Picks and Pans Review: Keith Urban

UPDATED 11/20/2006 at 01:00 AM EST Originally published 11/20/2006 at 01:00 AM EST

Love, Pain & the Whole Crazy Thing

It's hard to listen to Keith Urban's new album without thinking about the headlines he's made from his personal life this year. A romantic declaration like "Once in a Lifetime"—on which he sings, "I close my eyes and I see you standin' right there/Sayin' 'I do' and they're throwin' the rice in our hair"—clearly seems to be inspired by his June marriage to fellow Aussie Nicole Kidman. Meanwhile, the stand-by-your-woman sentiments of "Won't Let You Down" are now more than a little ironic after Urban's admittance to rehab last month. Musically, the disc represents a marked departure from 2004's superior Be Here, with Urban venturing more toward middle-of-the-road pop-rock. Brooks & Dunn's Ronnie Dunn helps turn up the twang, though, on the uplifting "Raise the Barn," while "I Told You So" finds some fertile common ground between country and Celtic sounds.

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