Keith Urban, “Only You Can Love Me This Way”

KeithUrbanIt’s been a long time since radio’s heard Keith Urban pour his heart into a ballad, and for all the splashy fun that came with his past few singles, it’s nice to hear him simply emote again. “Only You Can Love Me This Way” is a refreshingly stripped-down track that doesn’t consist of much beyond a simple melody, gentle guitar, and Urban’s tender vocals – raw with emotion and remarkably skillful in delivery.

Urban sells the song and then some, but the lyrics themselves are far from potent: “And you’re always in my heart/You’re always on my mind/When it all becomes too much/You’re never far behind.” It’s a testament to Urban’s artistry that he’s able to breathe life and passion into such nondescript lyrics, turning them into what feels like a tailor-made ode to his wife.

Written by Steve McEwan and John Reid

Grade: B+

Listen: Only You Can Love Me This Way



  1. While I love this song and Keith’s beautiful voice, I was hoping he would release “My Heart Is Open” for his next single…this song is one of my favorites on Defying Gravity. But then again, look where that boring Brad Paisley song, Then got to, however, Brad is the pet and Keith is the stepchild and will probably not have that kind of luck with his song.

  2. Gail,
    I’m not understanding where you’re getting the perception that Brad is the pet while Keith is the stepchild. I think Keith is treated rather well by radio. I even think he may be more of a “superstar” than Brad, as his songs are more universal as far as crossing genres goes.

  3. This is my point Leeann, while songs of Keith’s such as Stupid Boy, Tonight I Wanna Cry…2 songs that I think were awesome songs could not get to #1 on BB, but then everything Brad has released lately have gone straight to #1…one being that ridiculous TICKS song. Do you think that is really deserving of a #1?? I guess I think the way I do because Brad has never impressed me as a very good singer…he doesn’t have much range at all, but yet he wins MV at award shows over Keith. And his novelty songs get so old. They are ok to listen to once, but that’s all. Not only do I feel this way about’s Chesney too! I have never cared for Chesney at any point. Well, I’m just whinning here, but you wanted to know why and this is my reason! I guess getting a song to #1 is not totally what it’s all about. Just having a great career like Keith does and the respct and admiration from the fans. Thanks for asking Leeann…at least I got it off my chest. lol!

  4. I’m really glad Keith released this song as a single. I think radio will embrace it because it contrasts greatly with a lot of the up-tempo rock infused country that’s on radio right now.

    Even if it doesn’t, it’s great ear-candy.

  5. I’d say “deserving” has nothing at all to do with the top of the BB charts Gail. I agree its frustrating, though. Brad is the king of gimmicks, and Keith has some real good song that don’t seem to be as big as they could be.

  6. Gail,
    I think we’ve been through this conversation before? It seems very familiar.

    I like both Brad and Keith, but Brad is probably more my style than Keith’s most recent output, I’ll admit. I think they’re both talented, even if I have a preference. There was actually a time when Keith was decisively above Brad on my preference list though.

    I am surprised those two songs of Keith’s that you mentioned didn’t make it to the top.

    As for Brad’s voice, I agree that Keith’s is stronger, but I’ve always liked Brad’s voice. It’s always reminded me of Alan Jackson’s, though not quite as good, of course. There’s a simplicity about it that I like. Keith’s voice is great, but in a more dramatic way.

    I’m not going to be a fair judge on “Ticks”, I suppose, since I’m one of the people who likes that one.

  7. As someone who still much prefers Keith Urban, I have to say that I don’t think he’s really been snubbed at all. He won the CMA Male Vocalist trophy for three years straight before Brad had even won once, and his retail numbers have more or less matched or exceeded Brad’s for as long as they’ve both been around.

    It’s true that nothing from Love, Pain went to #1, but I don’t really think that matters; Brad Paisley’s best single (“Whiskey Lullaby”) didn’t go to #1 either. Neither did Sugarland’s (“Stay”), or lots of others’. I think interesting songs – particularly sad ballads – just have a harder time on modern country radio. It’s a shame, but radio will pick light and feel-good stuff over interesting stuff 9 times out of 10, regardless of who releases it.

    Spot-on review, Tara. I’d probably give it a B- or even C+ myself, but I agree with everything you said. His performance is the saving grace.

  8. This is an interesting batch of comments. From my perspective, Urban’s able to elevate the material he sings because of his effectiveness as a vocalist, but I don’t think Paisley can do the same.
    That’s probably why I’d rather listen to Urban sing a decent song than Paisley sing a good one.

    I think Urban and Paisley have each been treated excellently by radio. Neither of them have missed the top ten in the past nine years. In Urban’s entire career, all but one single went top ten. In Paisley’s, all but two.

    Urban has two Grammys, Paisley three.

    Urban has three CMA Male Vocalist awards, Paisley has two.

    Urban’s won CMA Entertainer, Paisley’s won CMA Album.

    Urban definitely has the significant edge as a record-seller, but Paisley’s no slouch either.

  9. Yeah, it looks as though Urban and Paisley are pretty equal as far as how they’re treated by award shows and radio. My perception of Urban being the bigger star may have to do with his crossover success and his high profile marriage.

  10. Thanks Dan. I like the song a lot, but I still don’t think it compares to his previous stuff. I was let down by his album, as you were.

    I don’t think you can really compare Brad and Keith – to me, it’s apples and oranges. I think perhaps I like Brad more as a person, and Keith more as an artist. Brad’s personality interests me more than Keith’s does, and as a result, I’m interested in his music. It’s the opposite with Keith.

    Leeann…I love “Ticks”!

  11. Yeah Leeann, I guess we’ve had this conversation before. I’ve been in and read conversations about this subject in a lot of places.

    Brad seems like a nice guy, but to me, regardless of how I feel about Keith, he just straddles the fence on boring and Ok to me. When I see Keith perform or hear his music, the adrenaline in me starts really flowing. Don’t know why, but when watching Keith play guitar I go into a strance and become mesmerized. I don’t do that with Brad. In the video for Start a Band..I cannot take my eyes off Keith and he just brings the video to life for me. And no it’s not a hormonal!! Even though he is so HOT! I grew up in the 60’s & 70’s and Keith reminds me of and takes me back to that time in my life! He just has a charismatic personality on that stage that I love. Hey, off topic here, but one of you posted the album sales chart one time and I liked that. Are you going to do it again? I love reading that stuff!

  12. I’m kind of in LeAnn’s camp, in that I once preferred Urban’s music. I still think Urban is one of the better ballad singers in the business, and he always goes all-out to try to connect with a song and sell it. But, I just think that lately Urban’s gone a bit too bland, a process that sort of began with LPATWCT and has completely taken him over with Defying Gravity. Outside of “Thank You”, there wasn’t anything on that album that didn’t strike me as bland, bubble gum pop…listening to the album just made me feel like he wrote in his sleep. I agree with Tara that Urban gives this song a good vocal, but that it just isn’t as lyrically interesting as his previous ballads.

    I prefer Paisley to Urban right now because I think his singles are a little more unique and interesting. Come on, what other artist would come up with an idea as ridiculous as “Ticks.” (and count me in with those who like the song). I also like that he’s willing to write about his previous experiences, and still make them have a unique message(ex. Letter to Me, Welcome to the Future, etc.) As of right now, I think Paisley’s the better artist of the two, simply because I like the creative direction he’s taken in his music. Urban certainly has the talent to continue making good albums. I just feel he needs to get motivated again.

  13. Good grief, I can’t understand how anybody likes TICKS! Ya’ll can have it & Brad too! lol! Even if Keith weren’t my main man, I would not be gong ho on Paisley…it would be George Strait! What can I say, I love sexy men singers with beautiful voices! lol! I’m outta here for now, I think I feel a tick crawling on me! haha!

  14. On LP&tWCT, I really liked “I Told You So and moderately liked “Raise the Barn.” I would have liked “Thank You” if it had had a different production.

  15. I thought LP&tWCT had some good songs on it (Stupid Boy, Everybody, Shine, Got it Right This Time). I just felt it was kind of step down from Golden Road and Be Here, due to the schizophranic style, and the increased pop sheen. And I agree with you on the production of “Thank You”…it’s a little bit too similar to “Got it Right This Time.” I just think the lyrics are so strong that the song is able to overcome it.

  16. Golden Road and Be Here are the albums that hooked me on Urban. Like Mike, the subsequent albums haven’t really worked for me. I expect that I’ll likely swing back his way when he gets rid of the drum loops though.

  17. Sorry, but it Urban all the way for me. I have to turn the station when Paisley starts singing. I just can’t stand his voice. It seems so forced most of the time. I also don’t get Paisley’s humor, it is just ridiculous to me. “Ticks” is on my list of worst songs ever!

  18. When I first heard this song it broght tears to my eyes as it totally speaks for my marriage of 25 years. It is now “our song”. I predict there will be many bride and grooms dancing their first song to it this year. It will go to number one…it is very endearing and reminds me of Making Memories of Us.

    I beleive Keith should have gotten Entertainer of the Year the last few years—-he has been totally jipped on awards…..He works soooo hard, he is a master song writer, mult instrumentalist, fantastic singer and no one puts as much energy into concerts than he does. And he truly cares for his fans and appreciates them. I have no issues with Brad he works hard too.

    My gag award goes to Kenny Chesney—-the Jimmy Buffet stealing want to be, can’t write nothing but lets drink beer and get drunk songs, can barely sing and can only play two chords. All I got of his summer concert last year is beer spilled on me. Thats entertainment??? I’m sorry did I say that out loud?

  19. OK, I gotta say I’ve been hearing this song on radio and I’m really loving it more than I thought! Keith can really put passion and emotion in his songs better than most artist!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.