Album: Be Here

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Album:

Be Here

Artist: Keith Urban
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Label: Capitol

Australian-born Keith Urban, hot off the double-platinum success of his 2002 sophomore album, Golden Road, is kind of like contemporary country’s Tom Cruise. The kid is just so unjustly talented, likeable, and good-looking that it’s hard not to hate him. But such jealousy is apt to melt into begrudging admiration and affection after a quick listen to this third album. True, some of Urban’s self-penned adolescent love laments and bright-eyed paeans to life in the slow lane do sound a bit callow and derivative. But, with his resolute tenor and his…

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Australian-born Keith Urban, hot off the double-platinum success of his 2002 sophomore album, Golden Road, is kind of like contemporary country’s Tom Cruise. The kid is just so unjustly talented, likeable, and good-looking that it’s hard not to hate him. But such jealousy is apt to melt into begrudging admiration and affection after a quick listen to this third album. True, some of Urban’s self-penned adolescent love laments and bright-eyed paeans to life in the slow lane do sound a bit callow and derivative. But, with his resolute tenor and his dazzling lead guitar work, he breathes real pain and passion into moving confessionals like Matraca Berg’s “Nobody Drinks Alone,” “Tonight I Wanna Cry” (a heart-rending ballad co-written by Urban), and a gentle Rodney Crowell gem called “Memories of Us.” —Bob Allen

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