Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Album Review: Keith Urban - Get Closer

Keith Urban, the wonder from down under, is widely known and loved for his Guitar Hero instrumental prowess, soap star good looks, and catchy pop-country ear candy.  In many ways, his new album Get Closer is classic Keith Urban.  The standard eight-track release might not win him any new fans, but neither will it throw any curves at his current fans.

As its very title would imply, Get Closer is largely a celebration of romantic bliss.  It is dominated by much of the same guitar-and-drum-machine brand of country-rock that has characterized the majority of Keith's output.  The set kicks off with the ultra-catchy current single "Put You In a Song."  The next track, "You Gonna Fly" is sonically enjoyable, though lyrically nondescript.  Snaky guitar riffs rip though "Long Hot Summer" in a super-cool arrangement that makes the song a promising choice for a single.

One standout track is "Without You," which is backed by a more simplified arrangement consisting of fiddle, banjo, and mandolin.  The song was written by Dave Pahanish and Joe West, though the sincerity in Keith's performance could easily lead one to believe that he had written it himself.  The album ends all too soon after only eight tracks.

...That is, unless you bought the "deluxe" edition from Target ("Deluxe" as in "actually long enough to be considered a full album").  One of the album's most striking tracks can only be found as "bonus" tracks on the Target version.  "The Luxury of Knowing" puts a welcome stain of heartache on the album's mostly happy and romantic mood.  The deluxe album closes out with some live versions of Keith's previous hits.

If were expecting Keith to break some new ground on this album, then I'm sorry to tell you that he doesn't, but he continues building on a formula that works well for him.  Get Closer could benefit from a wider variety of lyrical themes.  Still, organic arrangements and strong performances make it entertaining nonetheless.

(Scores are given on a scale of 1 to 10)