Keith Urban: Defying Gravity
Keith Urban has not always been on my “Dig-It” list. When I first encountered Urban, the only thing that impressed me was his custom Fender Telecaster. That lovely sunburst guitar made me pull out my own Tele (not a Custom, unfortunately)… I slung it over my shoulders and didn’t pretend I was Urban… I pretended I was Fred Thrombosylus. You don’t know who Fred is? Neither do I. The man doesn’t exist. That’s just how much I didn’t dig on Urban.
It wasn’t until his amazing 2004 release, Be Here, that I started to take notice of his work. That album was (and still is) a great listen from start to finish, and I still spin it every now and then when I’m in the mood for an album that I don’t have to monitor for skippable songs.
Urban released his fifth studio album, Defying Gravity, at the end of March. The first single, “Sweet Thing,” became Urban’s tenth number one hit on the Country charts. He doesn’t appear to be playing the Telecaster anymore (I believe that’s a Gibson Melody Maker he’s got on the album cover), but he’s still on the same path of clean, wholesome, smooth country rock-pop.
And maybe that’s the problem I have with this record.
Defying Gravity is far from a bad album, but it never seems to go anywhere. It may be true that “Sweet Thing” has made a nice stand in the charts, but it’s not a great song by any means when compared to his past output. I think that’s what I’m realizing when I listen to this new album… every song is just about the same in quality, tempo, dynamics… well, pretty much the whole feel is just about the same through and through. I actually thought his last record, Love, Pain and the Whole Crazy Thing was a good album. I still play it quite often… the song writing was a bit daring in that Urban edged a bit more towards rock… but with Defying Gravity, he seems to have taken a step back. Sadly enough, there isn’t even a point on highlighting certain songs because, although there are no horrible songs, there aren’t any standout or stellar tracks, either. The only exception (for me) is perhaps “If Ever I Could Love,” but it’s still another mid to up-tempo song that deals with love… just like most all the other songs on the album.
The melodies are nice, but nothing really grabbed me. The lyrics did nothing of the sort, either. I don’t think this is because I’m getting burned out on Urban… I think he’s a great talent and a huge asset to the country music genre… this album just didn’t feel like it had a vision. There are times when it sounds current, then at times it reaches back to the 80’s. Check out the solo in “If Ever I Could Love.” Those guitars sound miiiiighty familiar… almost (dare I say) Air Supply-ish.
The album sold over 171,000 copies during it’s first week of release. The current single, “Kiss A Girl,” was released just last month and is undoubtedly climbing the charts as I type this.
I don’t hate this album, but I also don’t love it. Like I said before, I think Urban‘s a phenomenal talent, and I always look forward to his releases… Defying Gravity just didn’t elevate me to another plain. Too much of the same thing can get old really fast.
Your Dig-It Download:
Download: If Ever I Could Love