Aggressive though the title may be, Bullets in the Gun winds up being the Toby Keith album with the lightest touch since 2006’s White Trash with Money. A light touch doesn’t mean Keith has lost his swagger: Bullets still pulses with testosterone -- flirting with misogyny in the dirty jokes of “Get Out of My Car,” Keith redeeming himself with his bawdy humor -- but it also swings, easing into the bluesy gait of “Think About You All of the Time” and rocking & rolling through “Drive it On Home,” catching its breath on “Somewhere Else” while admiring the colorful characters dotting the “Trailerhood. ” Excepting the too-cool commercial sheen of “Kissin’ in the Rain,” there are no unexpected left turns on the album, but Keith is so firmly within his wheelhouse that he’s comfortable enough to take his time and have some fun, never laboring too hard -- as he sometimes did on the perfectly fine but mildly perfunctory American Ride -- but not getting lazy, either.
His crusty, clever, closet-romantic persona now well established, Toby Keith takes few risks on his annual album. But as his peers veer into rambunctious rock territory, he’s eased up on Bullets in the Gun; in fact, only one of these tracks qualifies as obnoxious. (Its chorus? ”Get out of your clothes, or get out of my car.”) The rest are solidly enjoyable commercial country, and there’s something to be said for that.