Review – Keith Urban’s “Break On Me”

Keith Urban Break On Me

When you look back at the pop country of the 2000s, Keith Urban is certainly one of the biggest names to emerge from the era and experience a lot of success. The sincerity of his voice combined with the easy-going pop country stylings in his music made him a big fan favorite amongst mainstream country fans. Personally, Urban has always been just sort of there for me. It wasn’t until his last single “John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16” that I formed a strong opinion on one of his songs. That single to me was nothing but a giant word vomit of clichés. The song was basically about nothing. And of course it reached the top five on the country airplay charts. I was surprised it didn’t reach #1 and the only reason it didn’t was because of the strong airplay of Kenny Chesney’s “Save It For A Rainy Day.” Urban has now released the follow-up and the second single of his upcoming eighth studio album, titled “Break On Me.”

Well I can say it’s an improvement over “John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16.” Then again Urban had nowhere to go but up after that song. “Break On Me” plays on the theme that is quite popular in mainstream country music and that is romantic slow jams with pop elements infused throughout. The song is about how a man offers his shoulder to his loved one and that she’s welcome to “break” on him. The lyrics, written by Ross Copperman and Jon Nite, aren’t half bad. They do a decent job of conveying emotion and giving the song somewhat of a feel. It’s a shame they really never get a fair chance to shine, as the production kills most of my interest in this song. I don’t even know how I would describe it. The electronic elements and heavy Reverb throughout the song is annoying and unnecessary. The only reason this is included is because that’s the current popular sound in the genre right now. It serves no purpose other than this. If the song sticks to a simple acoustic guitar and piano, it might actually be good. Instead it’s just another forgettable, bland romance song on country radio.

I can see what Keith Urban was going for with this song, but it misses the mark in too many areas to accomplish it. Urban has always been a pop country singer, but this is just too much pop for my taste. As I’ve seen many point out on Twitter, it’s very Ed Sheeran-esqué. Based on the sound of these first two singles from Urban’s newest album, I’m expecting him to go more pop than ever before with his music. It’s not as bad as Sam Hunt’s version of urban country, but it’s still forgettable and unimaginative nonetheless. “Break On Me” is a sleepy ballad that I’m sure many urban country fans will praise as deep and emotional, but to me it’s just a less offensive version of Luke Bryan’s “Strip It Down.”

Grade: 3.5/10

18 thoughts on “Review – Keith Urban’s “Break On Me”

  1. Scotty J October 30, 2015 / 2:01 pm

    There was a story several months back about a Dallas country station mixing in some pop hits along with the standard ‘country’ fare and one of those songs was ‘Thinking Out Loud’ by Ed Sheeran and I think it is becoming quite clear that that song is really what the people making and programming mainstream ‘country’ want the format to sound like right now. Between this and that new Thomas Rhett song it seems that this is a new off ramp of the Metro-Bro trend.

    Sigh. It just continues.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lisandro Berry-Gaviria October 30, 2015 / 4:29 pm

      And judging by the newly published Mediabase callout scores for “Die A Happy Man,” this new trend seems to be doing pretty well.

      Its “Potential” rating is 103, significantly higher than any of the other songs in the survey (Chris Young’s and Sam Hunt’s current singles are tied for second at 91). It’s Positive, Net Positive, and Favorite ratings are all the highest of any song in the survey, with the Net Positive rating a whopping 16.9% above the second song, “Already Callin’ You Mine.” It’s second overall in Pop Score, but it’ll move into first soon as its Familiarity rating increases.

      Its digital sales are also very good, as it’s topping the Billboard Country Digital Songs chart for three consecutive weeks now with 221,000 scanned as of four days ago; and it’s at #2 on both the Billboard Hot Country Songs and Billboard Country Streaming Songs charts. So it’s looking to become a smash hit, unfortunately.

      As for “Break On Me,” I think it’s okay—better than “Die A Happy Man”—but it’s definitely more pop than country, and Urban’s guitar skills aren’t featured for the second single in a row. It had the potential to be an excellent song, but the production ruins it, just like in most mainstream country songs. Maybe a 5/10 for me.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Scotty J October 30, 2015 / 4:49 pm

        Yep you’re right about the Rhett song. One thing about him is despite the attention he has received his singles have still taken the slow road to the top (generally hitting number one in 23-25 week range) but with this new one it appears that it will beat that by a lot. This may the one that sets him apart from the Eldredge and Ballard group. It’s also going to drive his album sales I predict as it’s back up to #2 this week and I bet it hits the top one of these weeks.

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  2. Taylor L. October 30, 2015 / 4:31 pm

    Hi! I’ve been following this website for a while and I want to congratulate with you for the hard work that you put on it every day. So cheers to you!

    But here I am, commenting for the first time, because sometimes (and particularly with this review) it seems like your message is conflicting: on one hand you’re criticizing songs like these for not being country while still having good lyrics; on the other hand you’re praising pop songs like Carrie Underwood’s Little Toy Guns.

    Please don’t take this as an offense, but I have the feeling that sometimes your opinion on a song is heavily influenced by your opinion on the artist.
    Let’s be honest, Carrie and Keith have never been really country. I don’t think Carrie is more or less country than Keith. And Break on Me is not more or less country than Little Toy Guns.

    note thay I have absolutely nothing against Carrie and I couldn’t agree more with your reviews of her music. And I agree on your review of Keith’s John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16. But to me Break On Me really doesn’t deserve a 3.5/10.

    Thanks for reading, Taylor.

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    • Josh Schott October 30, 2015 / 4:44 pm

      Thanks for the kind words and commenting, Taylor! You know the beauty of music is that it’s all subjective. Now when it came to this song I just felt the production weighed down the lyrics way too much. There were songs on Carrie’s album I felt the same (“Heartbeat” comes to mind). Little Toy Guns received a lot higher grade because of it’s challenging theme and a theme that is rarely covered in mainstream country. Break on Me is your standard love ballad we’ve heard a lot of over the years. I hope this explanation will clear it up for you.

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      • Taylor L. October 30, 2015 / 5:29 pm

        Thank you for answering.

        Maybe in my mind this will remain a very intense and sweet song (I’ve always loved Keith’s love ballads),
        but I get your point. I understand that the theme of this song has already been used before and that musically this is not really country.

        Have a nice day, Taylor.

        Liked by 2 people

  3. Murray October 31, 2015 / 12:58 pm

    I can’t say I’m enamoured with where Country music has gone these days but I disagree with this review entirely. Break on Me seems like a diversion back to the type of music that made Keith the Superstar that he is today. Took me a while to warm up to Fuse but eventually I got around to liking most of it for what it was rather than trying to tag it under a specific genre. Country music today rarely reflects the Country music of old but if it did, it just wouldn’t get the AirPlay that real Country music deserves. Mega stars like George Strait and Alan Jackson would hardly get AirPlay if they put out the music that made them famous a few years ago and they nailed it on the head with their duet about a Murder on music row. I know Keith always refers to his country music roots even though the music he puts out does not really conform to what Country music was, but unfortunately, neither does anyone else who is in Country music today. Without trying to hang a genre monicker on Keith, he is a very talented musician, singer, songwriter and performer which has landed him more top 10 singles over the last 15 years than any other artist in any other genre so he must be doing something right and I certainly applaud his efforts on this song.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. lorenzofloris96 November 1, 2015 / 9:03 pm

    I don’t know, maybe it’s because I’ve been facing some hard times with my girlfriend lately and this song came at the right moment in our lives, but I really don’t have all these problems with the production. If this song had been recorded by Alan Jackson or George Strait it would’ve been very hard to take seriously, because they’ve always been traditional country artist.
    But Keith Urban has always been a pop artist in country music, ever since Somebody Like You. And in his career he has released some very solid music to country radio. This song is right in his comfort zone, both musically and lyrically.
    This song is in no way country, and it might be wrong to release it to country radio. I could say the same for most of Keith’s songs. Someone pointed out that Little Toy Guns is not more country than this, and I could name a lot of other great songs that are not really country (I’m Coming Over, Lonely Tonight).
    Yeah, we are here to talk about country music, and anything that’s not country music should be disqualified. But like somebody said, “we’re fan of the music first”. and even if it is not country, I’ll take this over any Luke Bryan, Jason Aldean, FGL, Sam Hunt, Thomas Rhett, Canaan Smith, Michael Ray, Chase Rice or Old Dominion song any day.
    My opinion on the song regardless of genre is quite positive: I’d rate it 10/10 (but as I already stated, maybe I’m seeing the song particularly good because it really helped me these days).
    As a country song maybe I’d give it a 6/10 or a 6.5/10.

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