November 20, 2006 12:00 PM

Love, Pain & the Whole Crazy Thing
REVIEWED BY CHUCK ARNOLD

COUNTRY-POP

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.

DOWNLOAD THIS: “I Told You So”

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