Monday, May 9th, 2016

Keith Urban – Wasted Time

Song of the winter, for our friends in the southern hemisphere…


Alfred Soto: “Summer of ’69” with banjo and slower, plus an electronic sheen. He wants to sound urgent — hell, I want to sound urgent after loving the shit-hot banjo he injected into a Jason Derulo album track which also featured Stevie Wonder — but as usual with Keith Urban he puts the urgency into his guitar and his indolence into vocals.

Jonathan Bogart: The cool youth pastor puts his baseball cap on backwards and obliquely acknowledges that he’s had sex.

Cassy Gress: I hear somebody’s summer, but it’s not mine; it’s that “real American summer” (or Australian, I guess) of cutoff jean shorts and cans of beer and pickup trucks on dusty roads. The sky sounds a little bigger and bluer here than it usually does, though.

Brad Shoup: How good is it when you can sing along to a tune about singalongs? Urban rockets into the chorus with a freaky relish; Greg Wells adds a trailing hiss. The bridge is biffed — he implies a rhyme that ain’t there — but his banjo work rings like funky reveille.

Juana Giaimo: Keith Urban doesn’t seem to be so worried about the best days of his life being already in the past and decided instead to release an upbeat and even refreshing song thanks to the synths. But then a banjo solo appears. 

Scott Mildenhall: There’s theft, there’s homage and then there’s metatextuality. On one level “Wasted Time” may be barefacedly ripping off “Baba O’Riley”, but on another, barely perceptible one, it’s unpinning it. Banjo breakdowns break down the self-seriousness of Daltrey and co. in the most incisive musical music criticism since the Pet Shop Boys did U2, presenting wasteland as something cool to drive through, and wasted time as something to wish you still had. And did The Who have the foresight to rip off “I Want You” by Savage Garden as well?

Patrick St. Michel: I think there’s a decent banjo-pickin’ number buried under that electric sheen, but “Wasted Time” ultimately sounds like the Country Bear Jamboree in 4D.

Anthony Easton: Weirdly, one of the advantages of the recent R&B crossovers is that they are very carefully selected to work with the vocal skills of the artists, and they have a weird commitment to an almost underproduced quality. This is a complete failure, because Urban’s voice strains against the production, and the production itself has too much going on. When you listen to something like Thomas Rhett’s “Crash and Burn,” it might be a bit blasphemous that he uses Sam Cooke, but you know why he does, and he raids so well. This one doesn’t even have the elegance of slight blasphemy.

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