November 20, 2007

Album Review

Keith Urban had a rough go of it in late 2006, when the tour for his brilliant Love, Pain & the Whole Crazy Thing was delayed fore health-related reasons. Urban has nonetheless been a road dog in 2007, and this greatest-hits package couldn't have come at a better time. Covering eight years, these are not merely album cuts, but in most cases the actual radio edits of hit singles -- album lengths are generally longer -- so these are the actual versions of tunes that made country radio and the video channels, so it doesn't replicate previous collections. From "I Told You So" and "Making Memories of Us" it goes right on through to the far more powerful version of "Days Go By" and "Where the Blacktop Ends." The 16 catalog tracks top what is the norm for compilations like this, which usually stop at ten or twelve cuts. But there's a bit more; a lot more actually. There are two new tracks that lead this baby off, and the first one's a doozie. "Romeo's Tune" was written by Steve Forbert who, back in the mid- and late '70s, was the next up-and-comer on the songwriting scene (and who appeared on an early Cyndi Lauper video), who has been compared to both Bob Dylan and John Prine, but at the time, his brand of easy, open rock was far more refreshing than that of either of those comparisons. The song is a great fit for Urban, whose voice has just enough graininess in it to recall the original, but it also rocks harder. Urban is faithful to the original but lets his guitar do plenty of talking in the mix. This should be released as a new single to country radio and hopefully there'll be a video coming to boot. The other bonus is "Got It Right This Time (The Celebration)," which was self-penned. It begins with a B-3 and a Fender Rhodes, a slippery drum loop, and one of those trademark, mid-tempo love ballad hooks that Urban can write all day long. Given his travails over the past few years, this sounds like a love song for his new wife, Nicole Kidman. That's conjecture, but given that it was written in 2006, it's a pretty good bet. When the guitars open up and the snare starts to crack, Urban's croon glides over this soulful, easy rocker and builds to a killer bridge where the electric six-strings, percussion, organ, and piano swell to the bursting point and it's all joy. Bottom line: it's one of the great romantic rockers of 2007. Equal parts Tom Petty, Don Henley, and Bob Seger, it's a country-pop song that will go down as one of his best. Clocking in at almost 76 minutes, this is a comp for the fans, and for the uninitiated as well. [There is also a limited special edition of this set that comes in a digipack with a bonus DVD chock-full of videos and a coupon to join the online community for free for a limited time. It's true that most of these were released before, but it's a nice premium for only a little more scratch.]
Thom Jurek, Rovi

Track Listing

  1. I Told You So [Multimedia Track]
  2. Stupid Boy [Multimedia Track]
  3. Once in a Lifetime [Multimedia Track]
  4. Tonight I Wanna Cry [Multimedia Track]
  5. Better Life [Multimedia Track]
  6. Making Memories of Us [Multimedia Track]
  7. You're My Better Half [Multimedia Track]
  8. Days Go By [Multimedia Track]
  9. You'll Think of Me [Multimedia Track]
  10. Who Wouldn't Wanna Be Me [Multimedia Track]
  11. Raining on Sunday [Multimedia Track]
  12. Somebody Like You
  13. Romeo's Tune
  14. Got It Right This Time (The Celebration)
  15. I Told You So [Radio Edit]
  16. Stupid Boy
  17. Better Life
  18. Making Memories of Us [Radio Edit]
  19. Once in a Lifetime [Radio Edit]
  20. Tonight I Wanna Cry
  21. You're My Better Half [Radio Edit]
  22. Days Go By [Radio Edit]
  23. But for the Grace of God [Radio Edit]
  24. You'll Think of Me [Radio Edit]
  25. Who Wouldn't Wanna Be Me [Radio Edit]
  26. Raining on Sunday [Radio Edit]
  27. Where the Blacktop Ends [Radio Edit]
  28. Your Everything [Radio Edit]
  29. Somebody Like You
  30. Everybody [Radio Edit]