Hugh Jackman may be on the cover, but Blake Shelton is heating up the pages of PEOPLE. The country crooner has made the coveted 'Sexiest Man Alive' issue of the magazine. So what's his appeal?

"A well-worn truck," Shelton tells PEOPLE. "The wussiest thing a guy can do is drive a clean truck. Dents, scratches and mud -- that's manly."

It has been a red hot week for Shelton, who also released his new album, 'Startin' Fires' on Tuesday. This is the fifth studio CD from the sexy singer, who says its title is indicative of where he is in his career.

"I never felt confident enough to make a statement like that on an album title -- not until now," Shelton tells CMT. "I feel like I'm coming with the most momentum that I've ever had on a record. We ended the 'Pure BS' album with a No. 1 song with 'Home' and went straight to 'She Wouldn't Be Gone' for a single from this album. It's just an exciting time right now, and it just seemed like the right statement to make because, I think, for the first time, everybody's paying attention closely to what I'm doing, and I'm trying to make the most of it."

In addition to uptempo, fun songs, Shelton also shows his sexy side on the album.

"I've never really been a romantic kind of guy or anything like that, but this record goes there a lot, and I like that," he says. "I guess I'm kind of pulling from my Conway Twitty influences there."

The album also includes a duet with longtime girlfriend Miranda Lambert, 'Bare Skin Rug.' The couple wrote the song together while sitting around a campfire, and you can actually hear the sound of crickets and the crackling of the fire in the background.

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