Keith Urban’s new album is ‘Ripcord.’ It’s the eighth studio album from the veteran country music star and his most diverse, encompassing a variety of genres. Now the critics are having their say and you can see a roundup of reviews right here.

Keith Urban

Photo: Keith Urban
Credit: PR Photos

As his tenure as a judge on ‘American Idol’ comes to an end, and as the iconic series itself has ended, Keith Urban returns with a new album ‘Ripcord’ and a new tour of the same name set to kick off. After years now of being with the panel of judges alongside Jennifer Lopez and Harry Connick Jr. in the post-Simon Cowell era of the show, he’s resuming his music career full force.

‘Ripcord’ is the multi-Grammy winner’s first album since ‘Fuse’ of 2013. The album is getting much buzz for the collaborations, which are outside of the Nashville sphere, and include the likes of rapper Pitbull and funk legend Nile Rodgers, formerly of Chic who are both heard on the track, “Sun Don’t Let Me Down.”

As a longtime country music traditionalist there’s always a risk in such experimentation, but with seven studio albums to his credit, it’s clear that Urban is ready to branch out.

This time around, he also serves as co-producer and works alongside no less than nine producers. In an interview with Rolling Stone, Keith Urban opened up about the new album which, due to his schedule and that of his wife, the Oscar-winning actress Nicole Kidman, was quite literally recorded all over the world.

In reflecting upon the making of the album, he said, “I remember Don Williams saying, ‘It’s about the frame.” Elaborating, he added, “The song is the picture, and the record is the frame. You’ve got to put no more, no less of a frame around that picture and let the picture be everything.”

As for the diversity and working alongside nine different producers, Urban told Billboard, “I just felt that I was at the point where I wanted to reach out to some different collaborators in the studio — people I really love — and get some more colors on the record.”

He went on to draw an analogy, to clarify, saying, “I think that any sports person will talk about working with different coaches and how one will bring something different out of an athlete.”

As the new album arrives the music critics are weighing in on his forays into other genres. Here’s a roundup of what’s being said.

“….. At the same time, his outreach mirrors the general expansion of country which, over the last few years, has integrated increasing amounts of hip-hop, metal, and more. That’s the good news. On the other hand, Urban’s new inclusiveness did nothing to deepen the emotion in his voice, redeem the sentimentalism of his lyrics, or vary his blandly fraternal persona…..” –Entertainment Weekly

“…Overall a diverse release, Ripcord has much to offer listeners. Whether it’s slick beats, guitar slinging or vivid storytelling, Urban’s eighth effort launches the singer into uncharted territory exemplifying exactly why he is one of the most highly regarded talents within the genre……” –Sounds Like Nashville

“….An experimental approach is commendable for a veteran artist. Despite the uneven results, Ripcord pays off more often than not….” — Gulf News

“….Never grow up, never grow old” and “Life is short, so I’m livin’ it up” appears to be the philosophy embraced by “American Idol” judge/hit machine Keith Urban on his excellent new album, a 13-song collection of well-written, well-played country pop gems. ….” — Boston Herald

“…. The production by Urban and Jonny Price keeps in all the emotion of his delivery — the breaks in his voice, the quivers of emotion and the way he catches his breath during the tough parts. It’s brilliant and shows Urban at the top of his game. ….” — Newsday

“….Urban proves to be a deft pop artist, and his deviation from country music isn’t one to mourn. But the new direction does seem to distract attention from his guitar wizardry, which too often is buried or forgotten in the electronic din….” — Milwaukee Journal-Sentinal

The veteran country music star is back and revealing more versatility and musical exploration than ever and critics clearly are mostly applauding. We’ll soon find out if the fans follow suit in embracing his new sounds and sensibility. And in the meantime you can see music videos, plus Keith Urban’s ‘Ripcord’ album cover art below!