New Songs on Keith Urban’s ‘Graffiti U’ Are a Departure From ‘Ripcord’
Keith Urban debuted four new songs from his upcoming Graffiti U album, including one that could very well be a tribute to one of his heroes.
During a pop-up show at the Exit/In in Nashville on Wednesday (Jan. 17) Urban revealed "Steal My Thunder," "Same Heart," "Texas Time" and "Parallel Line" after letting fans know the album is nearly finished, but he still needs to cull the final track list (Translation: these songs could miss the cut). All four songs lacked the pop or EDM influences of some of the signature songs on Ripcord (2016). With the exception of a Peter Frampton-like guitar solo on "Texas Time" the new music is quite organic.
Emily Weisband is one of three writers on "Steal My Thunder," a sexy mid-tempo love song that finds Urban playing acoustic as he sings, "In every room it's all eyes on you / But I don't mind / You can steal my thunder anytime." Melodically the new song is similar to "Gettin' in the Way," an album cut from Ripcord.
"Same Heart" is a classic Urban breakup song that's sure to rival "You'll Think of Me." By and large Ripcord was an optimistic album, so it will be interesting to see if more heartbreak dominates the Graffiti U, release date unknown. Keys and wispy after-effects wrap this slow, pained performance.
Without a doubt "Texas Time" was the night's biggest surprise. The song is a pop-swinger that finds Urban singing about pretty girls and places to be in America before dropping lyrics about T-shirts and hot bodies (not his) and singing, "I'll show you where it's at / Let's get back to Texas Time."
An easy comparison to Don Williams' "Tulsa Time" can be made. Williams was one of Urban's heroes, and in addition to similar titles the two songs share similar themes and sounds. No one will accuse the 50-year-old of ripping off the late legend, but it's impossible to ignore the way both clip along to similar beat.
On Twitter Urban had been teasing a new song called "Parallel Line" for a Friday Australian release, and he got a head start on Wednesday night at the Exit/In. The jazzy ballad is a love song ("Baby it's time we put our hearts in a parallel line"), but most remarkable is how Urban showcases his vocals. He reaches for high notes you don't associate with his singing, and for the most part gets them.
Four songs (plus "Female") are but a third of an album, but it's enough to get a general idea of where he's headed as he tries once again to redefine himself. No one in country music is more capable of stretching the genre, and the singer seems to know it. It may be time to bring the format back to its roots, however. Graffiti U could be that album, which is a very pleasant surprise.
Watch Keith Urban's Best Guitar Solos