The bad news is that the album is short. Super short. Unless fans want to drive to Target, which has exclusive rights to the full version of Get Closer, they’ll have to settle for a shorter album that clocks in at eight tracks. This so-called “standard” edition feels more like an EP, and the fact that Target’s version only adds two more originals -- coupled with a remake of Santana’s “Winning” and four live tracks from the Love, Pain & the Whole Crazy Thing tour -- provides little relief.
On last year?s aggressively cheery Defying Gravity, Keith Urban did his best to prove he?d bounced back from both a rehab stay and Love, Pain & the Whole Crazy Thing, his (relatively) underperforming disc from 2006. The singer and husband of Nicole Kidman sounds a bit more at ease here, which doesn?t mean Get Closer lacks for pop-country pep; on no fewer than three songs do we find him jumping into a car and chasing his troubles away. But Urban also gets moodier on ?Shut Out the Lights,? where he and his lady spend an evening ”walking around in circles wearing holes out in the floor.
Since he started writing most of his songs about how amazing it is to be married to Nicole Kidman, Keith Urban’s music has lost a good deal of the luster that made him one of the biggest and most compelling acts in contemporary country. Urban has always been at his best when his music retains at least a hint of an edge and a melancholic undercurrent, even when he structures his songs with massive, sugar-shock pop hooks. His sixth proper studio album, Get Closer, intermittently hints at a creative rebound and a return to a sound that owes less to Richard Marx and Phil Collins than has his recent output.
NE-YO “Libra Scale” (Def Jam) If albums had a thread count, the one on Ne-Yo’s “Libra Scale” would be more than 1,000. Plush is the watchword for this album, the fourth by Shaffer Chimere Smith, a k a Ne-Yo. Through a career as R&B lyricist (often for women) and performer of his own songs, Ne-Yo has positioned himself as a sensitive man who genuinely loves women, defying hip-hop machismo and its strip-club images of femininity.