Single Review: Keith Urban, “You Gonna Fly”

In this aggression-heavy era of Eric Church and Jason Aldean, it’s easy to take Keith Urban’s brand of swagger for granted.  It’s a little smoother around the edges, a little less gritty – but when he finds the right song to marry it to, it’s as natural and dynamic as any in the field.

On “You’re Gonna Fly,” Urban trades his typical exuberance for this kind of cool confidence. He strips the title phrase of all its pomposity – just as he did with last decade’s “Who Wouldn’t Wanna Be Me?” – but retains its punch with an assured performance. Even the song’s refreshing blackbird and songbird metaphors take the backseat to his delivery; his “Baby look at you now” in the second verse is so three-dimensional that it practically pulls you into the bed of his truck.

Like the whistle that kicks off the the first chorus, simple touches give the otherwise paint-by-number arrangement a sense of urgency. But there’s a deeper, transcendental quality to “You Gonna Fly” that floats quietly behind its metaphors and whistles – Urban hits on love’s ability to lift us –“fly” us– to a different plane, spiritually and emotionally. That he approaches this lofty notion with matter-of-fact breeziness (“One, two, three / Baby don’t think twice / Just like that you got a brand new life”) makes it all the more convincing.

Written by Preston Brust, Chris Lucas & Jaren Johnston

Grade: B+

Listen: You Gonna Fly




  1. Welcome back, Tara!

    Loved the review. The song just keeps growing and growing on me, and now I think I need to go back and listen to it again. I love the cool little touches like the whistle, and the song really does flow with a natural breeziness that makes it so thoroughly enjoyable. Review was spot-on.

  2. Keith Urban is one of the best male country singers out there right now in my estimation. I don’t think he has ever done a “Im Country and Ignorant and Proud” song. I really respect him for avoiding that trend.

  3. Thank goodness Keith is not part of the ‘Aggression Heavy, rowdy trend in today’s Country music. How anyone can believe ‘a drink in the hand’ is good music, lyrics or anything else is just beyond me. I want my music to lift me up, or make me think, or make me cry even, but I don’t want it to pull me down. I am so thankful for Keith Urban and his music. He is the Best, vocalist, Entertainer and musician in Country music today and he writes as well. Not this song, but if he doesn’t write a great song he recognizes a Great song!! This one is perfect!!

  4. I hate to further a derail here, but I’m genuinely curious.

    “Drink in my Hand” is one of the few contemporary country rockers I’ve enjoyed enough to put on my iPhone. On looking at the lyrics, I see that it doesn’t appear to pander to country elitism or aggression, and only briefly references the “shake that country ass” subject matter that stemmed from “Honky Tonk Badonkadonk”.

    Do you reserve the same distaste for Garth Brooks’ similarly alcohol-soaked “Friends in Low Places”?

  5. I wasn’t necessarily trying to cast Church and Aldean in a negative light. I like Church’s brand of swagger when the material is good. He’s bad ass in “Smoke a Little Smoke.” Aldean, on the other hand, just doesn’t appeal to me, even when I like the material – but he’s definitely built a niche for himself.

    And thanks so much, Ben!

  6. Tara, I was actually responding to the comment above my own rather than to your review, and especially to it identifying Drink in my Hand – a relatively inoffensive song, in my opinion – as a particularly bad example of the country aggressiveness trend.

    …which was why I apologized for derailing the comments from discussion of the song and your review, which should be their natural purpose.

    I’m a (mild) fan of Keith Urban myself, and certainly not a Church partisan; I fully agreed with the prevailing criticisms of his single Homeboy, for example.

    Church does have his offenders, of course; I found Homeboy

  7. Love Keith, but I’ve been kind of lukewarm on most of his singles as of late. This one’s better (though I did like “Put You In A Song” and “Long Hot Summer”) but still not as good to me as the stuff he was putting out even around the “Love, Pain, Etc” era.

    I’d rather hear “Drink In My Hand” than this to be honest.

  8. So far “Without You” is the only single from Keith’s Get Closer album that’s totally lost me. I’ve enjoyed all three of the others, though they certainly don’t outdo the Golden Road/ Be Here material.

  9. Keith has more talent in his little finger than most people have in their whole body. He can do anything. Musician..songwriter…guitarist…vocalist..he’s a virtuoso with stellar musical tastes, not to mention that he’s an incredible, caring person and such a lovely man!

  10. I am not at all a fan of country. A little Kenny, but none of the others, EXCEPT FOR THE FABULOUS KEITH URBAN. I have always wished Keith had gone pop rather than country, but country was his passion. Keith Urban is so multi-talented and does not receive the fine accolades he is so deserving. Because of my distaste for country music, I still am at awe of how I discovered Keith Urban; it must have been in the stars.

  11. Unfortunately, I feel someone like Keith Urban would simply get lost in the shuffle in this current radio climate outside of Country radio.

    Ever since 2009, radio has simply not been kind to rock bands and guitar heroes virtually anywhere. Foster The People may have picked up a Top Five hit granted, but can you even really consider them a traditional rock act? Or Train’s newer material? I think I’d have to go back to Shinedown’s “Second Chance” to find the last more-or-less true rock crossover hit. “Don’t You Wanna Stay?” was certainly shunned by the Mainstream Top 40, and I thought that had all the ingredients for a surefire crossover hit.

    Even if Urban wanted to, I doubt he’d have much success at this time beyond Country radio, save some AC airplay. The Adult Top 40 has trended unfavorably from him, as has the Mainstream Top 40 which is very dance pop-centric at this point in time (unless your name is Adele). So I can’t blame him for sticking true to his home format.

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