Album Review: Keith Urban - “Graffiti U”

Superstar builds on the expansive nature of “Fuse” and “Ripcord” with genre-bending follow up.

Keith Urban’s been on a creative streak unlike any other artist in country music, unafraid to collaborate with writers and artists from outside of the main country genre. In fact, the middle section of songs on Graffiti U come nearly exclusively from outside writers with four of the six tracks not written by Urban himself (though he did co-produce all but one track on the record). That one song? “Way Too Long,” an interesting and melodic torch ballad written by Nate Reuss (of fun.), Julia Michaels (who co-wrote a lot of this record) and producer Oscar Holder (who has written and produced hits like “Just Like Fire” for Pink and “Dancing With Our Hands Tied” with Taylor Swift. It feels like a big hit in waiting while “Horses” finds Urban co-producing with Matt Rad, who wrote the tune with well-known writers Mozella and Jamie Scott. "Horses" features Lindsay Ell, the breakout country singer while "Coming Home" features Julia Michaels (in a trendy pop/country star collaboration).

"Texas Time" features some guitars which feel more like fiddles at time while the percussive melody recalls "Tulsa Time" (and that's probably not accidental) and it's a song which will likely be a country radio staple by early 2019. "Parallel Line" is a ballad which feels like a cousin to Keith Urban's "Blue Ain't Your Color," a song which started the country/soul/pop ballad trend which is all the rage these days and it's something that leaves this song feeling ready to be a hit too. There are corny lyrics here and there on Graffiti U and while not every song works, I still commend Keith Urban for having the guts to expand his sound and creativity and it should allow him to continue to be one of country music's A listers.