Tuesday, July 16th, 2013

Keith Urban – Little Bit of Everything

Of all the artists to get comparisons to both Four Tet and Owl City…


Patrick St. Michel: This sounds like a CMT-stab at Owl City, or maybe the line about “hanging a disco ball from an old oak tree” is a more rural take on “Fireflies.” “Little Bit Of Everything” also has the same bounce as Owl City’s more prominent songs (although without the electronic touches). Too his credit, Keith Urban doesn’t sound as much as a weenie as the Owl City guy.

Alfred Soto: The modern glitz of the production creates an unpleasant overlay over Urban’s generalist sentiments: he’s saying the same old twaddle with a hint of electronica not strong enough to offend Nashville and a guitar solo okay enough to mollify them.

Anthony Easton: What saves this from being generic is the too-small punctums. Why is he being driven to the “old oak tree”? What are the implications of legality with regards to the?Cuban?cigars? Why is he alone? Is there a tension between something that chills, and something that allows you to get your groove on? This might be me working too hard on finding anything to like about it, or to find interest where none exists.

Iain Mew: I really like the stuttering banjos, which add a freshness that goes nicely with the laidback chorus. The first verse does in any chances of me listening to it again, though. “I want a cool chick that’ll cook for me/But who’ll dance on the bar in her tan bare feet/And do what I want when I want/And she’ll do it with me”. There’s plausible deniability over whether he means “I want a chick… that’ll do what I want when I want”, but if there’s another reading that makes any more sense I’m missing it, and the nasty false dichotomy of that “but” doesn’t make me want to give the benefit of the doubt. It’s not like the song’s even that catchy, anyway.

Brad Shoup: That glitchy mandolin bit sounds like Four Tet! That’s neat; I wonder if he’s running a T-Swift play. Just listen to him backtrack on country pleasures: hankering for disco decor, flouting a Very Serious US embargo (though shit, he’s Australian, maybe he’s just rubbing it in), eschewing the big piece of God’s land. And then there’s that monolithic bass. Essentially, though, this is a summer song, not a statement of independence. The beat paddles like university crew, then sinks into the lake.

Edward Okulicz: Why Urban might have a disco ball in his possession is not readily discerned from his back catalogue; most of his songs are as lumbering and stiff as a board (admittedly “But For The Grace of God” and “Where the Blacktop Ends,” for instance, work in spite of these limitations) and this one’s no exception. The playful banjo dances artificially over a lite beat but Urban’s voice lacks the requisite playfulness to make the meaningless bromides of the lyrics move in tandem — the cliches must weigh a ton here.

Katherine St Asaph: Country gone trap! That’s genuinely surprising. (Well, I’d have expected country gone actual trap first. Possibly. I don’t even know anymore.) Shame Keith Urban’s mechanical drill of a voice keeps this conventional the same way Adam Levine’s does. Also not helping: his request for yet another compliant manic pixie Southern belle foot-baker. (Do tans even work that way? Does she, like, squirt tanning lotion into her Rainbows? Or is this some weird fetish detail? Since when does Nicole Kidman tan, anyway?)

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