Keith Urban - Fuse
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Fuse (Capitol Nashville, 2013)

Keith Urban

Reviewed by Jeffrey B. Remz

Keith Urban will keep his superstar status intact with the lengthy "Fuse." The upbeat, commercial- and fan-friendly music and singing from Urban will ensure that. This is pretty much vintage Urban.

That means Urban's not very high on the country quotient. What sounds like a guitar on the rocking Good Thing and the somewhat swampy Red Camaro, for example, is Mike Elizondo's programming. Yes, there's gango (six-stringed banjo with guitar neck) sprinkled in many songs, but for the most part, this is tried-and-true Urban with driving rockers from the start of Somewhere in My Car with its anthem-like quality with the crowd ready to kick in on the "ooh oh oh" part to the end of the deluxe version, 16-song set with Lucky Charm. A large chunk of the songs seem very radio ready (the fast-paced Even the Stars Fall 4 U with another sing-a-long chorus of "Oh oh" and a nice sonic ending where it stars like falling stars). They have a bounce to them; the vocals sound quite good; and it's what passes for country these days.

Urban may have used eight co-producers (Nathan Chapman of Taylor Swift fame, Dann Huff and Butch Walker are the main co-producers), but they all seemed to agree, fortunately, that you'd better keep Urban's vocals up way high. With a warm, expressive, pleasant sounding voice like his, why do anything different? And the guitar playing - Urban is one of the best out there - is kept way upfront as well amidst a typically very fast paced sprint throughout.

Considering the number of songs, very few fall flat; the slower Cop Car, where the couple are busted, land in the back of a cruiser and supposedly fall in love, is most guilty. The lyrics are silly enough to kill the song. At least Urban didn't write it, although he did pen 7 of the disc's songs. The subject matter doesn't vary a whole lot - almost everything focuses on relationships (in She's My 11, Urban sings "I'm a lucky man, yes I am/Living in Heaven down here on earth"). And at 16 songs, Urban may have been a bit too generous.

But Urban knows what has and does work for him. His musical fuse continues providing the spark.

CDs by Keith Urban

THE SPEED OF NOW Part 1, 2020 Graffiti U, 2018 Ripcord, 2016 Fuse, 2013 Get Closer, 2010 Defying Gravity, 2009 Keith Urban Greatest Hits: 18 Kids, 2007 Love, Pain & the Whole Crazy Thing, 2006

©Country Standard Time • Jeffrey B. Remz, editor & publisher •
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