Blake Shelton

Maybe we’re just hard, cynical bastards with deadbolts and alarm systems and Rottweilers. But to us, Blake Shelton‘s “Austin” — a ditty of enduring love that details his daily whereabouts on the answering machine — sounds like an open invitation to every thug in the neighborhood. Bowling on Tuesday night, are ya? Might be a good time to make off with the hi-fi. Headed out to the lake all weekend long? Fan-fucking-tastic. Bring in the U-haul — this guy’s kegerator is coming home with us. Pretty song, though. Made our mammas pull out their hankies. Plus, it’s tough to be cynical about the 6-foot-5-inch stretch of blue-eyed, dimpled country boy that is Blake Shelton — mostly because his songs are so damned earnest. The Oklahoma native’s self-titled debut generated heart-wrenchers such as “Austin” and “All Over Me” as well as “Ol’ Red,” a toe-tapper about love gone wrong, a prison break and a dog (classic themes, folks, classic themes). And “The Baby,” from his 2003 release, Dreamer, made more than a few hard, cynical bastards like us pull out their hankies.

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