Growing up in the Queensland town of Caboolture, Keith Urban’s musical education consisted of his dad’s traditional country albums and Top 40 radio. The latter’s influence on his music has become more pronounced over the years, as his ninth studio album attests. “Sun Don’t Let Me Down”, for example, may feature upbeat banjo but it also boasts typically funky guitar from Chic legend Nile Rodgers and, even less predictably, a rap courtesy of Pitbull. “Blue Ain’t Your Color” features programmed drums, while creeping electronic pulses form the foundation of “Your Body”, and “The Fighter”—a song inspired by the early days of Urban’s marriage to Nicole Kidman, with Carrie Underwood on vocals—incorporates sampled drums and melodic stabs of synth. The album’s lyrical content isn’t quite as progressive, with tried-and-true country themes such as coming of age (“Boy Gets a Truck”), being an emotional rock for a friend (“Break on Me”) and reminiscing about the simplicity of youth (“Wasted Time”) taking centre stage. That such a diverse record still feels cohesive and true to Urban’s country background is a testament to his artistry.

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