Country music is often considered a joke by many people who live in urban areas and who don’t like this older genre of music, and prefer the newer genres of Rap, RnB and EDM these days. However, despite all that, there is still an audience for this sort of thing, which means that it should not be ignored on a musical level. Although Country music has been around for many decades, it is still alive and kicking today.
Enter Keith Urban, which is an ironic name for a Country music star. Yes, he is well known for being in the tabloids a lot for being a high profile celebrity, yet he is also a very good musician as well. This album, Ripcord, is one of his most loved releases to date. Let’s take a listen and see if it is worth hearing.
We begin with Gone Tomorrow (Here Today) which begins with some eastern sounding banjo, before some electronic beats kick in. Keith Urban does have a unique voice, and this piece is actually quite catchy. This is really good musically, and is a good start to the album. With an electronic backdrop to the traditional Country feel about it, this is an interesting listen. Perhaps an anthem for Keith Urban fans today, it is a decent listen.
Next is John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16 which is obviously Christian oriented, at least lyrically. Some really cool EDM beats are here, and the song sounds a lot like the Red Hot Chili Peppers here. Still, it’s a decent and catchy listen for such a song, and although it mentions Biblical stuff in the chorus, it is very Pop oriented. A nice effort and excellently showcases a new format for Country music to follow. There is a key change towards the end, which makes things different. It’s a very good listening experience, very enjoyable, even if you will never believe in Christianity. Good stuff.
Wasted Time is next, and begins with a load of beats and electronic textures. This may not be pure Country music, but it is definitely listenable. Keith Urban sings very well here, and it is a very anthemic piece about having a great time in one’s life, even though it may seem like wasted time itself. A decent musical piece, and this is surprisingly good so far for a Country music album. Oh yeah, it references Guns N’ Roses as well. A great and moving piece, very enjoyable. There is a banjo piece throughout, which is interesting and unusual. Very uplifting and joyful sort of music.
Habit Of You starts with some melancholy sounds and a downbeat sort of feeling for this album. It is a plea to a lover to be accepted as one should be. Pretty deep and emotional, Keith Urban sings deeply amongst a mixture of an EDM feel and some traditional Country instruments such as slide guitar are in the background. Another quality song and something one should play to a potential lover. The harmonies towards the end are very good.
Next is Sun Don’t Let Me Down has some guests (Nile Rodgers and Pitbull) and is a bit different for this sort of music. Some funky Fender Stratocaster style sounds are here, and the chorus is catchy and anthemic. Understandably, this is very much commercial music for a Country based musician. Pitbull’s appearance isn’t really necessary here, and the whole thing would have been bettered if he wasn’t on the track. Good song otherwise, but the Rapping here kind of destroys this piece.
Following is Gettin’ In The Way which is a piano driven piece, before Keith Urban and acoustic guitars drive this piece nicely along. Keith Urban has a great singing voice, without question. It’s quite clear that this is not pure Country music, and is very much borderline Top 50 chart style sellout music. Still, it is a decent listen despite that, and the whole thing is a beautiful and moving piece dealing with relationship topics. Interesting chorus lyrics about a lady’s lips getting in the way are here, a good tune to hear, once again.
Blue Ain’t Your Color is next and begins with Keith Urban singing, electronic beats and some electronic pseudo-string sections. It’s a simpler and more melodic piece that is actually about trying to win over a lady who is having relationship issues with another lover. A better song from this album, and a real standout here. There is a strange sounding guitar solo in the middle of this, this is a very deep and emotional piece. Great song. Very reassuring listening.
The Fighter comes next featuring Carrie Underwood, which begins with some trippy guitar parts and kicks off with electronic beats and singing. The chorus is a traditional call-and-response piece, but once again, the guest really isn’t needed here. It’s like trying to patch up an ordinary track with a guest, which is a sign of musical insecurity. It’s okay, but not the best track from this record. Fairly forgettable.
Next is Break On Me which has acoustic guitars, brushed percussion and some interesting sonic landscapes to listen to. It is a better listen than the last track, and shows that simplicity with his songs suits Keith Urban’s music here better. It is a reflective piece lyrically, and sounds very melodic. This is a good song, and the more prominent guitars here are better suited for this sort of music. Good effort, the outro is fully sick.
Following is the U2-ish Boy Gets A Truck, think The Joshua Tree and you’re very much there. It may not be totally original musically, but is a very reassuring listen. It’s a very Country music piece lyrically, as expected by the title. Musically, it has a load of clean, delayed guitars propelling this piece along. Poppy, but quite good regardless. The singing here is really quite good as well, Keith Urban is a very good singer indeed.
Your Body is a sort of superficial song about sex. It’s likely the Country music version of Ed Sheeran’s Shape Of You. It is a good piece with the textures, although some listeners may find this sort of thing borderline sexist, which it probably is. Regardless, this is a good piece to hear, but it seems superficial musically and lyrically.
That Could Still Be Us is a piano led piece with Keith Urban singing deeply about a love that could have a second chance. It’s a sad sort of ballad piece, and sounds very anthemic. Very deep and moving, this is one of the highlights of the album. Keith Urban sings wonderfully here, and sounds very spot on here with his delivery. It sounds like he is singing from the heart, great stuff here. A moving listen.
Last is Worry ‘Bout Nothin’ and is letdown with a really ordinary keyboard sound, despite the fact that the song itself is really good. It is a reflection on life, and that, no matter what happens, all will be okay. Referencing road travel, this is a good listen, although the keyboards could have been edited out. There is a great guitar solo here as well. It tells the truth about money, that it doesn’t always guarantee happiness. Good way to finish off this album.
Okay, this is not really Country music, but it is a great starting point for those who think that they could never listen to any sort of music from that genre. Although Keith Urban’s music is based on the older styles, it is very top of the pop sort of stuff. Good to hear once in a while, and Keith Urban does sing superbly as well. It is let down by some production flaws, but for a postmodern music listen, this is quite enjoyable all the same.