Urban's "love," "pain" and "crazy things"

Dec. 8, 2006, midnight | By Elsi Wu | 16 years, 11 months ago

Country's premier male vocalist tops charts with latest album drop

The reigning king of country, Keith Urban, is decidedly defending his throne with the release of his highly anticipated fifth album, "Love, Pain, and the Whole Crazy Thing." Featuring Urban's Australian-bred style of classic country heavily infused with rock 'n roll sounds and smooth vocals, the album has rocketed straight to the top of Billboard country charts. His most successful album to date, "Love, Pain, and the Whole Crazy Thing" is a strong compilation that represents Urban's originality as well as his down-home country flavor.

With previous works, Urban's music is strongest in his upbeat love songs, a blend of edgy rock instrumentals that highlight a bluegrass melody. This combination makes for musical bliss that can only be enjoyed at its full potential while driving an empty road on a sizzling summer day, top-down, radio blaring. Urban achieved this euphoric sound with songs from previous albums such as "Somebody Like You" (2002), "Days Go By" (2004) and again with "Love's" first track, "Once in a Lifetime." A sensation on country radio since its release, this single is undoubtedly a classic cut from the Keith Urban block, incorporating a playful tune with words that could make any girl swoon and want to take "a leap of faith/ But we're never giving up / Cause I know we've got a once in a lifetime love."

Thankfully, this track is not the album's only appealing song. Other tracks such as "Faster Car" and "I Told You So" share this same animated style which is clearly Urban's forte, making these three songs the best on the album. "Faster Car" paints a picture strikingly similar to an earlier hit, "Days Go By," and is the most danceable track on the album. Seriously, who wouldn't bust a move if Keith had a "you-shaped hole inside" and "need[s] a faster car now/ A rocketship straight to the moon/ I need a faster way to show you/ How much I need you, baby."

"I Told You So" showcases Urban's musicality with an outstanding use of rhythm that moves the toe-tapping track, as well as his sense of humor when he sings "don't say you're sorry/ and I won't say I told you so."

Aside from delivering his signature style, Urban uses more artistic license on this album than previous compilations, and even enlists the help of several music greats. "Everybody" is a collaboration with singer/songwriter Richard Marx which makes a riveting hybrid of country and blues. "Raise the Barn" features the vocals of Ronnie Dunn of the elite country duo Brooks & Dunn. Putting two county legends on the same track is just asking for an explosion of good ol' "hand holding, hay rolling/ Strolling with your honey by your side/ Dixie cups and paper plates/ Fiddle tunes and amazing grace," and this track is no different.

Urban also mixes it up by experimenting with a variety of different sounds. "Tu Compania" puts down an interesting beat with a country remix of the beat box, a fresh use rhythm for a lighthearted track. Unfortunately, Urban decided to mix it up even more with a guest vocal in Spanish, which great at first, get a little excessive when it ends up being minute and a half of empty "do do do's" interspersed with random Spanish phrases.

Ironically in "Got it Right This Time," Urban got it all wrong. Attempting to achieve a more acoustic feel, Urban upped the echo on the vocals, which ended up sounding amateur, as if it was his first time in a studio and he accidentally sat too far from the microphone. This cloudy sound also translated into the instrumentals which, usually one of Urban's strengths, came out sounding like it was straight from a karaoke machine. The highlight of the song is the lyrics which were still very much Urban-esque, but were let down by the song's poor delivery.

Despite that disaster, "Love" features a few exceptional ballads. "God Made Woman" is a testament to just how the gorgeously poetic Urban can craft a song. Musically and lyrically breathtaking, God " must've been proud/He must've been crying aloud/Or laughing out loud/Must've felt like the first time/Getting kissed by the sun" when Urban recorded this song! Just as praiseworthy are "Shine" and "Stupid Boy."

Although "Love" featured a number of will-be classics, the tracks on the album overall was very hit or miss. Loyal fans will be delighted for another addition to their collection, but newcomers are better off testing the waters with tried and true Urban classics "Golden Road" or "Be Here."

"Love, Pain, and the Whole Crazy Thing" was released November 7th and is on sale at all local music dealers.

Elsi Wu. Elsi Wu is really a middle-aged, obese Italian man. A perky CAP junior who lives for ESPN, Superbowl Sunday, Poms, and food, she watches Friends and Oprah RELIGIOUSLY along with any Redskins/Maryland games (you know, normal activities for the average obese Italian man). Instead of … More »

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