Just over one year ago Keith Urban was longing for summer to bring back a girl his heart couldn't give up on. His new single, 'Long Hot Summer,' is a very different sort of summer song. In fact, one could argue it's a prequel to the Top 5 hit ''Til Summer Comes Around,' although it's doubtful Urban had that narrative in mind.

Co-writer Richard Marx's influence is felt immediately, as the introduction of the song sounds like something the pop-rock singer would have recorded 15 years ago. The early guitar work that runs beneath the song's first verse is really the only point of criticism. By the time Urban gets to the chorus, the third release from Urban's 'Get Closer' album feels like another winner.

"It’s gonna be a long, hot summer / We should be together with your feet up on the dashboard now / Singing along with the radio -- it’s such a beautiful sound / And when you say my name in the middle of the day / I swear I see the stars come out / When you hold my hand in the back of my mind / I'm just waiting on the sun to go down / The sun to go down," Urban sings during the chorus.

'Long Hot Summer' is an easy summer love song; somehow it's surprising Urban hasn't recorded one quite like it. If you're counting at home, this makes nine of Urban's last 10 singles fall into the "happy in love" category. There's no doubting his stable relationship with wife Nicole Kidman is influencing the songs he writes, records and releases. It's unlikely this song is about her specifically, however. The first words in the second verse point toward a fictitious lover.

"I wanna see / Your brown skin shimmer in the sun for the first time / I got to be / The one who knows just what to do to you to get me that smile / One chance of meeting / You were walking by me on the street and I said hi / And that was the beginning of my heart spinnin’ / Like these wheels in my head tonight," he sings.

Urban is best when he rides the edges of his emotions. When he hurts, he really hurts, and when he's happy, he's very happy. We find the more jovial Keith Urban in 'Long Hot Summer.' It's a performance that only the grouchiest of grouchies can frown on. There didn't seem to be many of that variety watching him perform it at the Billboard Music Awards last month.

Listen to Keith Urban, 'Long Hot Summer'