You’d think Keith Urban is stepping outside the world of country music with his most recent album, “Ripcord,” and especially his single “Blue Ain’t Your Color.”
He’s certainly not afraid to experiment.
“There’s new music being made all the time that’s fascinating to me,” Keith told NCD in May when the album came out. “It’s sort of like being a chef I guess, you’re always looking for ingredients that could go together but haven’t been put together yet.”
“Blue Ain’t Your Color” is a waltzy and emotional tune written by Steven Lee Olsen, Hillary Lindsey and Clint Lagerberg.
“‘Blue’ is basically a waltz with a doo-wop feel,” Keith says in the behind-the-scenes video (below). “Neither really felt right for me, but there was something in this song that I loved. So we programmed this really cool, simple, drum loop that became the rhythmic bones of the song, providing a yin and yang to the minimalist vocal that I wanted to feature.”
And here’s the official music video, which came out September 15.
Mixed reviews for “Ripcord”
Saving Country Music was, well, not pleased (to say the least) with Urban’s album. In an article titled “Don’t Waste Your Time on Keith Urban’s ‘Ripcord,'” the well-known music blogger Trigger writes:
“‘Ripcord’ is a synthy, shallow, rhythmic-centric gaggle of immediately forgettable efforts that is obsessed with the doings of early adulthood in an unhealthy manner for a 49-year-old performer, and offers absolutely no type of statement or expression either sonically, lyrically, creatively, or otherwise.”
Meanwhile, Taste Of Country gushes over the album, saying it’s “pure country cardio.”
“The focus on the EDM and pop-bluegrass tracks overlooks some great, raw Urban gestures,” writes the author, Billy Dukes. “Nothing is more pure than ‘That Could Still Be Us,’ the only heartbreaker on an overwhelmingly positive, love-drenched project. The hurt in his voice is difficult to ignore. He sings over little more than piano; fans may compare this song to ‘Making Memories of Us,’ but his performance is more painful.”
The Rolling Stone seems to take the middle ground here.
“Not everyone wants to hear Pitbull shout “Mr. Worldwide!” in the middle of a country album,” writes Keith Harris. “But the genially party-crazed Cuban rapper sounds right at home on the chirpy, margarita-doused ‘Sun Don’t Let Me Down.'”
But the article goes on to say that the rest of the album “isn’t quite that audaciously pop, but it does commit to modern rhythms throughout, with Urban’s virtuoso picking on six-string banjo (or “ganjo”) locking in with steady basslines and ticking drum tracks to fuse the rootsy precision of bluegrass with the uplifting persistence of EDM.”
At least Urban is cool with the album.
Regardless, it’s interesting to see behind-the-scenes videos of stars laying down their tracks. Because the rest of us will probably never see the inside of a recording studio, much less hang around with a country star.