Album versus Album: Keith Urban

Pitting old-school Keith against new-wave Urban

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

By: Courtney Miller

Graffiti U (2018)

In a word? Boring.

      Honestly, I hoped for better. The album doesn’t open strongly, despite a feature from Julia Michaels; “Coming Home” has too much string-bending from the guitars to be truly pleasurable. The album feels a little lost, like Urban isn’t sure what makes music sound good. “My Wave” is the title of two songs on this album, and I would have cut both. There are brief moments of almost-palatability, but overall, it’s a miss. Don’t even get me started on the problematic lyrics relating to sexual politics in songs like “Female,” “Gemini,” and “Drop Top.”

Golden Road (2002)

In a word? Bless.

      Maybe it’s just because of the wave of nostalgia, but this album still holds its own. It’s not trying to mix in EDM or club music elements, and it’s not trying so hard to be different only to fall short and fail. No, this album is country pop, and it owns that. It’s basically a collection of bops that doesn’t get tired or monotonous — it’s just a fun time with some slick banjo, soulful bass, and some of Urban’s best guitar riffs.

Verdict

Keith Urban can still handle a guitar like a boss, but he’s lost these days. While some songs on Graffiti U start off sounding promising, they can’t deliver. Reminisce with Golden Road instead so that you don’t hate yourself.