Song Review: Keith Urban and Pink, “One Too Many”

As long as you’re not driving, I don’t really care if you’ve had “One Too Many” or not.

Keith Urban has become somewhat of a mad scientist over the last few years, stretching the genre boundaries as much as any generic Metro-Bro artist. Sometimes his experiments work (his foray into blues with “Blue Ain’t Your Color” was pretty solid), but more often than not they fall flat (“The Fighter,” “Never Comin’ Down,” “Comin’ Home”). After the mediocre “God Whispered Your Name” only made it to #8 on Billboard’s airplay chart, however, Urban went back to his experimental ways, bringing in pop/rock artist Pink and breaking out an generic adult-contemporary sound for “One Too Many,” a forgettable duet about two combustible narrators who want to be together despite the drama. While “uninteresting” is still better than much of Urban’s work, it’s a far cry from being anything I’d be keen to hear on the radio.

The production is the sort of slick, somber sound that doesn’t seem to have an idea of what it’s supposed to be (and there’s no better sign of this than the random seagull squawks that serve no discernible purpose). After the opening electric axe, we’re left with a choppy, punchless acoustic guitar and Grady Smith’s favorite snap track for much of the first verse. A piano jumps in to close the verse, and some heavier drum machine beats try (and fail) to pump up the chorus (there don’t appear to be any drums here at all). By the end of the song, the instruments mostly just run together and form a bland wall of noise, and neither the tempo nor the beats inject any sort of energy into the track. (Urban adds a semi-interesting solo to the outro, but by then it’s too little, too late, and the listener has already tuned him out.) In the end, the mix adds absolutely nothing to the song: It doesn’t set the mood, it doesn’t help support the story, and it really doesn’t engage the listener. Where Urban once had a sound that was at least kinda-sorta distinct, he’s now saddled with the aural equivalent of an amateur watercolor painting, with all the colors blending together into a soggy gray mess.

Sadly, Urban seemed to be afflicted with the same formless malaise as the production here. The performance is tolerable from a technical perspective (neither his range nor his flow are tested here), but he doesn’t bring any passion to the table, complaining about being scolded for getting home late with all the passion of a Xanax user reading a grocery list. Truthfully, Pink sings Urban under the table here: She climbs the ladder to show off some impressive range, breezes through rapid-fire lyrics without breaking a sweat, and at least tries to bring some flair to her delivery on the verse. Her chorus harmonies completely drown out Urban  (and then the group that jumps in at the very end drown both of them out), and whatever sad feel the choruses have are completely her doing—Urban feels like a placeholder by comparison. Duets are nice and all, but they don’t work terribly well if only one person holds up their end of the bargain.

The lyrics here tell a story of an on-again, off-again couple who can’t stand each other, but who ultimately can’t stand being apart either (at least once they’ve had “one too many”). Once again, Urban gets the short end of the stick: His narrator whining about getting yelled at for coming in at four in the morning just reeks of immaturity and selfishness (Oh, but you’ve been working sooooo hard this week? So has everyone else in the world; cry me a freaking river). Pink’s narrator isn’t terribly sympathetic either, but at least they’re not actively unlikable like Urban’s. The biggest issue, however, is just how boring the story and unengaging the story is: Crying over a lost love in a bar might be the original trope in country music, so you’ve got to bring something extra to the table to make your tune stand out and justify its existence. Instead, we get nothing: no details about the location or atmosphere, minimal backstory as to what led to the final showdown, and perhaps most importantly, no real reason for why the pair should bother rekindling their romance. (It seems like an oil/water situation to me, especially given the attitude of Urban’s character; why not look for a partner that’s not going to cause some much drama?) The audience simply doesn’t have a reason to care about the plight of this pair, and the flavorless nothing provided by everything else fails to convince them otherwise.

I get that we’re living in chaotic times right now, but that’s no excuse for songs like “One Too Many” to try this hard to put me to sleep. The production is lifeless, the writing is pointless, and Urban’s surprisingly poor performance (Pink’s is just okay) makes this feel like a song that exists simply for the sake of existing. Unfortunately, this song is emblematic of the rut country music has found itself in over the last few months: The unrelenting pandemic seems to have sucked the life out of the genre, leaving us with a playlist full of dull, familiar mediocrity that can’t seem to figure out what to say. I’ve heard “One Too Many” of these snorefests recently, and if Urban can’t find any more to say than this, maybe he should’ve stayed silent until he did.

Rating: 5/10. Meh.

9 thoughts on “Song Review: Keith Urban and Pink, “One Too Many”

  1. I love the song along with MILLIONS of others.
    Keith has a Phenomenal voice and if you need more proof of that I have several songs I could mention.
    However, I read other reviews of yours and realized you’re not worth my time to mention so many songs that this man sings.
    You’re a very negative person. What a waste. You I mean. The song is awesome and no one cares what you think. That’s obvious by the fact that no one comments.
    Karma. It exists. You’re just NASTY!


      1. That’s all he is. Read reviews of all songs Keith Urban has released while winning EOT by both the CMA’S & ACM’S. When someone hates every single song there’s a bias there. Kyle is negative about every song ever released.
        So, I played ONE TOO MANY for fb friends. Not one person thought the song was bad or that Pink drowns Keith out. She doesn’t drown him out.
        You don’t like that Keith does what he wants to and is successful. Please stop the Genre insults. He doesn’t care and I LOVE this song. I love We Were and We Were Us. So, to be certain that I knew what I was talking about I read all the reviews. Omg, they’re all awful. He’s biased and negative and to whomever you are that made a comment towards me, I DO NOT GIVE A CRAP what you think of me or my comment and I’ll prove that to ya by never reading anything Kyle or his minions of opinions have to say. Music is fun. Have you ever NOT criticized a Keith Urban song Kyle? I only know of country acts that I now love cuz KEITH got me listening to country Radio.
        50 CMA nominations. 4 Grammy’s. I really don’t know how he wins anything when according to Kyle he’s an aging musician. Should he stops what he loves for Kyle? Or you, whom ever you are?
        Now I am gonna go listen to ONE TOO MANY cuz it’s a great song. It’s fresh. The vocals are phenomenal. And negativity breeds negativity. So, my response disagrees with Kyle’s horrific review.
        Kyle if you can’t hear Keith LOUD & CLEAR in One Too Many, maybe an Ear Nose and throat doc can help you out.
        I do admire that Kyle posted my comment. Thank you. At least you’re fair about it.


  2. By the way, I didn’t go looking for the review of this song. As fans of Keith’s we are tired of hearing genre insults. It’s art.
    I saw this review and thought, “OMG that’s just NOT true,”! Read more reviews of Kyle’s and he hates every song Keith releases.
    There’s no point in reading the same review about 5 completely different songs.
    Ya don’t like Keith’s music. Got it.
    Have a wonderful Holiday!


  3. Kyle, I just want to say this to you. You don’t like any of Keith’s music. You probably haven’t since Golden Road or Be Here (Better Life is in my head now 😊).
    It’s hard to leave a positive comment when you criticize every single song he puts out. You mention 4 songs you dislike by Keith in one review.
    We love his music. His fans. Are you the same guy that I’ve talked to before? Every song is bad TO YOU so it’s hard to take a review of yours seriously at this point. Not all songs are bad. And is there something wrong with a song being 3rd? He has 20 plus #1’s.
    You claim he doesn’t have anything to say? Then listen to Say Something and you’ll hear what he has to say. I also hear Keith so clearly when you claim Pink drowns him out. It’s just NOT TRUE! You don’t like Keith cuz he isn’t like everyone else. That I thank GOD for.
    Take care. Try to enjoy Christmas or whatever you celebrate! Such an awful year. I was so happy he put the album out.
    Maybe one day you’ll have something nice to say but I doubt it.


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