Keith Urban and Nicole Kidman love Blood Orange, Lorde, and Yeezus

keith urban nicole kidman

Just as they did with Noel Gallagher a few weeks back, Rolling Stone recently caught up with country music superstar Keith Urban for a retrospective of the year in music. Turns he and his wife, Nicole Kidman, are avid listeners of indie and alternative music, and rank Blood Orange, Lorde, and Kanye West among their favorite releases of the year.

On Blood Orange’s Cupid Deluxe, which Urban considers his “favorite album of the year”…

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.

On Lorde and her debut album Pure Heroine

I got into Lorde way back, early on. 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.

On Justin Timberlake’s “Mirrors”, his favorite song of the year…

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 I like when songs can have a bit more ambiguity to them. It’s nice if the writer dishes out several different stories, all contradictory. That would be my preferred way: keep it all blurry, so I can take my own personal connection away.

On Yeezus

On that Jools Holland show, I saw Kanye. His performance was so mesmerizing because it was so bold and different from any type of art form. That combination of having pre-recorded music but then having the sharpness and bold aggressiveness – minimalism, conviction, singing blatantly through a vocoder and being unapologetic about it – the whole thing just reeked of “totally new art form”; not just a musical performance, but an entirely new art form. And that stuff just exhilarates me, because there’s endless new ways to make art, whether it’s music or whatever…

Lorde was the same, just fixated like a statue and all her witchy qualities. The fact that we can still see new art forms being born right before our eyes in the field of music, if you get jaded by that . . . I don’t understand how people can be anything but totally inspired by that . . . [Yeezus] was sonically riveting. That will get to me, that sort of just extremity, but with something underneath it, a view, conversation, message, dialogue, topics. I love the fact that they can be presented in such an unapologetic way. It’s what all great art is born of.

Anyone got Keith Urban’s phone number? We have a job for him.


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