Unlike his peers Tim McGraw, Kenny Chesney and Faith Hill, who offered a more traditional sound on their early recordings, Keith Urban started out as a soft rock- and R&B-loving pop-country pace-setter. Fans could hear it all the way back in 1999, on his self-titled American debut (not to be confused with his lesser-known Australian debut from 1991), released 21 years ago, on Oct. 19 of that year.
Many artists can (and often should) change over time, but there’s a charm to Urban’s decision to stick with what works for him. After all, he’s ridden his truth to 18 No. 1 singles and his current status as the defending ACM and CMA Entertainer of the Year.
In honor of America’s earliest tastes of a tenderhearted crooner and lightning-fast guitar picker turning two decades old, The Boot went back and rated all 12 songs off Urban’s groundbreaking self-titled album. Read on to see how they stack up.