Defying Gravity (Keith Urban album)

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Defying Gravity
Studio album by Keith Urban
Released 31 March 2009 (2009-03-31)
Genre Country
Length 48:17
Label Capitol Nashville
Producer Dann Huff
Keith Urban
Keith Urban chronology
Greatest Hits: 18 Kids
(2007)
Defying Gravity
(2009)
Get Closer
(2010)
Singles from Defying Gravity
  1. "Sweet Thing"
    Released: 3 November 2008
  2. "Kiss a Girl"
    Released: 10 March 2009
  3. "Only You Can Love Me This Way"
    Released: 29 June 2009
  4. "'Til Summer Comes Around"
    Released: 23 November 2009
  5. "I'm In"
    Released: 10 May 2010
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars[1]
Rolling Stone 2/5 stars[2]
Slant Magazine 2.5/5 stars[3]
Entertainment Weekly B[4]

Defying Gravity is the sixth studio album by Australian country music artist Keith Urban. It was released on 31 March 2009 (see 2009 in country music) on Capitol Nashville. This song included five singles, released between 2008 and 2010 respectively.

The album sold 171,000 copies in its first week of release. On 2 December 2009, the album was nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Country Album, but lost to Taylor Swift's Fearless.[5]

Background[edit]

The title Defying Gravity comes from the lyrics of "If Ever I Could Love" ("Your heart and mine tonight are defying gravity"), a phrase that Urban said "really defined the joyous, optimistic and uplifting spirit that seemed to show itself while making the album."[6] The track "I'm In was previously released in 1998 by Radney Foster (as a duet with Abra Moore) on the album See What You Want to See and later by The Kinleys in 2000 from their album II. Both Foster's and The Kinleys' versions were singles.

"Sweet Thing", which Urban co-wrote with Monty Powell, is the album's lead-off single. The song topped the Billboard country singles chart in March 2009. Urban and Powell also wrote the album's second single "Kiss a Girl", which peaked at number 3 later the same year. "Only You Can Love Me This Way" was released in June 2009 as the album's third single and reached number 1 as well. The fourth single is "'Til Summer Comes Around". Urban's rendition of "I'm In" the album's fifth single.

Reception[edit]

Commercial[edit]

Upon its release, Defying Gravity reached number 1 on the all-genre Billboard 200 albums chart, becoming the first album of Urban's career to do so.[7]

Critical[edit]

Defying Gravity has received mixed reviews from music critics. Jonathan Keefe of Slant Magazine gave it two-and-a-half stars out of five, saying that the album lacked the "rawness" of his earlier albums. He also said that most of the songs, including its first two singles, were "retread"s of his earlier hits, and that his vesion of "I'm In" was inferior to The Kinleys'. In addition, he considered the love ballads "schmaltzier impulses", although he also said that it was "a rebound from the bloated, self-indulgent Love, Pain & the Whole Crazy Thing" (Urban's last studio album) and noted that "Sweet Thing" showed Urban's and Huff's ability to use a banjo effectively in a rock-influenced song.[3] Rolling Stone critic Mark Kemp, who gave the album two stars out of five, said that it lacked the ambition of Love, Pain & the Whole Crazy Thing and had "idyllic" themes.[2]

Thom Jurek gave a four-out-of-five rating in his review for Allmusic. Jurek also noted Urban's use of banjo in more rock-oriented songs, as well as the variety of instruments used overall. He described the first two singles and the "I'm In" cover favorably, saying of "I'm In" that its backing vocals recalled The Rolling Stones, and he called the final track ("Thank You") a "nakedly open paean to wife Nicole [Kidman]." In addition, Jurek considered the album's sound an expansion on Love, Pain & the Whole Crazy Thing by "seamlessly combining hook-laden crafty songwriting with a pop sensibility in the modern country vernacular that blazes a new trail."[1] In addition, Entertainment Weekly critic Whitney Pastorek gave a B rating, saying that the album had "Kidman-centric lyrics" but also showed "a gift for making radio-baiting hooks and production feel enthusiastically fresh."[4]

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Kiss a Girl"   Keith Urban, Monty Powell 3:46
2. "If Ever I Could Love"   Urban, Darrell Brown 5:00
3. "Sweet Thing"   Urban, Powell 3:48
4. "'Til Summer Comes Around"   Urban, Powell 5:31
5. "My Heart Is Open"   Urban, John Shanks 5:29
6. "Hit the Ground Runnin'"   Jerry Flowers 3:24
7. "Only You Can Love Me This Way"   Steve McEwan, John Reid 4:07
8. "Standing Right in Front of You"   Urban, Rick Nowells 4:01
9. "Why's It Feel So Long"   Urban 3:24
10. "I'm In"   Radney Foster, Georgia Middleman 4:33
11. "Thank You"   Urban, Nowells 5:14

Promotion[edit]

iTunes had an exclusive offer called "Countdown to Defying Gravity" where every week fans would be able to download a podcast where Urban talks about the song. Also, iTunes had a "Complete My Album" where fans would complete the whole album and get a bonus track, a cover, "Call My Name" originally recorded by the Christian band Third Day for their Revelation album.[8]

Urban appeared on Today and The Ellen DeGeneres Show on 1 April. He sang "Sweet Thing" and "Kiss a Girl" on both shows. He performed "Kiss a Girl" at the Academy of Country Music awards on 12 April.[8]

Charts and certifications[edit]

End-of-year charts[edit]

Chart (2010) Year-end
2010
US Billboard 200 129[13]
US Billboard Top Country Albums 23[14]

Singles[edit]

Year Single Peak chart positions
US Country US US Pop US AC CAN AUS
2008 "Sweet Thing" 1 30 45 96
2009 "Kiss a Girl" 3 16 20 11 34 87
"Only You Can Love Me This Way" 1 34 49
"'Til Summer Comes Around" 3 58 74
2010 "I'm In" 2 67 74
"—" denotes releases that did not chart

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Jurek, Thom. "Defying Gravity review". Allmusic. Retrieved 13 June 2009. 
  2. ^ a b Kemp, Mark (17 March 2009). "Defying Gravity review". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 13 June 2009. 
  3. ^ a b Keefe, Jonathan (30 March 2009). "Defying Gravity review". Slant. Retrieved 13 June 2009. 
  4. ^ a b Pastorek, Whitney (31 March 2009). "Defying Gravity review". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 16 June 2009. 
  5. ^ "The 52nd Annual Grammy Awards Nominees List", Grammy.com, 2 December 2009
  6. ^ Keith Urban Picks Defying Gravity as Album Title, Country Music Television, 22 January 2009.
  7. ^ Keith Caulfield, Keith Urban Soars To No. 1 On Billboard 200, Billboard.com, 8 April 2009.
  8. ^ a b Keith Urban news, keithurban.net
  9. ^ "australian-charts.com - Keith Urban - Defying Gravity". Hung Medien. Retrieved April 30, 2012. 
  10. ^ "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 2010 Albums". Australian Recording Industry Association. 
  11. ^ "Canadian album certifications – Keith Urban – Defying Gravity". Music Canada. 
  12. ^ "American album certifications – Keith Urban – Defying Gravity". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH
  13. ^ "Best of 2010 - Billboard Top 200". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. Retrieved 31 December 2010. 
  14. ^ "Best of 2010 - Top Country Albums". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. Retrieved 31 December 2010. 
Preceded by
Shine by Martina McBride
Top Country Albums number-one album
18 April 2009
Succeeded by
Unstoppable by Rascal Flatts
Preceded by
Now! 30 by Various artists
Billboard 200 number-one album
18 April 2009