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Keith Urban “Defying Gravity” with new CD

Keith Urban’s new “Defying Gravity” arrives at a wholly different time in the country star’s life than his previous studio album, 2006′s “Love, Pain & The Whole Crazy Thing.”

The distinction comes across clearly in the exuberance and comfort expressed in his new songs. Back then, Urban had checked into rehab two weeks before the album’s release, barely four months after his marriage to Nicole Kidman. Apparently, the long title reflected his conflicts between personal bliss and private torment.

Urban sounds decidedly more buoyant on “Defying Gravity.” The album’s sophisticated arrangements, several of which unfold at over the five-minute mark, also suggest the Australian native made the best of his extended creative break. Tunes like “My Heart Is Open” and “If Ever I Could Love” experiment with rhythms and textures, and Urban expresses his joy in ecstatic guitar runs as well as in lyrics.

Indeed, some songs – “Kiss A Girl” and the album’s first hit, “Sweet Thing” – concentrate almost too much on musical merriment while letting the lyrics slip into juvenile sentiment. However, the best songs – the soulful “Standing Right In Front Of You,” the sweet ballad “Only You Can Love Me This Way” and the cover of Radney Foster’s “I’m In” – illustrate Urban’s talent for tying high-spirited instrumentation to upbeat statements about the pleasures of love and everyday life.


Keith Urban

“Defying Gravity” (Capitol Nashville)

Genre: country

Grade: B+

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