CD Reviews

Review: Keith Urban – The Speed Of Now Part 1.

Artist: Keith Urban
Album: The Speed Of Now Part 1.
Release Date: September 18th 2020
Reviewer: Rod Strachan

Keith Urban returned September 18th with his eleventh studio album “The Speed Of Now Part 1”. For months Keith has teased new tracks but there was not talk of a new full album release. I would like to think he reads his social media comments and mine during that period were pestering ones hoping for what is now the new album is a psychical format.

Track 1: Out The Cage Lead off track for the album features music a collaboration presenting Breland and music legend Nile Rodgers. The mix brings together country roots, mixed with some R’N’B, Hip Hop and elements of Nile’s roots rolled into one. The delivery is one perfect blended song with an up-tempo beat with a seamless cross of lyrics and music.

Track 2: One Too Many At first listen I must admit I was not all that sold on the track. I have great admiration for Pink and her fanbase but have never been much of a listener of her music. However, several listens on I am slowly coming around. The duo work well together both in harmony on this instant live song classic sing along. A fun track deserving of its place on the album.

Track 3: Live With Keith delivers a lyrical story only he can here! The rumbling bass sets the tone as this track takes us to a sentiment we can and should all relate to – “I want a life I can live / Not just a life I can live with”. Delivered in his true country style rock, this is the song I have had a thousand times I could write with him! A masterpiece in every way.

Track 4: Superman A retrospective lyrical track based on a relationship. This fast-paced song clocks in at under 3 minutes and includes super catchy riffs and a tip of the hat to Johnny and June Cash with Keith’s ever widening country style music. The accompanying video makes this an instant classic.

Track 5: Change Your Mind Perfectly sequenced track to coincide with the predecessor Change Your Mind is a ballad filled with beautifully written words and music. One can only every hope to write a song as good as this in their career. Yet Keith continues to do this with vibes that make one’s hair stand up on the back of their neck with continuously. 

Track 6: Forever Country comes to the forefront with this good feeling summer track. An acoustically driven track that bursts into some of Keith’s finest guitar work late in the piece, Forever has all the hallmarks of a live track staple should it get the attention it deserves.

Track 7: Say Something An uplifting track that snuggles in perfectly at this point. Powerful yet simplistic lyrics and cadence drive this track to unparalleled heights.

Track 8: Soul Food Whilst it is the shortest song length wise on the album Soul Food – Leaves you wanting more from the opening chords if that is even humanely possible. An incredible play on words paired with Keith’s great harmonies on vocals deliver yet another high-quality track.

Track 9: Ain’t It Like A Woman A track that can be best described as an easy listening song based around a woman saving a man. In so many ways its autobiographical content has been perfectly honed by Keith using outside writers to craft his own piece of magic.

Track 10: With You A warm and ambient track with some interesting guitar tracks overlaying some crafty key breakdown sections. A well sculptured track thoroughly holding a key part to the album.

Track 11: Tumbleweed Hit the airwaves some three weeks prior to the album release. This banjo driven up temp country rocker is a sure fire hit for a live set. Short and sweet in length with a great chorus, country rock at its pure finest!

Track 12: God Whispered Your Name The second single from the album released in March 2020. A track of hope and new beginnings just for starters. A song that adds a touch of faith to the album for believers from all walks of life. An extremely persuasive song even if it is to just believe how sublime this track has been arranged and performed.

Track 13: Polaroid  An acoustic lyrically rumination song. Another of this hit and run tracks that hooks you in and is over before you know it. Extremely well-written and produced this song has been around a few months now and is sure to continue to get heavy rotation from fans in their playlists.

Track 14: Better Than I Am Keith appears here in an honest and autobiographical way. Taking you through his trials, tribulations, and his continued search to be the better man he continues to aspire to be. Beautifully haunting piano and expressive guitar work polishes this song into its beautiful final creation.

Track: 15 & 16 We Were This track was the first single to drop from the album before an album was even touted back in March 2019. We Were features two versions on the album the second featuring co-writer and fellow country music super star Eric Church. Keith’s ability to tell a story in song in a retrospective love story way has no peer. Eric’s vocals add a second voice almost telling as though telling it from a second point of view adds great merit on Track 16. Great to see both versions on the album and having them close off the album is a perfect way to end Volume 1.

As a HUGE fan of Keith’s music throughout his career I am very excited and relieved that “The Speed Of Now Part 1” has seen the light of day. His ability to continue to write and produce top quality albums is nothing short of extraordinary. In an age where a lot of music acts believe recording and releasing full length albums is a thing of the past. Keith has thrown the “new” playbook out the window to deliver yet another brilliant piece of work. Collaborating with a ton of writers on this album has only expanded his already versatile and diverse ability as a musician.

Volume 1 must mean there is a follow up sometime in the future which will be eagerly as anticipated as this was! With ten of the fifteen tracks originally written by outside artists there is so hope maybe one day for that co-write of my own too! One can always dream!

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