There’s something about “Right On Back To You,” a song by Keith Urban from his 2010 album Get Closer, that’s always stuck with me since I first got the album, shortly after its release. Clocking in at close to 5 minutes, the soft country-pop melody has such a soothing and reassuring quality to it that still keeps me coming back to listen to it again and again on repeat all these years later.
It fades in with the sound of thunder booming and rain striking the pavement, setting the mood both for its relaxed nature and the actual setting, the opening line stating, “The rain’s coming down hard tonight / I pulled the car over now I’m sitting alone on the roadside.” Like the rest of Get Closer, “Right On Back To You” is a story about love, with a happy ending; it follows on a journey of self-reflection in a car, as Urban sings about a tendency to run out of fear of your own strong feelings.
But the light atmosphere reflects the song’s ultimate conclusion. Soft acoustic guitar fills the early, reflective part of the song, but in its choruses, onto the bridge, and beyond, electric guitar accompanies striking drum rhythms as Urban professes the inevitability of his return to his lover. In the song’s final lines, he confesses, “I’m gonna come on back, come on back to you / ‘Cause I can’t live without you / I can’t breathe without you / Yeah and I’m nothing, nothing without you.” While quite dramatic, the sheer emotion with which Urban delivers the revelation packs a powerful punch and clearly conveys his feelings as the song fades out into a guitar solo.
By many counts, “Right On Back To You” is not an atypical love song, but its willingness to own up to faults and confront its feelings among gentle background music that feels like a romantic happy ending sells it so perfectly, and ironically enough, always keeps me coming right on back to it.