Love, Pain & the Whole Crazy Thing [German Import]

Love, Pain & the Whole Crazy Thing [German Import]

by Keith Urban

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Love, Pain & the Whole Crazy Thing [German Import]

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. This albums feels, song by song, as if there isn't anything he can't do. Co-producing with Dan Huff, Urban wrote or co-wrote ten of the album's 13 cuts -- there's a hidden track buried in the CD-ROM portion of the disc. The production is thoroughly modern, but feels like the country equivalent of George Martin. It's positively baroque in places, and there is so much packed in that it almost, ALMOST feels claustrophobic, but he makes it work beautifully. No record since Neil Diamond's brilliant Beautiful Noise -- produced by the Band's Robbie Robertson -- has sounded so regal and inviting. The album's first single, "Once in a Lifetime," opens the set; it entered the Billboard chart at number 17, the highest debuting single since the chart's inception. But the shock is simply that it's not the best track on the record. Urban has packed this disc with fine writing and excellent, even defining versions of the songs he chose to cover. There are a number of rockers, including "Faster Car," with its smoking, funky bassline and layered power chords on guitars and his "ganjo" that ring above the horn section, and "I Told You So," which uses acoustic guitars, fiddles, and the ganjo to usher in some twisting, minor-key electrics. Both songs are based on tight little hooks; both songs build to the breaking point and allow Urban's voice to soar above the instruments. On the latter tune, Uilleann pipes and bouzouki are layered into the mix in a melody that brings to bear Celtic cowboy lyric frames and tribal rhythms that just explode near the end when Urban cuts loose in a serious, distortion-laden guitar wrangle. "Shine," which begins as a shimmering country-pop tune, is a another example, as a string section and his unhinged soloing style battle for dominance in the nearly unbearable climax. "I Can't Stop Loving You," written by Billy Nichols, is another big climax tune, but it becomes one of the great modern country love songs with its incessant reaching to its crescendo -- provided by an army of strings and big power chords. "Used to the Pain," written with Darrell Brown, is a stealthy rocking love song that drips with emotion brought out by vocals that swirl all around the instrumental mix and huge drums. The down-home anthem "Raise the Barn," a duet with Ronnie Dunn, was written in reaction to the destruction done by Hurricane Katrina. Urban can write a shuffling country-rocker with the best of them. Urban didn't pen "God Made Woman," but his version makes the track his own. Beginning with a choir (somewhat smaller and yet reminiscent of the Rolling Stones on "You Can't Always Get What You Want"), the cut quickly becomes a loud and proud country-rock anthem that celebrates -- not objectifies -- women. "Tu Compañía" is a way funky country two-step love song driven by the ganjo. Yeah. Funky. The album's final cut, "Got It Right This Time," sounds like a homemade demo by the rest of the album's standards, with Urban handling drum machine and keyboard chores while singing. That said, it's far from substandard and certainly belongs here, as it showcases Urban's voice in all its unadorned grandeur and reveals the influence of soul music on his singing. Those who wish to decry Urban as some kind of slick, formulaic songwriter and flavor of the country music moment are missing it. The man writes honest, beautifully crafted songs that are adult enough to ponder, tough enough to rock, and tender enough to pull -- not tug -- on the heartstrings. As previously stated, there's no better time to get well than when you are at the absolute top of your game. While Urban's previous records have had their moments and Be Here was his true arrival, Love, Pain & the Whole Crazy Thing is his mature pop masterpiece -- and for all its wonder and expertise, it feels like it's just a taste of what he will offer in the future. [Capitol issued a German edition in 2007.]

Product Details

Release Date: 11/24/2006
Label: Emi Europe Generic
UPC: 0094638114109
catalogNumber: 381141

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Keith Urban   Primary Artist,Bouzouki,Guitar,Mandolin,Percussion,Piano,Bass Guitar,Vocals,E-bow
Ronnie Dunn   Vocals
Rami Jaffee   Keyboards
Chris McHugh   Drums
Nashville String Machine   Strings
Jimmie Lee Sloas   Bass Guitar
Tom Bukovac   Guitar
Jenny O'Grady   Choir Conductor

Technical Credits

Terry Christian   Engineer
Steve Churchyard   Engineer
Betsy Cook   Art Direction,Management
Mark Hagen   Engineer,overdub engineer
Dann Huff   Producer,Engineer,Audio Production
Richard Marx   Composer
Chris McHugh   Programming
Daniel Miller   Management
Justin Niebank   Engineer
Billy Nicholls   Composer
Michael Omartian   Horn Arrangements
Monty Powell   Composer
Pat McGuire   Management
John Shanks   Composer
Gordie Sampson   Composer
Keith Urban   Composer,Producer,Audio Production
Steve McEwan   Composer
Torne White   Art Direction
Deanna Bryant   Composer
Sandra Westerman   Management
Dave Berg   Composer
Matt Lawrence   Engineer
Robin Carson   Management
Gary Borman   Management
Hillary Lindsey   Composer
Sarah Buxton   Composer
David Paul Campbell   String Arrangements,Choir Arrangement,String Conductor

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