Keith Urban's new single, "Wasted Time," is making its debut to rave reviews. Rolling Stone is calling it "three minutes and 41 seconds of sheer exhilaration."
Urban's newest track is part of his upcoming album, Ripcord. Due out May 6, the collection already boasts of two chart-topping singles, "Break On Me" and "John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16."Urban co-wrote "Wasted Time" with Greg Wells and JHart, in his first time collaborating with the two writers.
Greg Wells is a Canadian producer, now relocated to L.A. His resume reads something like the guest list at the Grammy awards. He has helped create songs for Katy Perry, Adele, Pink, Twenty One Pilots, and a host of others. The Police's Stewart Copeland once referred to Wells as "the Swiss Army knife" for his many varied talents. Wells told American Songwriter that creating a hit song is a lot harder than it seems.
"You're confined by this very limited format. A three-and-a-half minute pop song is a very tiny little box to fit a story into. Nobody really realizes, until you try to do it yourself, how hard it is to make something that's really great."James Abrehart, or JHart, is a British American musician quickly gaining notoriety as one of the country's top young writers. He has created pop hits for the likes of Justin Beiber, Cee Lo Green, and Usher. According to Songwriting Magazine, in 2013 he was awarded the coveted Vilcek Prize for Creative Promise In Contemporary Music.
A couple days in the studio with James Abrahart and Greg Wells was anything BUT "wasted time" - KU pic.twitter.com/PAgtnn0ahuThe influence of Wells and Abrehart is obvious in this tune, which Taste of Country described as, "Just enough banjo to keep it from being called pop.
— Keith Urban (@KeithUrban) March 28, 2016
"Without a doubt it's the most genre-bending single from this new album and all indicators are that it's a better representative of what's to come."Although the synthesizer base blurs the lines, Urban describes the inspiration as all country.
"J suggested the title and before we knew it, we were talking about growing up and all the things you do... no matter where you are in the world. And the song just took off from there."
???? Have you heard #KeithUrban's brand new single #WastedTime - we're instant fans???? You've gotta listen! https://t.co/TxvXIMkyCpDescribed as "experimental," the Ripcord album is stretching the envelope for Urban. It is his ninth studio album, and he said, "This is way more than I've ever cut before....When you get to work with as many people as I did, you end up with a lot of stuff."
— Country Voice (@Country_Voice) March 29, 2016
— Dish Nation (@DishNation) April 1, 2016
One of the "many people" Urban was referring to is funk legend Niles Rodgers. Urban described the collaboration to Music Times.
"I sort of like the unknowingness of it. I get in the studio and don't know what we're gonna do, and that can be enlightening and sort of revelatory, or it can be incredibly frustrating."
Rodgers said that the new album Ripcord would be charting the "EDM-Country" waters. So far that appears to be true, because Urban invited Pitbull to join him, and even included bit of rap on another single, "Sun Don't Let Me Down."
"He brings a mischievous, sexy swagger to it, in a very different way."
.@KeithUrban duets w/ @pitbull and talks who inspired #SunDontLetMeDown w/ @thebootdotcom https://t.co/HXqi2LE1Xd pic.twitter.com/VXHEWc69GH— My Country Nation (@MyCountryNation) March 29, 2016Urban added that "Sun Don't Let Me Down" gives a nod to his wife, Nicole Kidman.
"She's in a movie called To Die For and in one scene she's dancing in front of the headlights. So the lyric goes: 'There in the headlights, dancing like she's in a movie scene. To die for, and she's killing me.'"
Urban will perform "Wasted Time" on American Idol this Thursday, March 31, on Fox.
[Photo via Debby Wong/Shutterstock]