Monday, May 3rd, 2021

Keith Urban ft. BRELAND and Nile Rodgers – Out The Cage

And they’re doing just fine…


Jeffrey Brister: I fully expected to hate this before I heard it. I was ready for some Jimmy Buffet/Jack Johnson pablum about drinking and the perils of guys bein’ dudes, maybe set to a funky disco beat courtesy of Nile Rodgers. What I got was a bog-standard anthem of defiance set against a dense, banjo-flecked, electronic wall of sound. There’s nothing groundbreaking here, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It’s got an infectious energy, and it’s incredibly propulsive. I’ll take this over Urban’s bargain-bin Butch Walker impression any day.

Alfred Soto: Tastier than the word salad of these names would suggest, “Out the Cage” maintains its dignity and momentum thanks, of course, to Nile Rodgers. Goodness knows it needs all three. “The cage” could mean COVID anxieties, marriage to Nicole Kidman, or the place where he keeps his cockatoo Sparky; it’s hard to know what Keith Urban means when his singing has the personality of borax. I wouldn’t change the station, though.

Katie Gill: Nile Rodgers did NOT want to fly all the way over to America for his music video cameo and honestly, can’t blame the man. The song’s an odd duck. It doesn’t need to be a collaboration, but I really like BRELAND and want that kid to succeed. Logically speaking, that banjo shouldn’t work. But when we can actually hear it, it’s one of my favorite parts of the song. Which brings me to my other point: why bring in Nile Rodgers if you’re going to bury him so deep in the mix that he’s not that audible? Who mixed this? Why did they make all the choices they did? And how can we convince them to make better choices?

Iain Mew: The logical extension of the disappearance of bands — you don’t even need Adam Levine for a Maroon 5 song. 

Katherine St Asaph: Observation: The closer to pop music country gets, the more it just sounds like ‘N Sync, with all the Y2K edginess (please note sarcasm) of No Strings Attached. There’s even competing BSB! Only works, probably, if you have a taste for bad nostalgia. Many people do.

Andrew Karpan: For some reason, Keith made a very big deal of taking credit for the EDM banjo riff, by far the record’s greatest accomplishment, but it has all the smarts of disco, though it allegedly occurs before Nile Rodgers himself ostensibly appears — at least in the clip; personally I found it a bit hard to tell which of the track’s four electric guitars he is being given top-billing for jamming on. But unfortunately, that’s four too many: all the ruthless clanging has the effect of largely muffling out country rap breakout Breland, who surely deserved more for emailing this over. His winning charisma and skillful vocals would have otherwise taken this cross-generational hoedown home, if it were any good. That banjo, though. That’s a good idea, somebody should do something with that.

Samson Savill de Jong: One of those songs that I’ve listened to a lot in an attempt to review it, not because I necessarily enjoy it but because I can’t figure out what I think. It’s good, I think? But then again I don’t think I’d ever want to purposefully listen to it. It’s certainly energetic, fast paced and uptempo to such an extent that the lyrics sometimes get a bit garbled and hard to parse. They seem to be about pandemic life, although that’s not what Keith Urban’s saying; apparently it’s about “liberation of all sorts“. BRELAND and Nile Rodgers are apparently on this song, although I had to watch the music video to see what bits BRELAND was contributing, as they don’t leave much of an impression. I suspect I might be confusing energetic with good, and thus trying to make myself like it because the energy subconsciously causes me to believe there’s something here. But for all that this feels like a song that should provoke strong feelings either way, I can’t really work up any, so it’ll ultimately have to land in the middle.

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