Defying Gravity by Keith Urban

Determined optimism is a staple of Keith Urban’s artistic palette, so now that his private life has been sorted out—since the release of 2006’s Love, Pain & the whole crazy thing he has sobered up and become a father—it’s no surprise that Defying Gravity finds the guitar-wiz superstar in an even sunnier disposition than usual. While Keith’s upbeat-anthem mode has sometimes led him to repeat himself, on Gravity he makes it work. This is a punchy album that glories in its clarity and hooks, and Keith seems to be having a ball filling every corner with ear-tickling instrumental and vocal touches (his masterfully controlled falsetto shines in particular).

In the past, Keith’s most dark and ambiguous moments (“Tonight I Wanna Cry,” “Stupid Boy”) have been some of his finest. It seems unlikely that he’ll ever produce the flat-out masterpiece he clearly has in him without delving into those depths again—but for now, Defying Gravity is still an irresistible treat.

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