American Ride (song)

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"American Ride"
Single by Toby Keith
from the album American Ride
Released July 28, 2009
Format Music download
Genre Country
Length 2:49
Label Show Dog Nashville
Writer(s) Dave Pahanish
Joe West
Producer(s) Toby Keith
Toby Keith singles chronology
"Lost You Anyway"
(2009)
"American Ride"
(2009)
"Cryin' for Me (Wayman's Song)"
(2009)
Music video
"American Ride" at CMT.com

"American Ride" is a song written by Joe West and Dave Pahanish, and performed by American country music artist Toby Keith. It is the first single and the title track for Keith's 13th studio album, released in October 2009. Released in July 2009 as the 47th single of his career, it debuted at No. 38 on the U.S. Billboard Hot Country Songs chart. It became his 19th Number One hit on the chart dated October 10, 2009.

Content[edit]

The song is an up-tempo song in which the narrator lists off various politically oriented issues in the USA, such as illegal immigration ("Tidal Wave comin' 'cross the Mexican border"), political correctness ("Don't get busted singin' Christmas carols"), frivolous lawsuits ("Spill a cup of coffee, make a million dollars"), rising gasoline prices ("Why buy a gallon, when it's cheaper by the barrel?") and the decreased importance of religion ("Plasma gettin' bigger, Jesus gettin' smaller"), but adds that he is still proud to live in America.[1]

Dave Pahanish and Joe West, the writers, had originally titled the song "American Life" when they submitted the demo to Keith.[2] Pahanish and West talked about "the funny, but irritating, things in life that really tick people off." Keith also had the song on his iPod a year before recording it.[2]

Reception[edit]

The song has been met with mixed reception. Dan Milliken of Country Universe.net gave a mixed review. In his review, he says that the intro sounded like a "hamster dance" version of Reba McEntire's "Strange", and that the rest of it sounded like a car commercial. He also said that he could not tell if the song's lyric was an attempt to be serious or satirical: "I can’t say I don’t find it all amusing on some strange level. There seems to have been a serious attempt to make social commentary here, and it was pretty hit-or-miss, or maybe more of one than the other, depending on your perspective." He ultimately declined to give the song a letter grade.[3] Jed Gottlieb of The Boston Globe said that the song "lets him make fun of his status as a political punching bag while mocking both the right and left."[4] Stephen Thomas Erlewine of Allmusic described it positively, saying that it was not "jingoistic" and that it "casts a cynical eye[…]not celebrating down-home values but wondering where we're all headed[.]"[5]

Music video[edit]

The song's music video premiered on August 13, 2009, on CMT. Directed by Michael Salomon,[6] it is animated (save the very beginning and ending) in a style inspired by JibJab online cartoons,[7] featuring Keith and three other men riding motorcycles while passing scenes related to the song's lyrics. Other scenes include evangelist Pat Robertson riding on former United States President George W. Bush's back, current President Barack Obama being hoisted in the air by bankers, and foreign dictators Muammar Gaddafi, Kim Jong-il, and Fidel Castro portrayed as pirates.[1] Keith told Country Weekly magazine that he was criticized by "blogger terrorists" the day that the video was released, adding, "But they really can't get a fire started in the direction they want to go because the video makes fun of everybody."[1]

Chart performance[edit]

"American Ride" debuted at No. 38 on the U.S. Billboard Hot Country Songs chart for the chart week of July 18, 2009, and reached No. 1 on the chart week of October 10, 2009, becoming his 19th Number One hit. It also debuted at No. 60 on the Swedish Singles Chart chart for the week of December 19, 2010.

Chart (2009) Peak
position
Swedish Singles Chart[8] 60
US Hot Country Songs (Billboard)[9] 1
US Billboard Hot 100[10] 35

Year-end charts[edit]

Chart (2009) Position
US Country Songs (Billboard)[11] 22
Preceded by
"Small Town USA"
by Justin Moore
Billboard Hot Country Songs
number-one single

October 10 – 17, 2009
Succeeded by
"Gettin' You Home (The Black Dress Song)"
by Chris Young

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Paxman, Bob; Larry Holden (October 12, 2009). "This American Ride: Toby Keith lays it on the line about his controversial new single, the good and bad of American life and his agony over the death of a friend.". Country Weekly 16 (35): 34–38. 
  2. ^ a b Horner, Marianne (November 9, 2009). "Story Behind the Song: Hit Filled with Ticked-Off Moments". Country Weekly 16 (39): 22. 
  3. ^ Dan Milliken (July 10, 2009). "Toby Keith – "American Ride"". Country Universe. Retrieved July 11, 2009. 
  4. ^ Gottlieb, Jed (July 23, 2009). "Alpha Dog: Country singer Toby Keith exceeds expectations". The Boston Globe. Retrieved August 18, 2009. 
  5. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Review: American Ride". Allmusic. Retrieved October 4, 2009. 
  6. ^ ""American Ride" video". CMT. Retrieved August 18, 2009. 
  7. ^ Roland, Tom (October 9, 2009). "Toby Keith on quite the ride". Great American Country. Archived from the original on October 12, 2009. Retrieved October 23, 2009. 
  8. ^ Swedish Singles Chart – Sverigetopplistan
  9. ^ "Toby Keith Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Hot Country Songs for Toby Keith.
  10. ^ "Toby Keith Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Hot 100 for Toby Keith.
  11. ^ "Best of 2009: Country Songs". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. 2009. Retrieved December 13, 2009.