Happily ever after, all the time.
You might not think that kind of storyline would be very compelling. After all, every drama needs some conflict, right? Especially in a genre second only to the blues when it comes to sheddin' tears for the girl that done ya wrong … or tellin' the tragic story of that special three-legged hound who got clocked by a Coors truck … or braggin' about how you got revenge on your boyfriend by pouring kerosene on the relationship. Even country good girls such as Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood have been known to sing about a bit o' claws-out revenge from time to time.
But then you have Keith Urban.
It seems Keith flat-out skipped country-lyrics orientation class. Because since his marriage to actress Nicole Kidman about four years ago, it's been nothin' but blue sky, blue sky and, well, blue sky. Keith never got the message that you have to do more than gush about how in love you are with your wife and with your life, because that's pretty much all he does on his 7th album, Get Closer.
"Put You in a Song" is the first of this album's eight love songs. Here a man dreams of the day the woman he secretly admires will be by his side. "You Gonna Fly" describes a man's promise that his love will help a struggling woman soar above her troubles ("On the double, leave your troubles behind/You and me, we gonna be all right").
Song after song, Keith's free fall into the arms of love continues. "And I saw you dancing in my dreams/Just like the autumn leaves/I've fallen for you," he sings on "All for You. "You changed my ways/I don't even recognize myself these days/ … I can't remember feeling love like this/I'm so alive/I can't imagine living life/Without you by my side." More of the same turns up on "Long Hot Summer" (co-written with '80s songmeister Richard Marx): "I'm in deep/ … The only place that I wanna be is where you are/'Cause any more than a heartbeat away is just too far").
Marriage and family are in the spotlight on "Without You." It's nice to have someone/So honestly devoted," Keith gushes. "The traveling/The singing/It don't mean nothin' without you/ … Along comes a baby girl/And suddenly my little world/Just got a whole lot bigger."
Hints of romantic struggle creep into the final two tracks. But even here, Keith admirably rides out the waves that threaten romance. On "Right Back to You," he overcomes fear of intimacy and apologizes for momentarily running ("I guess I got scared, and that's why I acted like such a fool"). When an unresolved conflict stretches into the wee hours, Keith confesses that he doesn't want to go to bed angry, but he realizes that maybe they'll be better able to resolve things in the morning ("Just gotta give it some time/ … 'Cause it's gonna be all right/Yeah, it's gonna be all right in the mornin' light").
"You Gonna Fly" involves a bit of vehicular recklessness as a couple hurries to get out of town ("Hop in this truck and run through the red lights"). Another line about lying in the back of the truck looking up at the stars could be read as a suggestive double entendre ("Well, here we are, baby, in the back of my bed/Sun's going down, sky's turning red"). A bit of snuggling is as racy as the proceedings ever get ("Felt that kiss, and I could get used to this").
The odes to love Keith Urban strums out here don't seem like calculated ploys or tired rehashes. And that may have a lot to do with why they don't feel too cloying. Something about the intensity and tenderness with which he describes his love for his wife just rings very true.
In a recent interview with Australia's Herald Sun, Keith said that the fame and multiplatinum success he achieved before meeting and marrying Nicole Kidman couldn't compare to the joy of life with her now. "I feel very fortunate to have gotten to a point in my career where I have those things," he said. "But I definitely had them without love in my life … and [without that] they mean nothing."
All of which makes Get Closer—a mix of fun-loving, up-tempo country rockers and ballads that'll leave even stouthearted country fans with a tear in their eye—a very sweet thing indeed.