dinsdag, mei 31

Love, Pain & the Whole Crazy Thing was released on November 7, 2006, just after country singer and songwriter Keith Urban entered -- of his own accord -- into treatment for alcoholism. With Urban having married actress Nicole Kidman just months before, the timing couldn't be better. After all, Urban is trying to get well at the very peak of his life -- thus far -- personally and professionally.

Be Here, his last album, is, at the time of this writing, at nearly the four-million mark in sales. As fine as that disc is, this one is another giant leap for Urban as an artist. Love, Pain & the Whole Crazy Thing is slicker than anything Urban has issued before, but that's because it's more ambitious as well.

Urban is a rocking guitarist, a complete wildman on the electric six-string, and he can combine his tough, unhinged approach to playing guitar with pop songwriting and utterly brilliant production elements that layer strings, drum loops, fiddles, banjos, E-Bows, and Hammond B-3s. Add a songwriting style that touches on the classic elements of rock, country, and mainstream pop, and you have something that hasn't been heard in the country genre in this way before. That's right -- the album is further proof of his ability to stretch the genre to the breaking point by bringing in more of modern pop's elements while remaining firmly within it.