Keith Urban - ‘The Speed of Now Part 1’

One bright spot for my wife and mother-in-law during this pandemic is the arrival of a new Keith Urban album. They both have seen Urban perform over the years and always wait eagerly for new material from the country superstar.

Urban follows 2018’s “Graffiti U” by utilizing the extra time during quarantine to put the finishing touches on his 11th studio effort.

With “The Speed of Now Part 1,” Urban attempts to slow down the pace of everyday life and give others the opportunity to sit back and savor the latest tracks focused on loving with all your heart and living each day to its fullest.

“Out the Cage” opens the set with an urgency to get back to normalcy as Urban sings, “Don’t know just how long/But I’ve been trapped in here quite a while/Wonder if I’ll make it out/I miss my friends, I miss the sky/Feel like I just live to die/But that can’t be what life’s about.” Joined by Breland and Nile Rodgers, Urban immediately displays his knack for blending musical genres in an effort to produce his signature sound and crossover appeal.

“One Too Many” gives the traditional country tear-in-my-beer number a fresh pop vibrancy infused by Pink’s performance. Both artists possess voices that effortlessly extend beyond their musical categories as they deliver a modern tale of not realizing what you’ve got until you lose it.

“Superman”and “God Whispered Your Name” address the transforming power of love. The former is a jubilant arrangement that details the many experiences that left an instant impact on the heart as Urban declares, “When I was with you, baby, I was Superman/Yeah, we were sky high, there was nothing better.” The latter number is a tender confessional about being lost until love was unexpectedly found and changed things forever.

Sparked by Urban’s spirited guitar playing, “Live With” and “Tumbleweed” are perfect cruising anthems that relay the urge to roll down the windows, press on the gas pedal and sing out loud as the worries of the day yield to living in the moment.

“Polaroid” is a charming love song that is certain to be played at numerous future wedding receptions. Urban tugs at the heartstrings as he describes the beginnings of a blossoming relationship when he confesses, “The night it was taken, I didn't have a clue/That someday I'd be something more/Than just a boy in a Polaroid with you.”

With concerts halted until 2021, my wife and mother-in-law will have to patiently wait to see the 52-year-old singer-songwriter perform on stage again. For now, they can enjoy Urban at his very best and look forward to chapter two of his musical scrapbook.

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