Toby Keith’s Got His Gangsta On

In real life, I’m much more of a hippie lovechild than anything. I am so anti-violence that my kids aren’t even allowed to have squirt guns. But somehow, I’m able to set aside my Pollyanna ways when I’m listening to badass country music. It’s like I have an alter ego that can relate to all this talk of vengeful killing. Like this new Toby Keith album, Bullets in the Gun. In a well-researched blog, compares Keith’s gangster spirit on this one to some of the Outlaw singers who came before him (and Miranda Lambert), complete with some of the angriest lyrics ever sung. Keith’s title track is about a hooking up with a woman — a dancer — who has that fire in her eyes and sticks a pistol in some fat guy’s back. Then there’s Porter Wagoner singing about drinking a fifth of courage in “Cold Hard Facts of Life,” Johnny Cash going on about how he shot “Delia” twice and even Kenny Rogers promising how if he could get his gun he’d put her in the ground on “Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love to Town.” Lambert’s the only woman who made the list, with her “Gunpowder & Lead” lyrics about pulling the trigger on the guy who slapped her face and shook her like a rag doll. She shows him what little girls are made of, that’s for sure.

Alison makes her living loving country music. She's based in Chicago, but she's always leaving her heart in Nashville.