About ten years ago, what I would call “soccer mom country” ruled the country airwaves. It was all light and friendly pop country that all of the middle-aged mother types would fawn over. The worst of this type of music you could pretty easily ignore and at most roll your eyes at it. The artists I always think of when it comes to this era of country music is Rascal Flatts and Keith Urban, as they made themselves stars on this type of music. Fast-forward to today and they’re not exactly on top anymore. Sure Rascal Flatts is currently on its way to a #1 song thanks to the flawed system of country radio, but does anyone care? Urban has done a better job, but it’s his dedicated fan base and a gig on American Idol that has kept him in people’s minds. It’s been three years since his last album Fuse, so many of his fans have been eager for new music. He’s now releasing the third single from his new upcoming album Ripcord (due out May 6 via Capitol Records), “Wasted Time.”
First off it’s pretty strange to see a country artist release their third single from an album before it’s even released. Normally it’s just one or on the oft occasion two singles before an album release. But I can’t recall in recent memory another country artist doing this. Nevertheless after the first two singles, “John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16” and “Break On Me,” I wasn’t very confident about this song being any better. After listening to it, my premonitions were correct. “Wasted Time” actually manages to be worse. Right away you hear a pop-y, dance beat and you know you’re about to hear something bad. The song maintains this sound throughout, with the exception being a banjo popping up at times. The bridge features a nice banjo solo, but it feels so token and short-lived that it really doesn’t matter. The song itself is a lot more boring than the instrumentation. It’s about feeling nostalgic about summer nights spent with friends back in the day and realizing how great this “wasted time” was to the person. This is the type of shallow theme that can hook the casual listener because this type of song has been done to death by country radio in the last five years.
After listening to this song, I can say it got one thing spot-on and that’s the title. I feel like I wasted my time listening to it. “Wasted Time” is one of the laziest summer songs I’ve seen churned out by a country artist. It pretty much relies solely on the soaring melody to hook people in because the songwriters (Greg Wells and James Abrahart) didn’t do anything to make the song itself memorable. More than anything “Wasted Time” confirms my theory that Urban is genre confused. He’s certainly not trying to be country, as he’s chasing every other genre. Fun fact: Pitbull is going to make an appearance on his new album. Yeah that’s just what I wanted; more Pitbull in my life is just great. I really enjoyed that last Pitbull country collaboration I reviewed. Keith Urban has talent, but unfortunately it isn’t on display here. “Wasted Time” is exactly what it says it is.