What is surprising is how insubstantial it all feels this time. For all their radio friendliness, Urban and his co-writers have always demonstrated an ability to make even the simplest theme – be it open-road exhilaration in “Who Wouldn’t Wanna Be Me” or carpe diem revivalism in “Days Go By” – sound grounded in honest, specific human experience. “Sweet Thing” walks the walk, with loads of juicy little details peppering the record’s brisk build, but comes across unusually contrived.
The issue boils down to sheer predictability. Aside from sounding like a mash-up of Urban’s signature “Somebody Like You” and Chuck Wicks’ recent “All I Ever Wanted” (another Powell co-write), “Sweet Thing” feels like it was deliberately crafted to model everything country radio currently craves: tempo, verses that speed along into catchy choruses, and nondescript adolescent romance. Urban delivers a remarkably charming performance despite these narrow confines, proving again why he is one of the genre’s most distinct and technically skilled vocalists, but this one never amounts to more than hormonally-charged ear candy.
Written by Keith Urban & Monty Powell
Listen: Sweet Thing