Keith Urban’s latest and greatest, “Defying Gravity,” is a worthy continuation of his stream of successful tunage. Urban has really locked down his style, allowing his authentic stamp to be placed on each song of this latest album. Fans of his previous work should be well-pleased with “Defying Gravity” as it presents a lineup of original and enveloping songs with the same smooth, pleasant tone. While it’s similar to previous albums and “Golden Road” in particular, it doesn’t play out stale or tired.
As far as this album’s winners, you’ve no doubt heard “Sweet Thing” and “Kiss a Girl” splattered about the airwaves, and rightly so. They’re great “hook” songs, upbeat and catchy, but there’s even more to latch onto after you’ve savored the initial singles. “My Heart is Open” is a pretty and powerful ballad, and “If I Could Ever Love” is a hearty good-mood song. If there is a better album to enjoy while winding down a dirt road on a bright sunny day, I have yet to hear it.
Perhaps Urban’s best quality is his mass appeal. Twangier, more traditionally country sounding vocalists have a tendency to turn off some listeners, as it’s too harsh a contrast with their mainstream comfort zones. Urban is among a select few country artists with the ability to appeal to more than just the traditional crowd, though I haven’t observed his songs crossing the stational divide the way Underwood and Swift have so masterfully done. Though it’s unmistakably country, this album and this artist have the potential to win and keep many listeners that wouldn’t even consider themselves country fans.
I must also take a second to plug his 2009 concert series “Escape Together” with appearances by Taylor Swift. Last year I had the privilege of seeing him live at Kenny Chesney’s Poet’s and Pirates Tour, and many in attendance believed Urban actually stole the show. He really is phenomenal both live and while “Defying Gravity.” Get on out there and check him out.