Toby Keith Was More Than Mere Bluster

 Toby Keith embraced the role of music industry jingoist-in-chief from the start.   

 Keith, who died Monday at 62, wrote a series of songs around the turn of the millennium that were known for their political stance, American exceptionalism, and flexed-bicep menace.  

 Keith released 20 No. 1 Billboard country songs and sold over 20 million albums in three decades.   

 But he will be remembered first and foremost for this era of songs: “Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue (the Angry American ,,,

 a thunderstorm of pro-war propaganda peaking with “We'll put a boot in your ass, it's the American way”; “American Soldier .

 a warm hum of bombastic treacle; and “The Taliban Song,” a Jimmy Buffett-style ditty that satirizes, if not sympathizes, life in Afghanistan under the rep .

 Keith became a culture-war champion with these 2002–2003 tracks. He instinctively saw that culture is politics ,,,

 and politics is drama, and he wanted to soundtrack this turbulent era in American history.  

 Keith's career also showed how one brilliant moment can overshadow more subtle truths.  

 Keith was a sly humorist, good-natured blowhard, and historian of what happened behind thick skin for most of his career.  


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