Keith Urban has always walked close to the line of country, pop, and rock, and because of that (and his mad guitar skills) he has always appealed to me. His first single "Little Bit Of Everything" from Fuse seems very fitting because that's exactly what you'll hear throughout the album.
He pushes his creativity and artistic talent like never before. He brought in eight producers to shake up his sound, but fans should not fear. There are plenty of guitar rifts and banjo sounds that are uniquely his. The first track "Somewhere In My Car" reassures you right away. The first thing you hear is a banjo and a "mmm-mmm" from Keith. It's the closest song to an Urban traditional song that you'll find, but it has some tweaks too - heavier guitars (some of which have a wah-wah) and a staccato chorus.
Cars are a recurring theme as he sings about falling in love in the backseat of a "Cop Car." You wouldn't think that lyrics like "You were stealing my heart. I fell in love in the back of a cop car" would work, but they do. "Red Camaro" completes the car song trifecta about a hot girl in a hot car. "You got them cowgirl boots on / That summer dress blowin' / Girl, there ain't nothin' bout you that / Don't get to me and you know it." With a strong sturdy beat, it's sure to be a summer hit.
My favorite songs are the two duets. "We Were Us" with Miranda Lambert starts with her on the intro verse, and then their voices blend magically on the chorus. They have some of the best lyrics on this song about a small-town lover who's now gone. "Shotgun sunset / A cool mint kiss / Backseat promise / Breaking it / Floorboard feeling / County lines / God, I miss when you were mine." He also pairs with Eric Church on "Raise 'Em Up." It's an anthem-type song that lists off things that can be raised up in good times: a lighter at a rock concert, sails on a boat, hands in a various situations, umbrellas in the rain, little babies, the stars and stripes, tear filled eyes, and even your voice. Both songs are perfect collaborations.
Another great track is "Shame" which lists all of the mistakes he's made and people he's hurt in his life. “Promises I made and bills I never paid / Another missed birthday / Shame on me, shame on me / Bridges that I burned and lovers that I hurt / Lessons never learned /Shame on me shame on me.” I think his vocals sound the best on this song. The last song I'll mention is "Good Thing" because it is so different. It has this thumping beat throughout, cool rock guitar rifts, and doesn't sound country at all... but I still love it. It's addictive and worth mentioning. Check it out.
There's been a lot of criticism lately on the current sound of country music.... too much production and not enough old school twang. I personally like the stretches and risks that country artists are taking these days, and Fuse is a great example of how it can work.