Toby Keith has found a fast racecar, and he’s not getting out of it until it falls apart. ‘I Like Girls That Drink Beer’ is his 12th booze-fueled single in 20 years, including three recent ones in a row. The man sings what he knows, and it works… mostly.

The new song – presumably from an upcoming album — is closer to the 2003 hit ‘I Love This Bar’ than it is ‘Red Solo Cup’ or ‘Beers Ago.’ All of his best bar room cuts (including ‘Whiskey Girl’ and ‘As Good as I Once Was’) work because Keith sounds like he could easily fill in for Norm on ‘Cheers,’ albeit a more gruff and successful version of the famous television character. The 51-year-old singer is to honky tonks what Taylor Swift is to ex-boyfriends.

This new single is actually about leaving a hoity-toity woman, but that story is lost in the infectious chorus that ends with his money line:

Bye bye baby I’m leavin’ / You can keep your mansion and your money / Your boat and your Benz and your up town friends and your country club that ain’t really country / I need a little down-home lovin’ / And a man ain’t gonna get it up here / Hey I find what I want in a honky tonk / I like girls that drink beer.”

Keith isn’t breaking any new ground, but to be honest, he tried doing just that over the three albums that came before ‘Clancy’s Tavern.’ The results were mixed. The classic, tried-and-true Toby Keith sound may not be as artistically satisfying as perhaps ‘Bullets in the Gun’ and ‘Cryin’ for Me’ were. But fans have shown that’s what they want, and as long as he keeps coming up with rhymes like the one that begins the first verse his car will stay fueled for a few more laps around the track.

You bought me a black tie suit and I aint wearin’ it / Can’t be seen in that thing in my Lariat / Ain’t goin’ down to the ball in your chariot / This high rise life just ain’t for me,” Keith sings. Yes, he did just buzz-market his longtime sponsor!

The legend is a sharp songwriter who always keeps his audience in mind. Perhaps that’s his key to success — the reason why his detractors roll their eyes with each new single while country music fans continue to sell out his concerts.

3.5 Stars

Listen to Toby Keith, ‘I Like Girls That Drink Beer’

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