Last Friday, Keith Urban, released his latest album, “Ripcord.” When my mom told me the title of this new project a couple months ago when it was announced, I’m sure my face scrunched up as I thought, ‘what the heck does that mean?’
Well, “The image of a ripcord, I like it. I like the sound of the word,” Keith said in an interview. “I like the energy that it denotes – But metaphorically, I also love that it’s a thing that you grab to save your life, and that’s a really beautiful thing. And I was thinking about the various things in my life that I reach for, like family, faith, music, all manner of things. So, Ripcord took on a whole new meaning, but it really, for me, fits the music. It definitely fits the tour.”
Ah, there’s always a method to his madness and that’s why I trust him musically.
Now, before I go any further, let it be known that I don’t think this is essential Keith Urban. This is not the album I would recommend for someone to listen to if I was really trying to sell Keith’s artistry. I wouldn’t even say this is Urban at his best. But, is it still a good, quality album? Absolutely. It just depends on whether you’re looking for a good country album or if you’re just looking for a song to hit at the perfect moment.
It’s a far-stretch from the banjo, twang-loving Urban we met in the early ’00s, but I feel that’s an old argument. Country music as a whole isn’t what it used to be, and yes, it’s heartbreaking, but it is what it is. In fact, I don’t think any genre of music is what it used to be.
I think if you enjoyed Urban’s first single “John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16,” then more than likely, you’ll enjoy his exploration with synthesizers and other special effects on the other tracks. He dips across the board with a bit of techno, disco, hip hop and more. There are a lot of fun tracks that are perfect for dancing or working out, but my favorites are the slower, heart wrenching ballads, including “Blue Ain’t Your Color” and the second single, “Break On Me.” Those are true Keith Urban songs. The tear in his voice will have you missing someone you don’t even know yet. That’s the power of music. “Gettin in the Way” is another of “Ripcord” at its finest with more of a country feel to the instrumentation and arrangement.
No project’s of Urban’s would be complete without a collaboration or two, and he certainly isn’t lacking on this one. Carrie Underwood joins him for “The Fighter,” an upbeat nightclub-sounding tune and Pitbull for “Sun Don’t Let Me Down,” which unfortunately sounds like your typical Pitbull song. It’s also my least favorite of the album.
For me, “Defying Gravity” will be a hard one to beat. It came at a time when I needed it most and I put that thing on repeat, just about daily. So, this album doesn’t exactly measure up to those of the past, but I appreciate Keith’s artistry and the way he takes risks. Because even if you don’t agree with them, you can agree that he carefully constructs the risks he takes and is thoughtful about them. That, I can respect.
Do yourself a favor and go get your copy or listen to it on Apple Music. Let me know what you think.
That’s all for now,