Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Tuesday Review: Keith Urban - Get Closer

Keith Urban - Get Closer
I'm a big Keith Urban fan, but it's taken me awhile to get there. For a few years, I still had that image of his first hit, "It's A Love Thang," which wasn't the greatest thing to come down the pike.

As the records got better and Urban's "voice" began to develop into something unique and more honest, I started paying attention.

In my opinion, any work following his tremendous Defying Gravity project would need to be awesome.

And Get Closer is.

But not how I thought it would be.

The new project falls way short of the previous record's phenomenal songwriting. The wit and wonder of the lyrics of Defying Gravity weren't just typical country songwriting (be as clever as you can) but rather concise, clear and creative on multiple levels. Those songs said fresh things - subjects and responses and characters that stood out from the rest.

The lyrics of Get Closer aren't as strong. There's too much "I can't live without you, baby" and "we're young and on a road trip," staples of the Urban discography even before this new project came out.

But the music is something else. As I've listened through the record, I've been racking my brain, thinking, "What is this? What makes this record special?" And eventually it dawned on me that this record is great in the way all great records are great.


There are some astounding musical risks in this project. As if Urban hasn't "poppified" country music enough, now we have a record with some straight-up 80's new wave influence? It may sound like a terrible idea, but the production's willingness to infuse new textures into this genre make this record memorable on almost every single song. As if that's not enough, two or three of the tracks seem to showcase Urban digging deep into his arsenal to create some of the most old-school country guitar tone to sit right in the middle of these country/pop excursions.

To these ears, it works. It's unpredictable and fun and challenges those things that we think we ought to be hearing in a country record.

Plain and simple...