100 times more enjoyable and meaningful than the big country acts. Why listen to crap like Toby Keith when you can listen to The Avett Brothers, Son Volt, Old 97s, Old Crow Medicine Show, Deer Tick, Bon Iver, etc.?

    • levelheaded

      @Kevin, Mumford & Sons and The Avett Brothers are amazing, they remind me what I always loved about country music.

    • S.O.

      Don’t forget about Wilco & My Morning jacket as well.

  • David

    Not interested in Toby Keith, but he was never “the biggest superstar in country music.” Hardly close.

  • Kat

    Red Solo Cup and Trailerhood, are fun songs, can’t a guy cut a record that is just fun? Toby has done plenty to show love and respect to our troops. You will notice the dixie chicks are no where to be found. I liked the dixie chicks but they made a choice. Celebrities (mostly) live and die by public opinion.

    • Punkadunk

      Think most of his public (female) would like to hear more of the romantic type rather than these look at me having fun cause some people will buy everything or anything songs. Obviously not in it for the money anymore. He might be having more fun but it does come accross like pick a word make a song and someone will buy it..happening a lot lately not just with him. Do wish he would stop trying to be Willie Jr

      • Brandon

        Who gives a flying f what females think! Go listen to reba for your “female” fix. Whoever doesn’t like country music, thinks Toby screwed up on this (which he didn’t), or just is an idiot can blast yourself in the head! Thank you that is all.

  • Grace

    I like how Keith has his “Uhmerican” audience completely snowed. I imagine very few of them know the man’s actually a democrat.

    • Michelle

      Who cares if he’s a democrat. If you don’t like him, don’t listen!

    • Danielle

      Politically Toby is a very fascinating man politically. His beliefs and support of the troops lended a hand in his own label creation. He is free to produce the kind of music he likes and has fun making, and is able to give other artists that same freedom.

      He supports troops who give thier lives daily for us…hey may not agree with the why troops are where they are; but gives credit and admiration where it’s due regardless of his political party’s stance. He seems to do what he believes is right, and what he values. I find that to be a great quality during a time when so many celebrities are fitting into thier party’s clearly defined box handing out endorsements left and right.

      In a world filled with hate, disasters, and war I don’t see what is wrong with a fun, silly, carefree song. I loved my red solo cup back in the old college days and still occasionally relive the affair on summer days at the lake. Thanks Toby for such a fun song.

  • Rowdy

    IMO Toby Keith doesn’t appeal to women [who purchase more CDs than guys] and now he doesn’t appeal to thinking guys who like country music. Why spend money on a trailer trash low life when George Strait, Brad Paisley and other classy country singers are on offer?

    • CountryGalForever

      Sorry that a thinking man such as yourself is too good for his music. You don’t like it then don’t waste your time listening to it just so you can trash it. Its one song. I can think of only a few songs of his that pertain to the lifestyle you claim all his music refers to. He has some great, powerful songs and you wouldn’t know that unless you actually listened to any of it.

    • PatF

      Not to mention ‘your opinion’ that Toby doesn’t appeal to women is dead wrong.

      • Elizabeth

        Toby kieth is one of my country music heros. You guys are just mad because you wish you were half as cool as he is. Just sayin…

    • Lynda Tinkham

      Toby doesn’t appeal to women??? Obviously you haven’t been to a concert!!! Most of his fan club members are female, and we love him!! We love his voice, his sense of humor, his looks, his patriotism, his devotion to his family, and the fabulous concerts he does. His talent is in no way diminished by making a funny song and video now and then – we love singing along to those at the concerts! Buy stock in Solo – it will be going up!

    • @rowdy

      Women purchase more CDs than guys? Where the hell do you ge that from?

    • Michelle

      <—-This person is a girl and absolutely adores Toby Keith and has always been partial to red Solo cups, too!

    • CDT

      TK doesnt appeal to women…..then they must all be turning queer. Not only is he a hunk….but he can actually sing. I love the serious side and the FUNNY side…..u ROCK TK–keep it up. This woman LOVES her some TK

    • Motor Hedd

      Glad I ain’t a thinking man…I might right something nasty about your condescending “IMO”

  • Glory

    I not only gave up on Toby after the railroading of the Dixie Chicks…I dropped the whole country music industry.

    • CountryGalForever

      Its sad you let one man change your entire view of country music. You obviously were not much of a country fan in the first place.

  • Jimny Crickitts!

    I thought it was the best darn parody of Charlie Sheen that I’d seen!I laughed my rear off… now I’m disappointed.

  • KCWolf

    Sadly, Toby went skating on the thin ice of relevance a decade ago and hasn’t been seen or heard from since.

    Wait. Did I say “sadly”? Oops.

    • Lynda Tinkham

      Really? He was #1 on Forbes’ list of country singers recently, tours the US and Europe every year, as well as paying his own way to play for the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan every year.

  • Kate

    I will always have a soft spot for him even though I can admit there are other male country singers that are outshining him with the quality of their music. There is nothing wrong with fun music but it should have some substance to it. I will always LOVE “beer for my horses” and his unleashed album.

  • CountryGalForever

    I am a huge fan of Toby and I thought this song was just for laughs. Rednecks aren’t the only ones who drink and like beer! College parties? Even high school parties! I am in college trust me I know. This song is just for a good time. Every star has their time in the light and just because he is not singing songs that are topping the charts anymore does not mean he is declining. He is a wonderful father and just does what he loves. I for one felt ‘American Ride’ was a great song and should have been a good wake up call to America about how bad and pathetic we have become. Obviously you aren’t real fans of his anyways because his hits ‘God Love Her’, ‘Made in America’, and also the song he wrote for his friend who died ‘Cryin For Men are incredible songs. Toby is the only man who keeps me singing again and again and his concerts are so much fun to go to. People always give me the look when I say he is my favorite because he is older and not as popular as he used to be, but everyone has their favorites that they follow for life and he is mine. He cares about the country and the soldiers…he tours over there almost every year! And I think you can’t judge people by whether they say they are a democrat or a republican because, no offense, anymore these days its just a label. Toby is for America and for everyday people. Sometimes when its been a rough day, its nice to drive home and just laugh listening to a song like this. He doesn’t care about being a top star. He sings for his continued fans and anyone who wants to listen. If you were a fan, you would have heard that song and thought that is so Toby. So if you don’t like him that’s fine, but don’t compare him to artists today because everyone has a different style. That’s the way music is. You either like the song or you don’t. And if you don’t, then don’t listen to it or worse, waste your time writing articles that stir up trouble and cause arguments.

    • Otis

      Take off your blinders, sweetheart.

    • Lynda Tinkham

      Did you ever listen to Toby’s song “The Critic” on his “Shock ‘n’ Ya’ll” CD? Pretty much sums it all up!

  • Ryan

    Are you mad that Toby said you don’t have a pair? This song caters to more than 80% of the country.

  • NonEntity

    Glasses don’t go to landfills; they are bad. Real men buy disposable dishes and let the landfills be a symbol of their awesome man powers. Driving in a circle wasting gas or shredding fragile ecosystems while mudding also works. Covering your bald spot with a cap helps.

  • sarah d

    My problem is this guy in his late thrities/early forties at a college party. No, sir.

    • PatF

      haha Toby is 50.

  • Monroe 7

    I love Toby! He is still the biggest country star. I read somewhere he made the most money this year out of any other country artist. He must still have a few fans here and there….

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