Keith Urban Rolling Stone interview is musical journey through 2013
Stephen L. Betts
Keith Urban's 2013 album "Fuse" ranked among several best-of year-end lists, including Rolling Stone, so when the publication spoke to the country superstar, naturally, the subject of his favorite albums of the year came up.
"God, that's hard," Keith said when pressed to name just one album. "Some can enlighten the game, like the Blood Orange record ["Cupid Deluxe"], which has been played nonstop in my car for a week. My wife [Nicole Kidman] turned me onto it. She was shooting a film in England. It was happening there, so I downloaded it. I love electronic music. It's a lot of what I listen to, because I hear fusion sounds in my head that it draws from. I just love the atmosphere and ambience and the sort of emotive soundscapes that comes from a lot of that music. This album captured it in a way that I don't think anybody really did. It took the best of Frank Ocean and Prince and New Radicals. I can kind of hear so many of my favorite artists and albums all in one album. I just find it amazing. It sounds great in my car, driving around Nashville."
Keith also shared his love for a fellow Kiwi, 17-year-old Lorde, whose "Pure Heroine" album featured the smash pop hit, "Royals." "I got into Lorde way back, early on," says Keith. "She's from New Zealand, where I was born. I just found her magnetic on so many levels. She was on 'Letterman' and was really good. Then I saw her live at 'Later ... With Jools Holland.' She was even better. I didn't expect her to have that kind of performance ability necessarily at that age, and it was just riveting. She has a lot of artistic depth and gravitas for someone at that age. They aren't straight-up relationship songs in any way. It's a refreshing change to sort of have an artist talk about the circles she's in and the things she's going through. To write about those things is pretty extraordinary."
The singer-songwriter chose "Mirrors" by Justin Timberlake as his favorite song of 2013, noting, "It just hits some deep melancholy places in me -- the melodicism, the lyric. It's a special song. One moment he's dedicating it to his grandfather at the MTV Awards, then the next week he's turning around and saying it's about Jessica [Biel]. But I'm interested in my connection to it and what it means to me."
And when it came to country music in '13, Keith says he was right at the forefront of the year's biggest hit, Florida Georgia Line's "Cruise." "I loved it. I was one of the early people to tweet about it. The second you heard it, you're like, this is going to be a behemoth. Any songwriter who thinks you can write those songs, why didn't you? That's what I always say. They're really hard to write because they're magical."
Read the Rolling Stone interview here.