"Do blondes really have more fun, or are they just easier to spot in the dark?" It's a mark of Keith's skill and charm that he can sing that sexist line (in "Just the Guy to Do It") without seeming offensive. On this follow-up to 2003's smash Shock'n Y'All, Keith smoothly segues from preening, swaggering bar-hopper to feeling, vulnerable loser in love. He's as likable on "She Ain't Hooked on Me No More" and "She Left Me" as he is on the rough-and-tumble title song and the clever "As Good as I Once Was." On the latter, when he's propositioned by amorous twins, he tells them he'll settle for just one of them at a time because "I ain't as good as I once was, but I'm as good once as I ever was." Keith had a hand in writing all 12 songs, and he brought in such sharp collaborators as Dean Dillon ("Knock Yourself Out") and Chuck Cannon ("I Got It Bad"). The latter number evokes the great Duke Ellington song "I Got It Bad (And That Ain't Good)," but Keith has earned enough slack to get away with tampering with the masters. And if some of his tunes seem to be written with one eye on the music and the other, more attentive one on the video potential, well, so be it. Keith's postmodern cowboy persona is part of his appeal.
DOWNLOAD THIS: "As Good as I Once Was"