Sound — 7
Keith Urban isn't your typical cowboy. The
Australian country music star doesn't stray too far from the genre he's enclosed in, but it doesn't necessarily mean he's another ribs-stained musician who loves the sound of a banjo when the sun rises. Urban's seventh studio release, Get Closer, shows just this. The rather short album is lined with country influences intended to captivate twang lovers (see openers "Put You In A Song", "You Gonna Fly") but there's much more on the inside. "Long Hot Summer" plays with a mix of guitar riffs from country radio and 80s' ballads while "Right Back On To You" explains why Urban can easily be classified as an adult contemporary artist, one who isn't afraid to churn out a heartwarming chorus while a speeding guitar solo rips through the airwaves. Then there's the experimental side of the songwriter. The side where, if exposed through singles, it would turn more than a few heads. Aided by a country rock beginning, "Shut Out The Lights" is driven into a flurry of alternative rock rhythms, tapping into an arena rock sound normally found in younger acts like Kings Of Leon. The unusual sidestep seems out of character, but it fits and makes one almost feel as if it's a path Urban should follow instead of stare at from afar.
Lyrics — 8
The striking similarity between Get Closer and 2009's Defying Gravity is Urban's voice. Though it probably has nothing to do with geological background, the songwriter has always been able to project his voice in a way that it attracts listeners of all ages, not to mention styles of music. Going from sugared-down country tunes to intimate ballads is no easy task but Urban shows no signs of stress. The reason being, Get Closer deals with a topic he's far too familiar with: relationships. All of the eight songs on the record discuss thoughts coming from the heart and push Urban to make his vocals seem desperate, innocent and earnestly raw. "Last night I fell asleep and I saw you dancing in my dreams / Just like the Autumn leaves that have fallen for you," he croons on "All For You", a mid-tempo ballad that pictures the singer in the comfort of his apartment, alone, reminiscing with rain tapping at the window. The scene has been replayed endless times, but the 43-year-old makes it work by touching the softer personality located on the inside.
Overall Impression — 7
Urban's 2010 release may just pass the 30-minute mark and seem exceptionally short for a studio creation, but there's a reason for it. Sometimes words can't describe emotions and with a few records being a bit on the long side recently, Get Closer enunciates it's an album that should be put on repeat. Not because it's a classic, as it only pushes forward Urban's trademark musicianship and doesn't expose other ventures, only a glimmer of alternative rock that's been creeping in the vocalist's veins for quite some time now. Will the country moniker be ripped off of the musician's chest in the near future? It doesn't seem too important to Urban, who's still trying to express the feelings he can't describe through simple words and melodies.