The deep mind of Keith Urban is that of an unhinged, masterful artist. For this Australian, he expresses what makes his music both profound and intimate while sounding current. In his 11th studio album, Urban shows that he’s never content with his artistry and looks to expand it. The Speed of Now Part 1 features the Nashville guitarist at his ethereal peak with a signature roots rock sound. But joining him are the likes of pop vocalist sensation P!nk and the viral rapper Breland.
The combining of all three artists has created a blurred mixture of roots vibes and electronic beats that brings out true artistry. A philosphy that Urban has embraced after being aware that his art couldn’t be contained within one genre and instead must be expanded. The result: an unapologetic ode to artists who look to escape the confines of being labelled forever.
The album wastes no time to showcase its featured artists in back-to-back songs. “Out the cage” introduces the kinetic funk of Niles Rodgers’ guitar and the hot dance beats of Breland. Both sounds and styles synchronize flawlessly with Urban’s craftsman-like guitar work. The artist expands his singing repertoire in the track with fans learning that the guitarsmith can rap. His syncopated style and clear enunciation drive the quick rhythm for a pedal-to-the metal ride. This is all but a taste for what’s to come as Urban breaks down barriers for the following tracks.
After a fast-paced ride, Urban eases up on the gas pedal and puts it in cruise for the duet “One too Many” with P!nk. In explaining his admiration for her, Urban has said, “I’ve always loved P!nk’s voice, but her artistry and multi-faceted ability to create, and her God-given talent, truly makes her one of the greatest voices in our time.” This description made the pop artist the best choice to work with Urban and create his artistic direction. His soft guitar strumming and P!ink’s powerful vocals make the pop vibes memorable. The track features a somber but uplifting melody as the singers tell a story of a couple’s night out drinking around town.
Urban doesn’t slow down his creativity as he leaves a little something for all listeners to enjoy. The prolific songwriter humbly remembers his roots as he rocks out to “Tumbleweed”. The high energy and lightning-fast banjo-guitar duo make up what’s been his signature sound. Urban’s slick production and in-your-face vocal delivery, while being effortlessly cool, shape the track. This expression has defined his career and is able to fluidly stream into a new avenue while shredding along with a Stratocaster.
But of all the upbeat electronics and roots rock partying, Urban decides to bring it a near finish with just him and his acoustic. Country music and roots fans can recall Urban’s latest radio hit “God Whispered Your Name” instantly. The track itself was meant to be a stand-alone song until finding its spot on the album. But its diversity makes it inseparable as it completes Urban’s goal for a dynamic work of art. The songwriter opens his heart and soul as he strums over a time where he felt “lost and lonely” until finding true love.
While it’s been a year of confusing times and hardship, Urban continues to inspire and perform. His testament of a drive-in show for healthcare workers and wave breaking album is profound artistry. As the Nashville star shows that he’s not confined to one sound or genre, he expresses optimistic change for the new year. A prolific breath of fresh air and awe-inducing style entertain listeners as Urban patiently anticipates the day to perform live concerts in the future.
Written by Trenton Luber