You’ll Think of Keith Urban – Illusion of Life Analysis



Lyrics (studio version):

Keith Urban took the music scene by storm when he released his album Golden Road in 2002. In specific, “You’ll Think of Me” became a huge hit providing Keith with his first Grammy. But what is it about this song that makes it so worthy of the acclaim of a Grammy? As shown in his live performance of  “You’ll Think of Me”, is successful due to its ability to represent the raw emotions of a broken heart which all can connect to.

The studio album featuring "You'll Think of Me"

The studio album featuring “You’ll Think of Me”

Keith Urban is an Australian-American country singer known for infusing elements of rock and pop music into his music. Thus, country music fans are the intended audience of “You’ll Think of Me”. However, the song transcends genres making it relatable to men and women, from teenage hood to adulthood, and across all races. Thus, the song relates to anyone who has experienced heartbreak.  This specific version of the song was released on his first concert DVD, “Livin’ Right Now” and was one of my favourite recorded performances.

Musically, the song effectively functions as virtual time as it “suspends actual time” (Sellnow 118) by making listener’s engage in his heartbreaking story. The song has an overall release pattern. Rhythmically, the song maintains a consistent and slow tempo, and a predictable strumming and drumming pattern.  The phrasing changes over the course of the song. Though usually conforming to the release pattern, toward the conclusion of the song, Keith changes the phrasing to represent the intensity of his emotions by using multiple crescendos and the use of an accelerando. This is absent from his studio recording of the song, making the live performance of the song far more moving for listeners. The listener becomes completely immersed in the heart wrenching feeling portrayed through Keith Urban’s voice. From the very first beat, the instruments are organized to represent one’s heart breaking. The constant drumbeat can be said to one’s heartbeat, slowing as the pain sets in. Then, as Keith begins playing the note progression on the guitar, listeners feel as though their heartstrings are being plucked.  Toward the end of the song, the intensity pattern represents the rage and bitterness one feels after being left brokenhearted.

To accompany the arrangement of music, the lyrics to the song reinforce the heartbreaking emotions. It is no surprise that song’s lyrics are tragic (“focus on self-consummation… and coping with fate” (Sellnow 119)). The song focuses on the virtual past,  “Woke up early this morning ‘round 4 am… Thoughts of us kept keeping me awake” and the future as Keith hauntingly repeats, “You’ll think about me” or “When you’re lying alone in the middle of the night, wishing I was there to hold you tight, that’s when you’re gonna think about me baby”. As such, the lyrics create both a poetic and dramatic illusions.  The lyrics are blatant, as it unequivocally about being left broken hearted and forced to live without that person. Hence, the song is relatable to a vast audience, as suffering from a broken heart is a common feeling.

Keith Urban after winning one of his (currently) four Grammy's

Keith Urban after winning one of his (currently) four Grammy’s.

“You’ll Think of Me” is notably one of Keith Urban’s most successful songs. The congruent message of the music and the lyrics demonstrate the pain, bitterness and devastation of the broken hearted. His delivery of the song challenges audience members to have a dry eye during the performance (I find myself whipping away tears every time after watching the vulnerability and hearing the rawness of Keith’s performance). The song has the unique ability to transcend audiences, because of its ability to relate to all emotionally.  Thus, Keith Urban’s, “You’ll Think of Me” rightfully deserved to win a Grammy and all the praise it continues to receive from audiences worldwide.

Sellnow, Deanna D. ”A Musical Perspective: The Illusion of Life Theory” The Rhetorical Power of Popular Culture: Considering Mediated Texts. Los Angeles: SAGE, 2010. 115-142. Print.