Keith Urban Reflects On Late-Night Longings And Heartbreak In New Single, ‘Messed Up As Me’

Urban is giving fans another taste of what’s to come on his next album with this new release.

By

Madeleine O’Connell

| Posted on

March 1, 2024

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Keith Urban; Photo by Daniel Prakopcyk

Keith Urban has dropped his newest single, “Messed Up As Me,” in preparation for his forthcoming album which has yet to be named.

What Is “Messed Up As Me” About?

Penned by Jessie Jo Dillon, Shane McAnally, Rodney Clawson, and Michael Lotten, the fresh tune finds Urban grappling with the ups and downs of a dysfunctional relationship that keeps pulling him back in, despite being fully aware of the pain that his actions will bring on. The country-rocker puts an authentic display of heartbreak on full blast as he draws from the experiences of his past to immerse himself in the story he’s telling.

“I can relate to that, where there’s only one good thing going on. I’ve had these relationships,” Urban told Country Now and other outlets. “There’s only one part of the relationship that is amazing and all the rest is complete chaos, dysfunction, toxicity, but that one thing is pretty good. So, you keep coming back to it. That’s really the center of ‘Messed Up As Me.’”

Keith Urban - Messed Up As Me
Keith Urban – Messed Up As Me

“As messed up as me/ And all alone / And all of your friends have all gone home/ And you hate that the truth/ Is nobody leaves your head and your heart and your bed and your sheets/ As messed up as me/ As messed up as me,” Urban sings on the chorus. 

Keith Urban Explains The Sound Of “Messed Up As Me”

The song, produced by Urban with longtime co-producer Dann Huff, opens with the delicate plucks of an acoustic guitar paired with the nostalgia of a slight vinyl static. This creative touch allowed Urban to add what he calls “texture” to his work, thus creating a good atmosphere for the remainder of the listening experience. 

“There was a soulfulness about it that I really liked that I wanted to just leave in,” he explained of the unique element. “It was there early on, as a texture, and I really like it. I love textures in songs – Atmospheric textures, instrument textures – so that when you hear a song 50 times, my hope is that somewhere around that 50th time you still find something that you didn’t hear the first time.”

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“Messed Up As Me” follows Urban’s last release, “Straight Line,” which offers a completely different perspective both sonically and lyrically as it hones in on the importance of having hope even in the moments that make it impossible to believe better days are on the horizon. Both of these new songs are set to appear on Keith Urban’s next full-length project. 

New Album In The Works

“I just love the spirit of it and I think if anybody’s seen us play live, this song for me captures a lot of that feeling of what I’m trying to create in the room that we’re playing in, the feeling I want people to have,” Urban said while reflecting on “Straight Line.” “It seemed like a perfect first song, and then ‘Messed Up As Me’ is almost a 180 from that. So that was intentional with two songs that they already show that there’s a lot of things on this whole album.”

As the Australian singer/songwriter explained, the sequence of this album was carefully thought out over the course of this creative process. Urban admitted he faced plenty of challenges along the way to making this record, but it was all worth it in the end because he can proudly say he feels “one hundred percent in” on the songs he’s chosen this time around. 

Keith Urban; Photo by Andrew Wendowski, Music Mayhem
Keith Urban; Photo by Andrew Wendowski, Music Mayhem

“It’s always a feeling for me with songs. I mean, I have to know the guy in the song and I can relate to it top to bottom. That’s really it for me. So this whole album was that same kind of process of writing songs and putting them together to form a whole album that I had to be a hundred percent with it.”

He Finished An Album Then Started Over

He went on to explain that he had worked hard on building a collection of songs for most of the year before realizing that the final product didn’t have that “feeling” he was looking for. So instead of moving forward, he let the songs speak for themselves and in doing so learned which tunes belonged on this next work and which needed to be held had for a future collection. 

“It was in February last year, and I brought the whole album in finished and I could feel as I was playing it, that it wasn’t the album…the vision I had for the album, it was almost like some of the songs started to tell me that there’s another record. ‘We’re part of that record, take us with you, get back in the studio, get back to writing, and finish the album that we’re a part of. We’re not on this record,’” he shared. “And ‘Messed Up Is Me’ is one of those songs, for example. But ‘Straight Line,’ the first thing off this record was one of the new ones. It’s never actually happened to me before where literally the songs told me where they wanted to go and what kind of album they wanted to be a part of.”

Keith Urban; Photo by John Shearer
Keith Urban; Photo by John Shearer

As a result of having to add and subtract songs from the album, Urban ended up with only 11 tracks that play for a total of 40 minutes from start to end.

He Has A Duet With Another Artist On The Project

While the name of the album has yet to be revealed, Urban did hint that it will be a one-word title that sums up “the whole spirit and energy of the record” and accurately captures the current chapter of his life. Additionally, the “One Too Many” singer shared that one of the 11 tracks will be a duet with an artist who he also has yet to disclose. 

“If you listen to the album, if you go on a road trip and you put this thing in and you hit play and you go through it, sequentially, it should feel like you were at a concert, hopefully. From a dynamic standpoint and the ebbs and flows and the themes that are sometimes frivolous cheeseburgers and then other days it’s like a full on steak and then the next day it’s something else…it hopefully covers all the styles. It’s hard to describe that. It’s like describing a color a little bit, particularly when it’s 11 songs…but I think if anybody’s seen us play live, they’re going to like this record. Fingers crossed.”

Keith Urban recently wrapped up his Las Vegas Residency and is now scheduled to play a slew of festivals throughout the year while planning his next tour. 

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Madeleine O’Connell graduated from North Central College with a bachelors degree in Journalism and Broadcast Communications before deciding to pursue her studies further at DePaul University. There, she earned her masters degree in Digital Communication & Media Arts. O’Connell served as a freelance writer for over two years while also interning with the Academy of Country Music, SiriusXM and Circle Media and assisting with Amazon Music’s Country Heat Weekly podcast. In addition to Country Now, she has been published in American Songwriter, Music Mayhem, and Holler.Country. Madeleine O’Connell is a member of the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music.