Pitbull, John Deere and some very hot “ganjo” playing come together on a popwise country party.
Not everyone wants to hear Pitbull shout “Mr. Worldwide!” in the middle of a country album. But the genially party-crazed Cuban rapper sounds right at home on the chirpy, margarita-doused “Sun Don’t Let Me Down,” assembled by disco great turned superproducer Nile Rodgers and pop-country trackmaster busbee. The rest of Keith Urban’s tenth studio album isn’t quite that audaciously pop, but it does commit to modern rhythms throughout, with Urban’s virtuoso picking on six-string banjo (or “ganjo”) locking in with steady basslines and ticking drum tracks to fuse the rootsy precision of bluegrass with the uplifting persistence of EDM. Nearly a year after its release as a single, the carefree “John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16” continues to ring out as more than the sum of its Americana references, and Urban’s delivery, passionate yet unassuming, renders several pledges of steadfast devotion just as convincing as the follow-up hit, “Break on Me.”