Don’t Waste Your Time on Keith Urban’s “Ripcord”
You may ask yourself, if you dare venture onto the radio dial these days to partake in the popular country channel, why the airwaves are filled with 40-something and 50-something performers like Keith Urban soliloquizing about teenage and young adult life? Well the answer is demographics. There are way more human beings out there living regular lives, raising kids, and looking forward to retirement than there are pimple-faced teenagers trying to get laid. But those teenagers and young adults are the ones the advertisers covet. So ultimately this trickles down to the artists of popular country music, who are solely employed to lure these spend-happy younger consumers to radio to keep the mainstream country music system flush with ad revenue. And the ultimate result is an effort like Keith Urban’s new record.
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 perfomrer, and offers absolutely no type of statement or expression either sonically, lyrically, creatively, or otherwise.
What is the song that defines Keith Urban’s country music career? What is the moment when he contributed something lasting to the genre that changed its direction, and will be remembered for generations? Instead, Urban seems to be an expert at making mild efforts that are just sedate enough to be safe entertainment for the masses, and has sold millions of records now without ever doing anything of lasting value. Though his music may be unremarkable, maintaining his career at such a high level for two decades now while not really contributing anything has to be lauded as a remarkable feat in itself.
Ripcord starts out with eight seconds of a solitary banjo. And that eight seconds constitutes the entirety of the “country” effort on this whole record. Immediately after that eight seconds, you’re impacted by a thumping electronically-generated drum beat that doesn’t rest until the expiration of the final track. This album is so electronically-infused throughout, it gives Sam Hunt a run for his money for the most non-country country efforts ever released to the public.
There might not be a single live drum hit on any of the 12 tracks of Ripcord. And though some may mistake that as “bold” in itself, it was only after folks like Sam Hunt and Old Dominion broke ground in this direction that Keith Urban and a team of seven producers felt it safe enough to send Urban down this path to help save his career. In other words, Urban only went electronic when it became the most mainstream and safe thing to do in country music.
Ripcord spends the majority of its time trying to get laid, and elucidating on a very narrow window of life Keith Urban is 30 years removed from. “Sun Don’t Let Me Down” finds Urban allying with the totally worthless Pitbull, and is about begging the sun to not come up because it’s taking so long for the hapless protagonist to score.
“Boy Gets A Truck” is about the most overt adulation to the consumerist society ever conceived. It tries to convince the audience that to get the girl, you first have to get the truck. And then adds a multi-generational aspect to this misnomer by telling the story of the son of the guy who got the girl because he got a truck, turning around to beg his dad to let him borrow the truck so he can get laid and get a girl pregnant as well. It’s like the circle of life Symba, only eternally tied to $600-a-month title payments in a cyclical consumerist hell.
And “Your Body” … well, you can probably guess what a song called “Your Body” is about.
“Wasted Time” sounds like something off the Tron soundtrack, and its message of how the most precious moments in life are the ones when you’re not doing shit makes it the perfect ode to the sloth of modern escapism. Carrie Underwood’s presence can’t help “The Fighter,” which sounds like something from The Backstreet Boys circa the 90’s synth resurgence era.
Even when Ripcord tries to get deep, the production ruins it. The one, solitary song of slight songwriting substance is called “Blue Ain’t Your Color.” Set in waltz time and written like a classic country song, listeners wouldn’t know it without stripping back its exterior since the song is so reliant on the Roland drum machine beat, and is then loaded up with mainstream country buzzwords so listeners don’t lose their place. However it does expose that Urban can sing decently, and from recollection, listeners may remember he is respected as a guitar player. But little to none of that is showcased on Ripcord. Instead it is these EDM producers who are all over mainstream records these days—folks like “busbee” and Jeff Bhasker—who sit behind laptops and do their worst, while the studio musicians of Nashville call their brokers up to get advice on early retirement.
Ripcord is a mess, and presents Keith Urban as the ultimate country music tool. The final song “Worry ‘Bout Nothin'” has a line that goes, “Tryin’ to make the money but the money ain’t gonna make me,” but that is exactly what Ripcord‘s sole purpose is about. You’re telling me when Keith Urban was a kid and was dreaming about a career in country music that this is what he envisioned? Ripcord‘s entire mission is to hopefully usher in a 3rd decade of earning performance for a 50-year-old performer to for a record label completely out of ideas other than follow the leader. On this record, Keith Urban is nothing more than a vessel for focus group-tested and data-driven producers to make hyper-catchy rhythms to unlock the highest commercial potential in an aging franchise name that we all know will eventually succumb to the inherent ageism of the industry.
“Wasted Time” indeed.
May 11, 2016 @ 9:46 am
Go back to Australia you wanker.
May 11, 2016 @ 9:54 am
Seriously, he has no business trying to play country music. Yes, there are some Cowboys in Australia, but he sure as hell ain’t one. At least Luke Bryan is a real farm boy(not that you would know that from his music).
May 11, 2016 @ 3:01 pm
The sad part is he was one of the “cowboys in Australia”. Before his career took off he actually spent time working on a ranch. And his early music was very good. “Ghost in this guitar” was one of my favorites.
May 11, 2016 @ 5:30 pm
I say this as an Australia, who has tickets to his concert here in December in my top drawer – we don’t want him. Listening to this album right now and I feel sick.
Slim Dusty, “our Hank Williams” would be rolling over in his grave.. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DFVJyJsGIX0
May 12, 2016 @ 5:55 am
Not to mention Kasey Chambers. You know, if she was dead.
May 11, 2016 @ 10:04 am
Really? go back to Australia? and name calling? You can not like someone’s music without resorting to personal name-calling. And people who love country music should make country music, be they from upstate NY, Australia or a city…btw Nashville is a city.
May 11, 2016 @ 10:39 am
Oooh I’m sorry, did I violate your “safe space?” Was my quick comment transgressive? Are you feeling oppressed? Shut your face wimp.
May 11, 2016 @ 2:23 pm
Last I checked, using a keyboard to type on an internet site doesn’t require one to open their mouth, much less close it. But maybe I’m wrong…
You need to chill the hell out. Just because someone doesn’t agree with your bigotry doesn’t mean you suddenly have license to burn them at the stake. I suppose if Merle Haggard were still here you’d tell him to saddle up with the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and head on back to Cali? What about Charley Pride? Would you tell him he has no place in country music? It’s interesting that lines on a map seem to inform your opinion of Keith Urban more than anything. I’m not really a fan of his, but I don’t hate him and certainly don’t begrudge him the right to play country music. By the way, he was born in New Zealand. Wimp.
May 11, 2016 @ 3:27 pm
Oh you have got to be kidding me. Is that person your girlfriend or do we have pair of sensitive nancies?
“Last I checked, using a keyboard to type on an internet site doesn’t require one to open their mouth, much less close it. But maybe I’m wrong…”
Yea I think we all know that I don’t mean to literally stop talking with your vocal chords, stupid. It was what we call figuratively speaking. As in stop typing nonsense. If I tell someone to shut up over the internet, that does not mean I’m asking you to stop physically talking using your mouth. I mean stop typing. Can you wrap your head around that concept?
“Just because someone doesn’t agree with your bigotry doesn’t mean you suddenly have license to burn them at the stake.”
What the hell is wrong with you? Bigotry?
No, I don’t hate with a passion Caucasian men from Australia or New Zealand. I dislike Keith Urban. He is from (apparently) New Zealand. So I said go back as in don’t continue to plague our air waves with your terrible music. I called him a wanker because that’s what the people over there in that part of the world call people who they dislike. I’m sure there are great musicians from Australia, New Zealand, and other parts of the world.
It’s amazing really, here we all are on a site that basically hates and talks shit about these false country artist and throw an insult at one these people and you’re attacking me with this crap.
Wimp? No. You’re just stupid.
May 13, 2016 @ 6:40 am
So jokingly telling someone to “go back to Australia” and playfully calling them a “wanker” constitutes as “bigotry?”
Then again, it is 2016, and it is our duty as Americans to find everything offensive.
I’m doing my part. I find Keith Urban’s new album to be offensive to my ears.
May 15, 2018 @ 6:18 pm
He may have been born in NZ but considers himself a Caboolture boy. I as a Kiwi am grateful he does not mention his place of birth. His cousin Karl has more style and manners and has a hell of a lot more talent.
May 11, 2016 @ 3:46 pm
Definition of “bigot”: 1) a person who is intolerant toward those holding different opinions. 2) A person who strongly and unfairly dislikes other people, ideas, etc. 3) A person who hates or refuses to accept the members of a particular group. I think I used the term appropriately.
I’m not gonna lie, I laughed out loud at your response to mine. Saving Country Music is home to a wide bastion of regular commenters, but you’re by far the most cliché keyboard warrior I’ve ever interacted with around here. “Sensitive nancies”? How about me just being a person that doesn’t like bullies? And if you couldn’t tell that my response was partly tongue-in-cheek, that’s on you and your temper, not me. But please, continue with the generic school-yard name calling. I hadn’t had a good laugh all day until you responded.
May 11, 2016 @ 4:21 pm
I mean honestly, if you’re going to act like a douche at least be funny or original. That guy is neither, not worth the time.
May 11, 2016 @ 4:30 pm
Cliché keyboard warrior? Dam, you got me.
Well actually seak05 and I did not have a real difference in opinion from his second comment. We both feel Keith Urban plays “shitty music.” The problem was in regards to the strange misunderstanding that I have something against Australians. You called me a bigot. So it appears it went to definition #2
“a person who hates or refuses to accept the members of a particular group”
Okay guy, I’m the big bad bully. Watch out now.
I just said Keith Urban is terrible and he needs to go away. You decided to be a knight in shinning armor with a misplace sense of internet commenting justice. I’m not gonna lie, I still think your stupid.
May 11, 2016 @ 8:30 pm
Good for you. I’m not gonna lie, it doesn’t really concern me if you think I’m stupid, particularly since your assertion is based purely on my sense of chivalry. If your personal experiences have led you to believe that one persons standing up for another, even in a seemingly irrelevant context, is the mark of a lack of intelligence, I’m disturbed to think what your life has been like. But thanks for the “knight” complement.
Oh, and for future reference, next time you call someone stupid you might want to know the difference between “your”, which is possessive, and “you’re”, which means “you are.” For example: You’re of the opinion that I’m stupid, yet your post doesn’t present a solid case. Of course, geniuses and prodigies the world over have historically had mediocre to terrible grammar, so I guess you’re on your way (refer to this sentence if you’re still at a loss for the rather simple difference between “your” and “you’re”, Smart Guy).
Yeah, yeah: your first instinct will be to respond with “Who cares about grammar?” Well, how you present yourself is how you are perceived. If you want to seem professional, you dress professionally, etc., etc. Based purely on your commenting prowess, you seem like a short fuse that’s attached to a dud. Here I am defending someone that you were attacking for no particular reason with your amazing syntax, yet I’m the “stupid” one. Excuse me while I go bust a gut.
Be sure to swing back by when you sober up, “Whiskey Pete.” The bottle isn’t doing you any favors.
May 12, 2016 @ 8:09 am
Is this Whiskey Clint?
May 11, 2016 @ 1:42 pm
Australia and New Zealand have some excellent true country music artists. And just like Canada, it’s agrarian culture and rugged landscape make it ideal for breeding country stories. Roo Arcus, Doug Bruce, and Tami Neilson are just a few of the Australian artists I’ve championed in the last year.
Unfortunately, Keith Urban doesn’t do Australia much justice, but it’s not Australia’s fault.
May 11, 2016 @ 2:04 pm
Trigger, here I come again with a long question that is completely off topic…
From what I understood you’re based in Texas, and I have a question about, what I think at least, is a Texas band, called “Finger Pistol”. The reason I ask is because I’ve just been watching some videos with them and among the songs they’re singing is “Emmylou”, and Gram Parsons “Grevius Angel”.In the beginning of this video one of the singers says that their Steelguitarist have played with Gram. Is he Neil Flanz?
The main reason I ask is Finger Pistol’s Cover of “Emmylou”. Even thou they seem to sing it most for fun, It doesn’t seem to fit in with the other songs. But fun or not…I know that my two favorit sisters would be absolut thrilled to hear that “Emmylou” been performed by a band those Steelgutarist once been playing with Gram Parsons….
They were more or less obsessed with him, in a way only teenager can be… Back in 2009-2010.They sang a cover of him on every concert and they were always trying to persuade people to start listening to him. Until they wrote “Emmylou” (also in 2010) and started, since it is partly an attribute to him, singing it instead.
May 11, 2016 @ 2:23 pm
I am familiar with Finger Pistols, but I don’t know them personally or anything, and didn’t know they were covering “Emmylou.” I’m also not sure who their settel guitarist is, but it could have been someone who played with Gram once or twice or something. If I find more info I will let you know.
May 11, 2016 @ 2:56 pm
Oh thank you very much, I would really appreciate it. If it is him, it feels a bit like a circle being closed…
May 11, 2016 @ 10:28 pm
Adam Brand is my favorite Australian Artist
May 12, 2016 @ 8:38 am
Well that’s really great. You just spent that entire post pointing out a not so worthwhile simple typo. (Can’t edit posts, sorry?) Truthfully, it seems that I have you in a corner and you’re just scratching your way out of this with anything you can sling at me. Well I guess I’m unprofessional and I dress unprofessional.
Yea I already know “you are not gonna lie.”
You know what, you should say “going to lie.” Gonna is so unprofessional of you.
So I’m a bigot, a bully, short-fuse attached to a dud, cliché keyboard warrior (what the hell?), and now a drunk because of my screen name? Fantastic Acca fucking Dacca.
I’m just here hating on Keith Urban. Period. You two clowns had to come in here all high and mighty and think I hate Australian musicians. Come on, you are being stupid and you know it.
May 16, 2016 @ 10:44 am
I actually just noticed that you responded again, though it wasn’t to any of my comments for some reason so I just now noticed after returning to this article. I’m not gonna lie, I’ve been repeating the “not gonna lie line” for purposeful redundancy. Why? I can’t say I’m exactly sure why, but I have an extremely dry sense of humor that’s apparently lost of you. You’re taking most of what I’ve typed literally, for some reason, when I was merely being facetious (for instance, I repeated your “wimp” comment to you, but I don’t think I’ve ever called a single person a wimp in my whole life). But that’s my fault, so I can’t very well complain. To that end, you’re partly correct: I AM being a bit stupid, and I do know it. But I suppose one of us has to be slightly self-aware, right?
I don’t care if you dislike Keith Urban or tell him to go back to his second home. I myself don’t really care for him, give or take a song or two. I was just annoyed that you were tearing into seak05 just because he disliked your prose, and I vented that by calling out your statements. I don’t consider that high and mighty, but it might very well be. If so, I apologize. It’s probably not my place to stick my nose where it doesn’t belong, but I felt that you were being a little harsh to seak05 so I threw my two cents in with my token sarcasm. He/she may or may not have appreciated that, but it seemed like the thing to do at the time.
I didn’t say you were unprofessional, I was merely using that as an example. For instance, I apparently give off the air of a self-aggrandizing pseudo-intellectual to some folks, or maybe most of them (it’s been a while since I took a poll). It wouldn’t surprise me if there’s a healthy amount of regular commenters that don’t really care for me, assuming the likes on your comments aren’t just sock accounts. But that’s on me, and I own it. I knew that you’d get irritated at the idea of me questioning your grammar as I’ve interacted with many of your type before, so that’s what I went with just to be annoying since you were resorting to insults, which I felt were a tad unnecessary given the circumstances. You call us “sensitive nancies” and act indignantly at every comment about your character, yet you respond with the exact same type of comments that we were pointing out in the first place. I don’t really understand how that means I’m “in a corner” (as if I’m trapped in this conversation and simply can’t just, you know, not respond anymore or something risky like that), but your perception is your reality.
“Keyboard warrior” is an internet term for people that talk big and tough on the internet due to anonymity. It may or may not be true in most cases, but it’s usually used when someone is adamantly pissed off and relies on excessive cursing, threats and name-calling rather than actually debating the ideological topic at hand. Prematurely declaring victory is another trait of the keyboard warrior. I called you a cliché because you’re really not differentiating from that template in any meaningful way.
I’m not gonna lie, I’ve more or less lost interest at this point, so if that counts as a “victory” in your mind, so be it. As far as I’m concerned there’s no point in continuing a debate when the most insightful annotation the other side can present is “this comment was stupid, that comment was stupid, you’re stupid.” I’m perfectly willing to eat crow when the situation calls for it, but that requires something a little deeper than airhead comments about the nature of my intelligence. Calling someone stupid on the internet is one of the most vapid exercises there is in this day and age. Hell, it’d be more interesting if you started typing “I know you are but what am I?” or something I haven’t seen eight times a day for the last ten years. “In a corner”? No, you’re just a boring opponent who doesn’t really stimulate my mood one way or the other.
Let me guess, if you choose to respond to this it’ll be more name-calling, more literal interpretations of comparisons/wordplay, and more sentences that shallowly state how “stupid” I am. I suppose I can continue this debate for a few more rounds, but if I’ve caught the gist of your next comment you needn’t bother responding at all. The fly buzzing around my computer screen is rapidly becoming more compelling than your tirades.
May 12, 2016 @ 10:59 am
Hey, Trigger I find it out myself it is Neil Flanz so you don’t have to bother, but thanks anyway!! He has a wikipedia page (of course…, I should have checked that)!…But since it is wikipedia, the information i got can of course be a bit dubious…
But anyway. Neil Flanz joined Gram and Emmylou for a six week long tour in 1973 I think it must have been one of their last tour since Gram died later that year.
Quote from the wikipedia page:
“Neil cites the tour as one of the most exciting parts of his career, with “thousands of cheering young long haired fans being introduced to country for the first time … rushing up to the stage just to touch us”.
Also: he will be inducted to Steel Guitar Hall Of Fame in june this year…
And I might even have seen him live! Becasue he played steelguitar for Joe Sun in 1980
About that time they had something similar to C2C in Europe. Which he took part in.And
I saw him there.( i have a sign copy of the album “Out of Your Mind”…And i might add I saw Emmylou Harris and Loretta lynn, Don williams, Billie Jo Spear,Joe Ely,Tommy Overstreet and a lot of other of that eras “Country Star” So I got me a couple of signed albums during those years.
But I think 1980 was the last year they held those festivals
And here is the video of Finger Pistols singing “Emmylou” And they have of cource added more “Country flavor” to it so it is a bit different…
And here is one video of many FAK singing “Still Feeling Blue” A bit different from Gram and Emmylou, but it is a cover….
And I have to add that their concerts back then do feels a bit amateurish at times. But what they lacked in experience and knowledge, they compensate for with pure joy and enthusiasm…And they ARE still teenager here.
The video start a bit in…Klara does likes to talk!
May 11, 2016 @ 3:46 pm
Now that trinidad james song thats some real country!!!!
October 22, 2016 @ 6:16 pm
I agree. Never was a country singer never will be. He needs to join back street boys and realize he is no country singer. He is a poor pathetic piece of s..t.
January 4, 2017 @ 2:25 pm
I like this new album- for all the things the reviewer does not. The new sound is a nice change.
May 11, 2016 @ 10:05 am
Keith Urban is making music that people want to buy, I wish that people bought less shitty music. On the plus side, it means that the people I want to see don’t cost as much money and are playing in smaller venues. Oh and their albums are cheaper, so I can buy two of them with the money I won’t be spending on this album
May 11, 2016 @ 10:18 am
Honestly I thought the Keith Urban from the late 90’s was better than this, like “Somebody Like You”, “It’s a Love Thing” hell even “Better Life”.
I quoted AVGN before and I’ll quote him again, THIS IS A LOAD A FUCKING BULLSHIT!!!
May 11, 2016 @ 10:55 am
Omfg I wish I can give you a million likes on the basis that you quoted the AVGN XD
May 11, 2016 @ 10:19 am
Holy crap. I thought the Pitbull reference was a joke. I just heard the song. What the heck?!
May 11, 2016 @ 10:35 am
I’ve never been a big Urban fan. He’s a little hit and miss for me. I actually though John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16 was a fun listen. That being said Wasted Time is by far the worst single he has released.
May 11, 2016 @ 12:38 pm
That’s being generous. Urban is almost entirely miss, and I don’t care if he can play guitar. He is basically the male Shania Twain (circa ‘Come on Over’ and ‘Up’) but now somehow much worse. That annoying “John Cougar…” song was painful, not fun, and the new single is the logical progression of his shallow artistry. Trust me, Keith Urban will be mercilessly mocked in twenty years.
May 11, 2016 @ 2:10 pm
It will not take 20 years.
May 11, 2016 @ 10:46 am
Him holding and playing that banjo in the video for that particular song feels like a form of trolling. Like Donald Trump with the taco bowl.
May 11, 2016 @ 10:54 am
Well, that man covered a Rodney Crowell song and he went #1(Making Memories of Us) .I can’t believe his new partners are Sam Hunt and Pitbull.
May 11, 2016 @ 12:07 pm
And Radney Foster’s “Raining on Sunday.”
May 12, 2016 @ 6:54 am
And Steve Forbert’s “Romeo’s Tune.”
May 11, 2016 @ 2:20 pm
I just want to clarify my statement from the review where I said Keith Urban never had a defining song in his career. That doesn’t mean he hasn’t had one or two good ones. Even the worst artists tend to cut a good song every once in a while. I was more implying that he has never defined an era or a sound by his music. He’s always leading, not following. It’s great that he cut a Rodney Crowell and Radney Foster song. But you have to balance that with all the other stuff he’s released.
May 11, 2016 @ 3:28 pm
I think when journalists later look back on the 2000s, they’ll much more likely credit Dan Huff as being the architect of a popular phase in country radio that eventually paved the way for pop’s continued encroachment on the format.
Because here’s the thing: many have repeatedly said over the years that Keith Urban and Rascal Flatts sound remarkably similar. And that’s no accident: because both were produced by Dann Huff throughout the entire peaks of their commercial careers.
It is for that reason why I agree with you Keith Urban is highly unlikely to stand out years from now from a cultural legacy standpoint. I think modern mainstream country/”country” music will be studied more in the form of eras defined by producers, and Dann Huff easily succeeded in carving out his own lane from 2000 through roughly 2008. Then, his decline became apparent and Frank Rogers became more of the most on-demand producer in the scene for several years. Then, with the advent of bro-country in 2012, it had been mainly a split between Joey Moi for that crowd and Jay Joyce for more artistic sensibility. Now, it’s kind of an all-around toss-up between those latter two names, Dave Cobb for the critical crowd, and Corey Crowder and Ross Copperman for the middle-of-the-road crowd I’m guessing.
May 11, 2016 @ 4:05 pm
But you have to balance that with all the other stuff he’s released.
Oh, believe you me, I do. Every time I hear his version of “Raining on Sunday” (which isn’t often because I don’t do “country” radio anymore), I think of this exchange between my wife and me (which I have quoted here before) when we were listening to 95.9 the Ranch and heard Radney Foster’s version of the song:
Her: Which Nashville twit did this?…This fellow sure does make it sound appealing, doesn’t he?
Me: Keith Urban had a big hit with this song back in 2003. I believe this is Radney Foster. That’s who it sounds like, at least.
Her: Oh, well, that makes sense, then! Radney Foster shits out more talent every morning than Keith Urban could hope to ever possess, even when he’s holding onto Nicole Kidman.
Is Keith Urban talented? Well, I suppose by some definitions he is, but I’ll straight up tell you there’s not even one song of his that I have really enjoyed. Ever. He has cut good songs, but other people do them better. I’ve said it elsewhere and will say it here: he claims all these different influences, but it all comes out sounding like the equivalent of mystery meat casserole. And God knows his attitude about country music and its “evolution” doesn’t help matters.
May 11, 2016 @ 11:00 am
II’ve “Break on Me”, but most of his music sucks, anymore. I’m a big Kenny Chesney fan, but his music lately also sucks. They are recording music that sells. It doesn’t mean it’s good, in fact most of it is quite the opposite. But the teens and twenty-somethings are buying music, via downloads, so they sing what sells. It sucks, but if they want to keep their careers and s ok under relevant, they have to do what makes money. Look what’s happened to so many country artists when they “aged out” of mainstream. Look what they did to Merle, Waylon, Don Williams, and many other older artists…they were relegated to Branson! I notice Carrie Underwood is heading down the same path (That smoking and drinking song), and Luke is already there, and so is Jason Aldean. Their first albums were great, but now, they’re really killing it, and raking in the $$$…that’s what it’s about in the industry anymore. It’s not about good music, because guaranteed, most of these artists probably hate half the garbage they are forced to sing. I certainly wouldn’t care for it. Hell, KC Is bringing the worst of the worst on tour, because they’re so poular. Zac Brown was decent, until they became relevant, then they jumped ship. Won’t be long before more and more artists do the same. Country music isn’t country, anymore. Good music doesn’t sell, anymore. It has to have a good beat and a good melody, or I t won’t sell. Lyrics don’t matter. If I do get on a stage, i.won’t be compromising my principles. If I don’t like it, I won’t sing it, period. I probably won’t really do much singjng, anyway…I’d rather write.
May 11, 2016 @ 11:02 am
It didn’t let me edit! >:( I’m typing from a cell phone.
Keep their careers and remain relevant…
Bubba T. Rockefeller
May 11, 2016 @ 12:20 pm
But the beat of current music sucks, and the melody too.
May 11, 2016 @ 1:01 pm
True, but not to the brats buying it. If they can dance to it, it’s awesome! Bonus if they can create a new stupid dance to it! Don’t get me started on that stupid running man challenge. That’s not the running man! That looks like a gay tip toe dance! Truly the gayest dance I have ever seen!
May 11, 2016 @ 12:44 pm
Don’t forget Dierks Bentley…..been a huge fan of his for years but his latest song “Some Where on a Beach” which is probably the biggest sell out ever, raced up the charts, is at #1 and is played hourly by every radio station in my local area. I just don’t get it. Respect for those that write their own music and stay true to who they are…..unfortunately radio won’t play them. Just bogles the mind!
May 11, 2016 @ 5:58 pm
Bentley has stated that he “did not” want to record or release that song but was in other words “forced” to by his record label. He also said he “couldn’t wait to get it out of the way” so he could release his usual songs with depth. He promised “Black” (the next album) will be just as deep as his others.
May 12, 2016 @ 11:56 am
I hope that you are right. We should find out in two weeks.
May 12, 2016 @ 8:02 pm
Me? No, I’m repeating what Dierks said. Maybe not the exact words but almost the same. You can find the article on google easily.
May 11, 2016 @ 1:27 pm
Well, I wouldn’t say good music is dead. Kelly Clarkson’s Piece by Piece performed really well, so even though it is not a Country song, there is that. Also, if you’re referring to Carrie’s song, Smoke Break, it’s a metaphor for taking a break from the overwhelming tasks in life, not literal smoking.
May 11, 2016 @ 1:33 pm
I understand. It’s not the only one. But I don’t listen to a lot of country music, anymore. I just can’t stand most mainstream music today. I listen to Hank FM, and outlaws on Milk Music. All outlaws, all the time, mostly Johnny, Willie, Waylon, and Merle, with some Hank tossed in once in a while, and Hank Jr, as well.
May 11, 2016 @ 11:01 am
Yesterday I was on my Apple TV and playing some app where they have music videos. Went under the “Country” section and this song comes up. It makes me cringe. I just don’t understand the appeal. How did we get to this point? Of course the following music videos were just as terrible. The dreaded Florid Georgia Line music video came up to top things off with those clowns on a coast singing like a boy band.
I blame women! The same women that grew up listening to boy bands in late 90’s are the ones responsible for these types of vocalists under the guise of country artists. I’m open to the possibility that I’m wrong.
May 11, 2016 @ 12:08 pm
“The same women that grew up listening to boy bands in late 90’s are the ones responsible for these types of vocalists under the guise of country artists.”
You might be on to something. Those boy bands were a bit after my time (NKOTB were the big group when I was that age), but I’ve heard it said that they and teen-girl singers were good for business because they get kids in the habit of buying music; there is some truth to that (after a brief crush on the New Kids, I quickly moved on to classic rock and New Country, and then female singer-songwriters and college/alt-rock), but for young listeners who aren’t so curious or adventurous, I can see them simply seeking out more of the sounds they liked (especially if they have kids of their own and find most new pop and hip-hop too off-puttingly raunchy to play in front of them).
May 11, 2016 @ 1:51 pm
There is a very boy band feel to the production of this record.
The Ghost of Buckshot Jones
May 11, 2016 @ 11:02 am
Okay, I ask this a lot, but seriously, who’s the audience for this? Who’s the demo? I mean, it’s obviously not country, but it’s not the Sam Hunt demo, it’s not the “Bro” demo, this isn’t going for R&B…what exactly is it? 48 year old Soccer moms in a great clips?
Like him or not, I can understand the appeal of Sam Hunt. I get why people like Luke Bryan, Jason Aldean, etc. Who likes this? Who puts this on? Who turns up the radio to this? My 70 year old mom would think this is lame.
May 17, 2016 @ 2:07 pm
Even FDR would think this is lame.
May 11, 2016 @ 11:18 am
When streaming this album I thought, as an adult pop album, it isn’t all that bad. But when you’re instantly reminded that this is being marketed as a country album and will impact the Hot Country Albums chart, it’s a brass-knuckled jab to the face.
Because, believe it or not, there are moments on “Ripcord” that work to my ears as modern pop songs.
To Urban’s credit, he didn’t half-ass his pursuit of collaborators and choose some second-to-third rate producers who customize beats on Caseos and try passing it off as innovation. No, he actually assembled a legitimate team of experienced pop producers to helm this project. And though there is nary a shred of country authenticity from beginning to end, “Ripcord” isn’t a complete waste as a listening experience on its own ground.
You mentioned “Blue Ain’t Your Color” as a solitary moment of promise on the album. I agree that is the high point of the album and somehow manages to maintain the feel of a waltz despite all the EDM production.
“Gone Tomorrow (Here Today)”, I have to admit, commanded my attention too even if the banjo is merely a token commodity. Like it or not, Jeff Bhasker has a real ear for technical songwriting and composition (he co-produced fun’s “Some Nights” and “Uptown Funk”) and that track has got some intriguing pulse driving it. And I have to admit (and I expect to catch flak for saying this) that while it does have a gimmicky feel to it, “Sun Don’t Let Me Down” is actually quite tight and well-crafted from a technical songwriting standpoint. Nile Rogers knows how to compose a killer riff, and it’s no exception here. And as someone who has generally liked but not loved Pitbull in pop culture, he brings the album some much-needed energy.
That said, “Ripcord” suffers from two things in particular. One, it just feels way too mechanical for the most part. Urban has always struck me as an emotionally committed vocalist who has had a genuine knack at exuding cool even when the lyrics are utterly shallow and/or hamfisted. But here, Urban becomes more of a sideshow to the team of producers. “Ripcord” seems more of a showcase of producers than it does a realized project, and thus Urban’s presence as a frontman is largely lacking here. We also know him to be quite the guitar hero, and yet he seldom flexes his musicianship muscles here either.
Secondly, the songwriting is mostly an embarrassment for exactly the reasons you stated. I have nothing against fifty-somethings occasionally dabbling into youthful nostalgia as a theme. Nostalgia is an honest part of adult experiences. But it becomes a problem when your work is frequently bogged down in that rut. It leads to one wondering if that person is actually feeling nostalgic, or is in fact confusing nostalgia for arrested development. And while I know demographics are primarily at play here, it’s still no excuse to why Urban feels the need to double down entirely on running down this rabbit hole while Tim McGraw is making genuine strides towards graceful aging,
So, yeah, I didn’t react as negatively as you in listening to “Ripcord”, only because I’m defiantly putting it in its place as a pop album and, as far as pop albums go, it’s a mixed bag.
It just makes my blood boil that it’s going to debut at #1 on the Hot Country Albums chart, though.
I’m thinking a Decent to Strong 4 out of 10 for this album regardless of genre.
May 11, 2016 @ 12:50 pm
I agree Nadia. To me, if this album was a pop record, I would still enjoy this. There is always talk about how country albums would be terrible no matter what genre they were getting stuck into and I think this one is a good pop album. And it shouldn’t be taken the wrong way, Keith Urban has alwayss been naturally poppy. Did he break away from all of the chains now because of what is commercially accepted in country music now? Maybe, probably. But this is a natural progression for Keith and to say he is making an effort to stay relevant or save his career is completely and utterly ridiculous to me.
May 11, 2016 @ 1:48 pm
Some here may look at my not-that-harsh review of “Ripcord” as something of a double standard because I often am outspokenly critical of the sterile, toothless production elements countless entertainers on Country radio have adopted.
But the reason I’m coming across a little easier in this instance, is because the production actually sounds professional on most tracks. In contrast, when you listen to Michael Carter (Cole Swindell), Chad Carlson (Chase Rice), Jeff Stevens (Luke Bryan) or Jason Massey (Kelsea Ballerini) to name a handful……………….they’re transparent in how shallow an understanding they have of technique and craftsmanship with layering tracks electronically. They essentially just rely on walls-of-sound and stationary beats that you can find on any electric keyboard default.
So, I have to give Urban credit for at least going out of his way to seek true professionals in putting together a pop album, rather than take the half-assed, lowest-common-denominator approach and just urge anyone with a Caseo to come into the studio and toy around with it.
“Ripcord” is still not a good album. I’d much rather hear “love, pain & the whole crazy thing” or something resembling that album’s experimentation more. But I wouldn’t consider “Ripcord” that bad either. I just wish Keith Urban would be half as honest as Taylor Swift and just state his intention of making a pop record. Even if Pop radio shuns 50-year olds like Country radio, itself, is increasingly doing.
May 11, 2016 @ 1:13 pm
I have no idea what country is anymore anyways. I mean this isn’t really country, Sam Hunt is definitely not country, Beyonce might be country. Even Chris Stapleton sounds more blues than country to me. But then again Johnny Cash did the speaking/singing thing way before Sam Hunt (and better), and that is country.
Everyone seems to be trying to cash in on being called country though. Anderson East, who is definitely not country, debuted his new video on CMT today. Clearly trying to cash in on the fact that he works with Cobb, who is hot in country right now, and the secondary fame he’s getting from dating Miranda (who also tends to sound more rock than country to me).
May 11, 2016 @ 3:12 pm
One thing is for certain: this is NOT country. Nor is Beyonce or Sam Hunt.
So I just say it fails under a certain genre while approaching the work on its own merit. And while I resent this being shoved down the throats of Country listeners just because Urban is an established A-lister on country radio because this is NOT a country album………………….I’ve definitely heard much worse in 2016.
If anything, I actually prefer “Ripcord” (as a whole) more than Cole Swindell’s new album. I’ve streamed “You Should Be Here” and I can honestly say that while it doesn’t have nearly as many cringe-worthy moments as his debut album and, to its credit, actually features a number of tracks built from a contemporary country foundation…………………….it’s done in the most formulaic, lethargically easy-listening, hopelessly mid-tempo way imaginable.
“You Should Be Here” may be more country than “Ripcord”, but it felt like a chore listening to it from front to back because there is barely any speck of variety or personality. At least “Ripcord”, in spite of its complete lack of country credibility, has some personality and interesting moments.
May 11, 2016 @ 11:24 am
Urban and Pitbull, Brad Paisley is reducing a song on Friday with Demi Lovatto, Dierks has a song with Elle King, recording with a pop star seems to be the new trend. (You can throw Blake/Gwen in here too, but there are other layers to that one).
May 11, 2016 @ 11:48 am
You can also throw in Thomas Rhett with Jordin Sparks.
The Ghost of Buckshot Jones
May 11, 2016 @ 12:46 pm
Wait, what? Who greenlit that d-list collabo?
May 11, 2016 @ 2:28 pm
Honestly, I could see the Brad Paisley/Demi Lovato pairing having potential, as long as the production refrains from the glossy.
Lovato is truly an above-average vocalist when she aims for subtlety. It’s true that, often, she can be too bombastic with her vocal style and thus lack control and get off-pitch. But she has genuine talent for sure, and when provided the right material and aiming for a more understated performance, Lovato can truly hit it out of the park.
I don’t know what to make of the Dierks Bentley/Elle King pairing.
Elle King has only recently emerged onto the mainstream, and she hasn’t really left an impression on me either way. I think she has been trying to tap into that same sensibility KT Tunstall had earlier on, but King seems to lack the commanding voice of Tunstall.
Wonder if Mike Posner will be dragged into a forthcoming country collaboration.
After all, he’s best of buddies with Jake Owen and he even featured on a dreadful remix of the already bad “Beachin'”. His new album is more country-inspired than many current efforts of country entertainers anyway.
May 11, 2016 @ 4:24 pm
Oh, I agree with you that Lovato can sing, and the song might be very good. In fact I think a lot of current female pop stars are better singers than most of the current female country singers. It just seems like adding a pop star to your record is a current trend, and the pairings seem forced by (I would presume) record companies. Some of it might be good music though, and that’s what I really care about, even if it’s not country music.
May 11, 2016 @ 8:37 pm
I;d also like to point out Jason Aldean, as well as Reba McEntire, Trisha Yearwood, and Vince Gill, with Kelly Clarkson. Yep, I’d say it’s pretty trendy.
May 11, 2016 @ 11:38 am
I’m not quite sure I understand his recent recording decisions on the production front. I feel like there would be a real market for a simple, guitar- and banjo-driven record from Keith Urban, especially in the current country music environment. Add to the fact he’s had such songs on his past albums, and he’s worked with people like Don Williams, and it all adds up to disappointment.
rock along with ROCKALONG, the giant friendly purple dragon
May 11, 2016 @ 12:32 pm
It means that Keith Urban is capable of better.
May 11, 2016 @ 11:40 am
Between this and Sam Hunt, which is more Country?
May 11, 2016 @ 1:55 pm
I just submitted this question to the Saving Country Music supercomputer, and it had a meltdown.
May 11, 2016 @ 11:46 am
I just saw Keith perform Wasted Time live on American Idol. I thought it was way too Pop to be considered Country, despite the banjo part. Which would you consider more Country, this or Sam Hunt?
May 11, 2016 @ 11:51 am
By any chance, will you do a song review Church Bells by Carrie Underwood?
May 11, 2016 @ 1:04 pm
That woman is almost frightening in the macabre stuff she writes about offing a woman’s husband!
May 11, 2016 @ 1:56 pm
Maybe, we’ll see.
Bigfoot is Real (lonesome, on'ry, and mean)
May 11, 2016 @ 11:53 am
Based on the title I didn’t waste my time reading the review of something I shouldn’t waste my time listening to. Thanks for the heads up.
May 11, 2016 @ 12:01 pm
It seems all the shitty artists have one song I really like. ‘You Look Good In My Shirt’ is a song of his I will actually stop and listen to. Everything else is garbage. This is more garbage.
(”Til Summer Comes Around” is another song that suits him and he didn’t ruin. I like it for personal reasons only. But I don’t tell anyone.)
My target date to disable the radio in my car is June 6–d-day. I should have my playlists burned to CDs by then–I hope.
May 11, 2016 @ 2:55 pm
“Stupid Boy” is my favorite song of his. It is such a cathartic song, especially with the full solo in the latter half.
Honestly, I’ve generally liked his earlier singles my fair share. They may lack meat on the bones lyrically, but they are enjoyable to listen to for what they are: bright-eyed country-pop sing-alongs with emotionally invested vocals.
“Little Bit of Everything” was the moment that Urban began to sour on me: both because the lyricism just seemed beneath him (it has a somewhat douchey vibe that doesn’t suit his style well at all) and the saccharine producton. Then “Fuse” followed and I just couldn’t get into a majority of tracks besides “Cop Car”, “Somewhere In My Car” and “Heart Like Mine”.
“Ripcord” is, oddly enough, slightly better than “Fuse” to me. But even while the songwriting is a little better than it was on “Fuse” as a whole, the downside is the complete lack of country flavor. So it’s like a complete trade-off, but not one I think will be worth it for Urban.
May 11, 2016 @ 12:43 pm
as a longtime fan i was going to buy this then i heard wasted time on the radio and the borderline bro and edm beat discust me but i listened to a couple of the tracks he posted on youtube and i’m so dissapointed after over 20 years in the business he feels the need to fit into what everyone else is doing right now
May 11, 2016 @ 12:47 pm
This album will definitely be a hit in hair salons everywhere.
Holy shit, though. Totally not country. Like not even in a vague, squint-your-eyes way. It’s 1000% pop. Which is fine if it’s supposed to be a pop album. It would be a terrible, generic pop album but at least it’d be accurate. What will happen, because it’s already happening, is most of these songs will be on your favourite “Hot Country” station. I guess if you call something country long enough people just believe it?
The only way to fix country radio now is like that line from Aliens: “I say we take off and nuke the site from orbit. It’s the only way to be sure.”
May 11, 2016 @ 2:15 pm
“Alright, we waste ’em. No offense.” Favorite line 🙂
May 11, 2016 @ 11:54 pm
“The only way to fix country radio now is like that line from Aliens: “I say we take off and nuke the site from orbit. It’s the only way to be sure.”
sooo funny …and so dead on .
May 11, 2016 @ 1:57 pm
Sad thing is, I was actually planning to buy Mary Chapin Carpenter’s new album because it’s actually hitting the top ten on some Digital Shops but when I took a sample on it on Amazon the album felt a little bleak and I honestly couldn’t hear a word she was saying so I decided to make a hard decision and skip on it.
May 11, 2016 @ 2:03 pm
I may still review the Mary Chapin, but I tend to agree. “Bleak” is the right word. I’m not going to call it bad, but I found it very hard to find the inspiration to write about it after listening, or the inspiration to do anything. Which is sad because I was really looking forward to it.
Frank the Tank
May 11, 2016 @ 10:24 pm
I agree. It wasn’t bad, but none of the songs grabbed me and made me want to listen to them again.
May 12, 2016 @ 6:20 am
Same here–she is one of my all-time favorite artists and I bought the new album IN A STORE on release day. I had a road trip the next day so I put it in to play. After a couple of run-throughs when none of the songs had made much of an impression, I plugged in my iPod to the audio output and listened to her old stuff instead. Sigh.
May 11, 2016 @ 2:07 pm
All I know is this ………………….I was there the night they killed country music …………I hope to live long enough to see it re-born!
May 11, 2016 @ 2:33 pm
one of the reasons, i use the streaming is to filter out empty soulless stuff like this. Agree completely.
May 11, 2016 @ 3:10 pm
Is this that new Justin Bieber song? The Bieb’s really sticking to his roots with this one.
May 11, 2016 @ 3:20 pm
Can’t we just listen to the music we like and not overanalize everything? I love to listen to Keith Urbans songs because they are upbeat and fun and sexy. Why can’t people understand we don’t just listen to country? I listen to country and pop and KUs country or pop is right up my alley.
May 11, 2016 @ 3:40 pm
Imagine if every single station, in every single genre of music, was playing nothing but atmospheric rap songs akin to Drake.
How would you react? You’d lament the lack of diversity on your dial.
We “overanalyze” music because maintaining contrast is essential in keeping music diverse and with each community’s identity intact. I listen to all kinds of music myself and am not the least bit ashamed to admit that. But when “Ripcord” and “Montevallo” and countless other efforts bereft of country influences and identity are impacting the Billboard Hot Country Songs and Hot Country Albums charts and, in effect, taking the places of legitimate country albums and singles………………..yeah, I’m definitely going to call that out.
May 11, 2016 @ 5:52 pm
It’s not just the lack of diversity in terms of artists on the radio that is troubling. I think a lot of it also has to do with the generalized [I]mediocrity[/I] of what is out there. Everyone wants to do these really weird collaborations, like Keith Urban is doing with Pitbull and Nile Rodgers, in an attempt to garner widespread crossover acceptance of some kind, the so-called “sure thing”. But as the late, great film director Stanley Kubrick once said, “[b]Nothing is as dangerous as a sure thing.[/b]” And that’s really true these days, when the desire for a “sure thing” breeds playing it safe, pandering to the audience, and doing something almost singularly for the money. This is partly why we’ve had to put up with Bro Country and its various offshoots now for the last four years.
As for Mr. Urban–well, he really doesn’t impress me, either as a vocalist, or as a guitarist (doing a lot of fancy guitar licks doesn’t necessarily make any song or record, whether country or not, great right off the top). This record doesn’t change my mind about him.
May 11, 2016 @ 4:07 pm
I’m sorry Trigger but I really enjoyed Keith Urban’s “Ripcord” cd. I really like his new song “Wasted Time.” I am a fan of Keith Urban!!!
May 11, 2016 @ 4:11 pm
I find it utterly amazing that between Keith Urban, Tim McGraw and Kenny Chesney that Tim freakin McGraw is basically the last artists of that trio that still feels super relevant. Maybe Urban scores a #1 record just due to his fanbase, but he hasn’t felt like a “name” in the Country music industry for some time now even with the high profile marriage and AI gig. Same goes for Chesney whose Buffet-esque act wore thin a long, long time ago.
Six String Richie
May 11, 2016 @ 6:01 pm
This discussion about “is this good as a pop album?” and “do we even call this country” has played out in my life recently.
So I’ve got a friend from Colombia who has been in the U.S. for the past few months studying at a local university. We’ve bonded over plenty of stuff (my mother is from his hometown) but we talk about music a lot.
He was somewhat familiar with a number of American pop and rock artists before coming here but didn’t know the American music scene that well. I’ve tried to show him some of the better music from the U.S.
Anyways, I explained who Merle Haggard was and why his death was significant, I’ve showed him stuff like Keith Whitley and Dwight Yoakam and he’s enjoyed the music to some degree. I called this stuff “country music.”
Before I showed him the country stuff he had heard a lot of country radio. He said he didn’t like country music very much. I asked him what country artists he even knew. He said Luke Bryan, Ed Sheeran, Train, Shane Mendes and Zac Brown. I said half of those artists aren’t even country. He also couldn’t understand how Haggard and Whitley were considered the same genre as the new stuff.
The point is, to somebody who had limited knowledge of the American music scene, country was completely indistinguishable from pop. I tried to explain that there’s “real country” and “pop country” kind of like how in Colombia there’s more traditional music (like vallenato) and the mainstream new version of it (tropipop).
But he’ll still ask me sometimes when he hears a song “Is this country?” He’ll ask that for Florida Georgia Line or Andy Grammer or even Goo Goo Dolls.
May 11, 2016 @ 8:01 pm
So is no one going to mention the V-neck, sleeveless tee he was wearing in the video?
May 11, 2016 @ 8:26 pm
That V-neck has actually been catching my eye a lot, honestly.
Frank the Tank
May 11, 2016 @ 10:33 pm
I can’t say that I’ve ever intentionally listened to a Keith Urban song and I don’t think I could even name any of his songs. To me, his music is utterly forgettable.
May 11, 2016 @ 11:31 pm
Keith Urban is another case of a guy who has made a fortune , can afford do ANYTHING he wants musically, challenge himself in uncountable ways , vocally , instrumentally , collaboratively and songwriting-wise and yet consistently chooses to do none of the above opting to cow-tow to kids’ narrow -minded view of country music and life over and over and over again . Urban COULD take a page from the Vince Gill book on how to be creative on 6 or 7 fronts simultaneously ( playing swing with Time Jumpers, playing gigs with his bluegrass band , producing other artist , doing session work , touring with the likes of Lyle Lovett , writing , recording and touring his OWN country band AND showing up at the Opry regularly . And that’s just the things we know about Vince . Keith Urban is every bit as talented vocally and as a guitar player as Vince , in my opinion , yet he has chosen to piss it away on shit , forgettable , nondescript , inauthentic , substance-less crap each time he releases something .
Your assessment above is , no doubt, dead on Trigger ( I’ll take your word ), and as beautifully articulated as ever. Anyone who’s heard the last one of the last 5, 6 Urban albums has heard ’em all .
Wake me up when Keith decides to get real .
May 12, 2016 @ 5:49 am
Funny thing about this album I noticed this week.
On my Google Play – New Releases – Country section – Keith’s album isn’t even listed. I can find it under other sections, but not “New Releases – Country”. It seems to me that the Google algorithm even picked up that this album isn’t country.
Trig, you made it farther through this than I did, but only because that’s your job. I told my kid the Keith has a new album, “but it’s not really country, at all.”
Hoping he comes back around in a year or two.
May 12, 2016 @ 6:30 am
Keith has had a few really good ballads in his career, but I’ve always felt that he’s a light-rock artist. That said, he is now a part of the old guard of country stars and it would have been nice to see him go more in the direction Tim McGraw is going now. But I’m just not sure Keith Urban has it in him. I definitely won’t be wasting my time with this one.
May 12, 2016 @ 7:01 am
In 2005, when my wife and I got together, we shared some of our music with each other. From me, she heard Patty Griffin, Lucinda Williams and Richard Thompson (my favorite). She liked the ladies (especially Patty) and had no use for Mr. Thompson. From her, I heard Last Train Home (DC area Americana-ish group fronted by Eric Brace and an album by Keith Urban. Apparently, it was Golden Road. I thought it wasn’t bad. Maybe folk-pop or Americana-light. The song I remember the most was “You’ll Think of Me.” Just listened to it and I still think it’s a good song.
May 12, 2016 @ 7:02 am
Meant as a reply to Smokey J.
May 12, 2016 @ 7:16 am
What a waste of potential with Keith Urban.
He is very successful; he sells out huge venues with his tours.
His albums sell. I know tons of people who love him.
He did the American Idol thing.
He has a beautiful movie star wife who is very talented.
Seems like a nice guy.
He can sing, he can play, he has the looks.
He has it all.
This is what we get from him. Fine, the general public will eat it up.
It is pop music.
This is what we get on country radio and the industry.
It is all about money and the machine.
He is a well known product brand with a business and industry team behind him
Instead of satisfy meals, we get non nutritious sugary deserts.
General public eats it up.
The majority of the public do not care about musician integrity, song writing, or the fine art of music. The people really into the deepness of music are the majority we see on sites like this trying to understand the masses lack of substance in their tastes.
Seems like they want jingles. Hey, even I get hooked on silly pop songs once in a while. They can be harmless and fun.
I accept it if I decide to turn on the radio once in a while.
I hate the way we are forced fed it though, and the way the music is selected in the board rooms and what get’s the push.
There is this relationship between the artists (brands) who just play by the industry rules, go along with the corporate drive to just get product out for consumption and the goal to be on the playlist.
It kills me though. I wish there was more integrity a better product.
The public has no choice or part of the decision making on what we hear.
The artists that don’t conform pay the price and get no backing at all.
I like the ones that win despite it all.
Radio constantly feeds every hour the new Urban, FGL, Aldean, Luke Bryan, as if they are pre-determined to be what we want and need.
The artists that don’t conform to the rules and game get short changed.
I swear I am seeing it with Eric Church these days. I think he really irked the machine with the last album release.
May 13, 2016 @ 12:56 am
IDK, in reality any potential you talk about has long passed.
Touring is about the only thing keeping him financially afloat and the venues are becoming smaller.
His albums sell poorly. People are becoming increasingly disillusioned with his music.
He did the American Idol thing until they cancelled it due to plummeting ratings.
Unfortunately, he has a very unpopular actress wife who couldn’t sell a ticket to her own movie.
Kind of seems like a fake guy.
Sure, he can sing, he can play, he has the botoxed look.
Alas, he doesn’t seem to have it all and the general public won’t eat it up, which is a fact supported by his lacklustre album sales.
May 12, 2016 @ 8:15 am
This is Savage Garden for girls who shop at Walmart and say “roll Tide!.”
Six String Richie
May 12, 2016 @ 8:38 am
I’ve actually always been a Keith Urban fan. He’s great live and he has a ton of songs I like. He’s one of my all-time favorite pop country artists. But he has totally lost me with these last two albums.
As far as his signature song, I’d say it’s a tossup between “Somebody Like You” and “You’ll Think of Me.”
May 12, 2016 @ 12:27 pm
I would rather shit a bangalore torpedo with the fuse lit than listen to ANYTHING from Keith Urban!!
Fourth Blessed Gorge
May 12, 2016 @ 2:22 pm
More stupid dudebro fantasies about beer, trucks, the beach and etc. Remember when country music dealt with actual human adult emotions and feelings? Even tripe like D-I-V-O-R-C-E was head and shoulders over this escapist garbage. Small wonder that these summer bro-country mega-shows are debauched scenes of ultra-drunk idiots, public lewdness and violence, they’re basically huge beer commercials set to toy music that calls itself “country” because the guy singing them wears a cowboy hat.
May 12, 2016 @ 4:14 pm
I love all things Keith. Love him, his music, his life, his wife and his beautiful family. I have all of his CDS and I’m elated to add Ripcord to my collection. You all can be as negative as you want and keep trying to convince everyone that he’s doing it wrong. You won’t change my mind.
His music makes me happy.
May 12, 2016 @ 9:41 pm
I am with you on that one abby all those who are negative gotta ask do they play any musical instraments lets see if they can do better lol all the way with keith I say go urban ripcord.
May 12, 2016 @ 4:47 pm
To Abby, just above me.
The thing is not about bashing Keith Urban at all… I do not think it is anyway !
Why should people bash the human being that Keith is?
What makes people – real country music fans – like myself – so mad and upset, is that – nowadays – there are DOZENS of albums that DO pretend to be of the country music genre, or at least this “new country” thing (pop, dance, reggae, etc…) that is NOT country music at all. (it is not because you put one or 2 notes of banjo, fiddle, or steel guitar in an entire song that it makes this song a country music song… On Spotify, “Ripcord” IS in the new releases – country section… . ANYTHING now is called country. ANYTHING can be called country. What a shame for real country music. That is what the purpose of this post is about, primarely. Abby, you are posting on a blog that is called “Saving Country Music”. “Ripcord” is a dance and pop album, and it does not belong to country music at all. Keith is one kind human being, I never met him, but – hey – it shows, how kind he is as a human being… I’m not a Keith Urban fan at all anymore (for personal reasons), but from the very last week of October 1998 to mid-June 2015, I was one of his biggest fan, believe me. Tastes change, lives change, etc… Once again, this is really NOT about bashing Keith at all, but it is about a non country album being listed and called a country album anyway.. Once again (sighs…) I’m sure that Billboard will have it in ALL of its country charts next week.
May 13, 2016 @ 9:52 am
Guy has always been garbage. “You Look Good In My Shirt” is his only good song. Can’t stand this clown and his panzy attitude. Thanks to all the women out there for making this guy popular.
May 14, 2016 @ 12:47 pm
After listening to the CD many times and finally reading what this website is all about (sorry ’bout not doing that before posting earlier), I get it.
This is NOT a county album at all. Not sure what Keith is calling it. So far all he’s said is that he had touring and the stage in mind when he put it together. It’s pop rock dance if you ask me. He will definitely rock out with these songs on tour this summer!
Keith got his foot in the door through country music, but I’m not convinced he was ever old country. His sound has always been different- different is good.
Hang in there true country lovers, I think country music is just evolving and maybe these days you’re feeling it’s growing pains. I think it will come back around soon. In the meantime pull out Willie Waylon and the boys and promote true country artists.
Oh, and you can waste all the time you want listening to ‘Ripcord ‘. Don’t let ANYONE tell you what you should or shouldn’t listen to!
May 14, 2016 @ 1:08 pm
The first rule of art appreciation is that if you like it, that’s all that matters. It is never my intent when writing reviews to attempt to take the joy of music from anybody, and that’s not how it should be approached, though I can totally understand how some would take it that way.
Think of it like this: If I’m an Italian food critic, and I am invited to review an Italian restaurant, I order the lasagna, and they serve me Szechwan chicken, it may be the best Szechwan chicken I’ve ever had, but if you’re calling it lasagna, I’m going to fail it because it’s wrong. Maybe this album is a great pop album. I’m not a pop critic, so I can’t speak on that. But as a country album, it’s garbage. In my opinion.
May 14, 2016 @ 3:32 pm
Thanks Trigger for putting a smile on my face. Just what I needed today !. You said it right, through your words…It is NOT about bashing the CD, or any CD per say, but it is just that a we – as real country music fans – hate when something is called one thing and it is not that thing at all. (Read: Don’t call a non-country CD a country CD!)
P.S.: Abby, keep on loving Keith’s music, no matter what kind of music it is ! You’re an awesome fan of his, no matter what, and I really admire you for this.
Sylvie from Québec.
May 14, 2016 @ 4:16 pm
You and a few others here seem to get it. It’s not about bashing.
I love true country also. I tend to stick with the classics tho, because there aren’t many genuine cowboys these days. I hope I recognize the next George or Merle when I see them!
I wanted to let you know that I’m sorry for whatever happened to you last June. Take care
May 14, 2016 @ 6:56 pm
Thank you tons for kind words.
Frank N. Beans
May 14, 2016 @ 6:19 pm
Great record. Welcome to the new country music motherfuckers.
May 16, 2016 @ 7:04 am
I have always defended Keith Urban. It may be because my twin 7 year old girls love his music. I have seen him in concert about 5 times and I think he puts on a great show. When he released Fuse I was a little skeptical about the turn he was taking musically but it had a lot of catchy songs on it. Even the Stars Fall for You is one of the most catchy songs I have heard in years. It didn’t have any just great songs but it was good listen. I was hoping Ripcord would be the same. I was wrong. The album is horrible. Keith took things way too far. Blue Ain’t Your Color is the only song I would classify as country on the album. Wasted Time is the only real catchy song. To say the least I am very disappointed. I keep hoping Keith might find another You’ll Think of Me but I if the future is like Ripcord count me out as a fan.
By the way my twin girls think the album is horrible.
Waylon Van Smack
May 16, 2016 @ 1:43 pm
its threads like this that make me wish there was a dislike button on comments.
May 17, 2016 @ 1:41 pm
I have been a big fan of Keith urban for over 12 years. His music has always inspired me and also helped me through difficult times. I have seen him in concert and he is a fantastic live performer. While ripcord is not one of my favorite CDs I believe that Keith always tries to do his very best and put out music that his true fans will enjoy. So my opinion to all of this negativity about ripcord is just really simple. If you do not like the music then don’t listen to the cd. Stop degrading a wonderful musician and find something constructive to do with your time. I really do not care about what you think of my opinion on this subject and I can guarantee that Keith does not either. After all compared to most so called artists these days I believe that Keith is one of the best. Plus he is happily married to the love of his life, he has two beautiful children, and seems to be so very honest and down to earth. Which in my opinion is rare today. So I will continue to listen to Keith and enjoy the music that he will continue to put out. I give him a lot of credit for always being true to his music and his fans.like I said, if you don’t enjoy his new cd then listen to something else. That is if you can find something better. And for the record, stop being so negative and please move on and take your insults somewhere else because Keith is way above you. Bye, and if you can try and make some music of your own, until that day comes keep quiet!
May 17, 2016 @ 4:24 pm
Dear Jacqueline, I do no think that you have read the explanations that me and Trigger gave to – for example – Abby above. It is not that people are being – as you say – negative over “Ripcord” at all. It is that people are being negative by hearing and reading that “Ripcord” IS a country music CD, while it is NOT about country music at all…. …Just as I explained to Abby above, this Blog, “Saving Country Music” is a Blog about country music..Jacqueline, you are writing about a CD that has NOTHING to do with country music on a Blog – this Blog ! – that ihas the purpose of defending and talking about real, traditional country music like Merl Haggard, Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Janie Fricke, Roy Clark, etc… So all of your words are NOT compatible at all,with what this Blog is all about. As Trigger posted before, do not say that “Ripcord” CD is of country music because it is not a country CD at all. The reason why Trigger did do a post about “Ripcord” on this Blog, HIS Blog was to tell people and to make them understand that – although Keith useD (with a capital “D”) to do country music. You are negative yourself in what you are posting, and this is not right at all. it is not even to be a fan of Keith Urban or not…You are also talking about his marriage on a Blog that talks about MUSIC… what does Keith’s marriage, family,whatever, all have to do with THIS Blog??????? Is this a GOSSIP Blog now ? Sorry Jacqueline, but you did not and are not getting what this “Saving Country Music” Blog is about at all. ‘Glad to see that you are a longtime and very loyal fan of Keith, but LISTEN – I WAS a fan of Keith, one of his BIGGEST in the world from 1998 to 2015. It is not the place to tell people the reasons why I’m not a fan of his anymore. But your negativity is NOT – believe me – something that Keith would enjoy reading AT ALL. Keith would understand why Trigger did put this post on his Blog. Keith never said that “Ripcord” WAS a country CD neither. Far from it ! One thing is very sure – I will never hate him, I’m just into him anymore… FINAL NOTE: To Frank N. Beans, Thanks for your politeness regarding all of us, readers and fans of this Blog. Sylvie from Québec (Canada).
May 18, 2016 @ 7:02 pm
Sylvie, well Sylvie I do not believe that after being a fan of Keith’s for all of those years and so you say his Biggest fan ever and now you are just not into him anymore because you feel that ripcord is not a country cd is beyond being a hypocrite. I mentioned his family because of the fact that Keith gets a lot of inspiration from his family. I just wanted to put my opinion out there but I did not realize that there were RULES in doing so. Oh, and thank you for correcting me on the CD spelling. It is always good to know when you have made a mistake. I had no negativity at all in my BLOG what so ever towards THE MUSIC! Oh right, no GOSSIP! Anyway SYLVIE from Que’bec Jacqueline from the USA is leaving you with a positive BYE YA’LL. Is it so cold where you live that it just might have frozen your brain? Only kidding SYLVIE.
May 19, 2016 @ 6:27 am
This will be my last reply to you on this Jacqueline. If you should reply, I will not again, ever,so you can write whatever you want, if you do, I will not reply to anymore, nor look at any of your replyies neither.You are never reading the posts right. You are saying that I’m not a fan of Keith because “Ripcord” is not a country album? If you would have read me right, I wrote that I had stopped being a fan of him in mid-June 2015. Was “Ripcord” out by then? Did I say that I was not a fan of Keith anymore because “Ripcord” was not a country CD? NO, I did not. And before you make allegation, search your information, just send a private e-mail to Trigger in the “contact” section, and he will tell you why I’m no longer a fan of his. (Yes, Trigger WILL reply to you!) And I also wrote in the post that I would never hate Keith. Calling me a hypocrite is being really immature, and unrespectful. I will not get into much details, but hopefully it will make you not reply on this subject anymore. Is that the way you always treat others ???Wow…Sad, really…All I can say is that when you have people around you who laugh and ridicule fans who are in wheelchairs, who are sick and dying, who ask to meet Keith as their dying wish and – instead – get laughed at, ridicule, by his people, etc… NO, I can not be a fan and continue to give money to people like this. I’m talking about DOZENS of cases – throughout the years – which I very well described with names, dates, and all the proofs possible (including pictures) to Trigger, privately. I just could no longer keep on seeing what I have been seeing around Keith for so long, and this, although you do not see it when you see Keith anywhere, simply because you do not see his people with him (except for Paul Freunlish, his publicist, who is always around him in interviews). So, since you and if you do not know what is REALLY going around Keith, please search for information and – once again – if you need more information on this matter (and not only my very own case, we are many!), please ask Trigger to send you the whole story with all of what I wrote to him, on how Keith’s fans (and I repeat – not only me!) are being treated by his people. When he ends his interviews, ALL his interviews, Keith always says “Be good to others”, there is a reason why he does that, believe me… Please do not reply to this anymore, I wish I could have replied to you privately, but I just could not. I wish you peace in your heart, you need it … immensely..about the way you write and treat others Jacqueline. Be kind to others, and please threat others like you want to be treated. You don’t know me, I may be one of his former fans who is in a wheelchair, and I may be one fan who is dying… You just do NOT know. So change your way and be kind to others, and others will be kind to you ! THE END.
May 19, 2016 @ 6:04 am
UPDATE:THURSDAY – MAY 18th – 2016
Keith is at number one in this week’s (his first week there) in the COUNTRY album chart on Billboard. You see that country is not country at all anymore? There’s nothing country on the CD (OK, you know that I will not hear the album, but I know!)( HERE:
THE STATE OF COUNTRY MUSIC TODAY –
SIMNPLY ONE WORD – DISGUSTING.
May 19, 2016 @ 7:57 am
Jacqueline, I said I left Keith as a fan in mid-June 2015, “Ripcord” was not released then. So you are mistaken about your allegation about me leaving him due to “Ripcord” being a non country CD. I refuse to listen to the Ripcord CD because I have nothing to do with Keith anymore, but everybody tells me that is it NOT a country CD, so these people are not all liers for sure, so I have to believe these people, and what they say. Keith has not done any real country in a long time…. No, I’m not a hypocrite, as you say I am .If you knew everything about Keith, you would then know why many fans are leaving him, and no, it is not only because of the music, in my case, the music had nothing to do with my leaving him as a fan at all…Please ask Trigger for my e-mail address, contact me, I’ll tell you with all the proofs needed and possible what you have to know in order to stop pretending this, and pretending that about – in this matter – my leaving him as a fan. . I will be more than happy to let you know what you need to know. We have to continue this discussion privately Jacqueline, and not here. I’ll be waiting to hear from you privately. I have to put an end to this with you, kindly and privately. Thanks, Sylvie.
May 19, 2016 @ 10:46 am
Sylvie, when I have misunderstood something and I am wrong I say so. I did not understand fully what this blog was exactly about until I went back and read the whole thing from beginning to the end. And NO RIPCORD is not a COUNTRY CD. I have always felt that Keith urbans music was more contemporary and could be a little country but not the so called old time country like the great JOHNNY CASH. I have nothing more to add to this, but remember something that I think is true. If no one was ever brave enough to think outside of the box so to say, we would all be exactly the same. Everything changes with time, but it is up to the individual to decide his or hers likes or dislikes.I have a vast admiration for many types of music and can listen to Keith urban, and then Led Zeppelin to Elvis Presley. So I do not belong on this blog anyway. I just wanted to make clear that I now understand what this blog is about, while before I did not and my intentions were noble. I hope no offense was taken by any of you because it was not ment to be that way. So, goodbye and everyone enjoy whatever kind of music makes you happy and smile. After all isn’t that why we are so passionate about it?
May 19, 2016 @ 11:05 am
Dear Sylvie, I just finished reading your blog to me and I do very much agree with everything that you said about country music today. That it is not country at all. I do not know what to call it. But like I said I am really not a fan of country music. Years ago I saw Keith on CMT and liked Raining On Sunday,and I thought to myself what is he doing on CMT? He is not country.Scince then I have bought every CD and did enjoy them. I was excited when Ripcord finally came out but when I listened to it I thought what is this? To tell you the truth Sylvie, I do not like it. Is it techno music or what?
May 19, 2016 @ 1:23 pm
Just like you Sylvie this is my last reply to you also. It is your choice to read it or disregard it. No disrespect was ment to you first of all. As I do not know you or anything about your life the same goes for myself. I am by far not a mean heartless person. I have always tried to be kind to people and help them if I could in any possible way. All of this negative energy is very silly Scince we are basically at each other’s throats over something that means absolutely nothing compared to what is going on in the world. Hate destroys and kills your soul. Love and kindness and understanding heals, even a broken heart.i treat the people in my life the way that I wish to be treated. That being, with respect. I overreacted to your words that were not spoken but typed on a key board. This is not real life Sylvie. I do apologize for any unkind and disrespectful words that were aimed at you. There really is nothing more that needs or has to be said between you and I. I wish you joy, happiness, and love. One point I do want to make is that women should unite and not argue over things that we have no control over. Life is very short and we should spend our journey here trying to be compassionate to each other. You have given the impression to the people on this blog that I am a terrible person. Nothing is farther from the truth. Haven’t you ever said something in the heat of the moment and then wished that you haden’t said it? That is what happened here. The only difference is that we do not know one another and it was not said in person face to face, but like I said on a key board. So why don’t we forget this mess and be adults and put it away,the last chapter was read, and the book is over. Whatever you do in your world I hope makes you content and happy. That’s all I can say to try and mend this situation. GOD BLESS YOU SYLVIE.
May 19, 2016 @ 2:09 pm
Thanks for your kinder words. ‘Glad to see that you finally agree on the type of music that it is not. But anyone can like a CD or not. To each his own. Just do not call it what it’s not Sylvie..
May 20, 2016 @ 9:43 pm
Do you think Keith knows how evil his “people” are?
And I’m not even sure I really want to know…
May 21, 2016 @ 6:43 am
Abby, Yes, he does. Sylvie. Abby, if you were the one who was in a wheelchair, or dying,etc… and laughed at by professionals, anyone’s people, maybe then, you would not like it neither. But if you are under contract with bad people, there is nothing you can do. WILL THIS POST EVER END ??? EVERYONE, Please ask Trigger for my e-mail address and e-mail me PRIVATELY if you need information on this matter, or on anything else. Please stop posting replies, I really do not want to see posts on this anymore. Sylvie. i will reply to everyone, but privately..please!!! STOP POSTING TO WHAT I HAVE WRITTEN BEFORE ! E-mail me instead ! Thanks. Sylvie.
June 2, 2016 @ 4:21 pm
I have something to say about Keith’s song that is on Ripcord. I am talking about “Wasted Time”. The song is not about doing nothing Trigger. I do not know how old you are, but most of us that are around Keith’s age I am sure can relate to it. It is about being young and carefree. Didn’t you ever get together with your friends as a teenager and ride around in whoever had a car at the time and just have fun? I know that I did, and it was not a negative thing to be doing. And where the lyric “ain’t it funny how the best days of my life were all that Wasted Time” Keith is not saying as you put it “doing shit” was good, and o.k. He is reminiscing about the time in his life before all of life’s big responsibilities started. I too think of my own Wasted Time, and it is good to remember all of your friends that are still alive and those who are not.I am 53 years old and I did have THE GUNS on the radio singing SWEET CHILD OF MINE. It does not matter to me that this CD is not COUNTRY, because like I said in a different Reply, I do not belong on this BLOG, but there is so much “making fun” if you will about Keith and this CD. Who knows, mabey this is where Country Music is heading to. By that I mean CHANGING. I wonder what you think of Flordia Georgia Line? Now not to be so called making fun, but those guy’s are a JOKE,and a bad one at that. In life everything changes. People and culture changes and I think that is why wether we like it or not it is inevitable. Good old fashioned Rock Bands do not exist anymore, so my solution is listening to the BEST ROCK BAND that ever existed, and that would be LED ZEPPELIN. Their music still continues to thrive, and let’s face it, JIMMY PAGE is the best guitarist there ever was and ever will be. My POINT is that I think just mabey Keith Urban may be the first artist to take the risk and leave the old time country music by the side of the road, and more country artists will be following in his footsteps. So mabey you should get ready for a new type of country, or if you do not like it, listen to the OLD STUFF. I just felt I wanted to put this out there. But no matter what Keith puts out, I will listen to it and continue to be in awe of him.
June 23, 2016 @ 9:41 am
Dear Jacqueline, This blog is about real country music. If you like modern country , I’m sure that there are many blogs about modern country out there. Thanks for mentionning that you do not belong as a regular to this Blog. This blog is about traditional country music.
Google for modern country Blogs, you will surely find what you are looking for there, if you do not like for THIS Blog to be about Traditional country.
Old stuff? Ummm… Chris Stapleton, Brandy Clark (my very favourite performer at the moment!) etc.. are current artists doing Traditional country. NEW stuff…
I thought you were over and done with replying to my posts???
August 11, 2016 @ 2:20 pm
What I like about him the most is that he does not care what you call his music. He is making what ever the h-e- double hockey sticks he wants to. I’m a Texas girl brought up on George, Reba and Willie. But I like what ever moves me. So I prefer to listen to his songs when watching him sing them. He adds something to them. He is amazing. He has magic when he plays that guitar. I could watch him all day. He puts his heart into every song he sings. have you watched the YouTube video of him performing habit of you. Man alive I don’t care what you call it , it could melt an authentic Eskimo igloo to a puddle in 2 seconds. For the record ,I hate bro country. I can’t even listen to main stream music on the radio. I love John Anderson and George Jones and Johnny Cash is the best! But I can also listen to James Town Revival. Listen to what helps that stress melt off you. Not caring what some one else thinks of your music that’s country!
August 19, 2016 @ 9:09 pm
You people suck! And you’re also idiots! This is the best album Keith Urban has had since Golden Road! I don’t think we’re listening to the same album. And yes, I’m old enough to say album! I remember records! And …GASP…I still love Keith Urban! I love these songs! WTF is wrong with you?
This article has done more to endear Urban to his fans that anything you could have written. But then, maybe that was the purpose?
October 1, 2016 @ 10:40 am
Best Keith Urban song for me has to be “But for the grace of God”. Strong lyrics, great instruments.
December 9, 2016 @ 8:07 pm
Well my wife is in love with him and she took her sister to see him and they both came home very happy. Now Ripcord is playing regularly and I haven’t had to put on my Boses yet, most of it is bearable and a couple of songs really hit the mark.
December 11, 2016 @ 1:18 pm
Wow, what a bunch of bull. So much anger and disrespect.
Just because you disagree with his music. He has had some good songs.
And what is it with all these books being written on this site. Kiss principle should apply.
January 10, 2017 @ 11:17 am
I bought the album, and this guy has a shitload of talent. I’m glad he uses it to make country music. For those that don’t like him, begone. For those that do, I agree with you.
I thought this review was written by someone who already didn’t like him. I’m pretty open to music, and have loved many genres across many decades. Keith Urban is an awesome live show, puts out great studio music, is kind and is generous. I want more like him, not less.