Single Review: Keith Urban, “John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16”

Keith Urban John Cougar John Deere John 3 16

“John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16”
Keith Urban

Written by Ross Copperman, Shane McAnally, and Josh Osborne

A Keith Urban record has a natural floor.  Things can only go south so much.

He’s got a great voice, he’s an incredible guitar player, and he’s got enough presence on record that it doesn’t really matter what’s going on around him.  He never loses control of the proceedings.

But I don’t really believe that he learned everything he needed to know from John Cougar, John Deere, and John 3:16.   Heck, even those cheesy Kindergarten posters are more believable.

It’s a pleasant enough record, but it’s hard to find deep meaning in a collection of Americana cliches, presented in list form.

Grade: C


  1. “Things can only go south so much”.

    Yeah, I really agree with that. Urban always sounds so in control and charismatic that it really doesn’t matter what he’s singing, it always sounds okay.

    That being said, I also agree that there really isn’t any meat to this, and that really frustrates me. What frustrates me the most though, is that he went totally synthetic here.

  2. I agree that Keith is a great vocalist and guitarist, but don’t agree with you about the song! I love it! I can relate to every reference he mentions in this song. Must be my age. I grew up in the 60’s and 70’s and very thankful I did. Can’t stand most of the music being released to radio these days…not much “meat” out there at all.

  3. That’s not even the entirety of what hurts this track, though.

    Though most of the name-drops are certainly related to previous decades, you abruptly get a Green Day song (“Boulevard of Broken Dreams”) namedropped of all things. Beyond that, you also get trademarks that remain culturally present including Texaco and Gibson guitars.

    What this all amounts to is another “American Kids”, albeit with more synthetic production. That is a pop cultural collage put to a rhythm. But mostly, it’s a song about nothing much like “Seinfeld” was supposedly a sow about nothing, for better or worse.

    This is about equal with “Little Bit of Everything” as his worst single to date, in my opinion. I can’t quite decide which one is worse. The production irritates me more in this offering, but lyrically “Little Bit of Everything” was more cringe-worthy at times than this. I’d give both singles a C-.

  4. I completely agree with Noah – this single is rubbish.

    I don’t know…KU seems to have lost his way a bit in trying so desperately not to keep making the same album again and again, which admittedly he was at risk of doing after the phoned-in “Get Closer”.

    What he does best are chugging rock-lite feel good tracks like “Better Half” and the ubiquitous “Somebody Like You”. That’s KU. He’s such a talented guitarist that to smother him in synthetic pop beatz like this is just wrong.

    And I just heard he’s working with Nile Rogers….Lord help us…

  5. At least Keith Urban has some good taste in favored collaborators (mostly).

    I’m skeptical about a Nile Rogers/Keith Urban pairing, but I really love much of Rogers’ discography. His recent renaissance has been fascinating to watch, and “Get Lucky” was one of m favorite hit singles of 2013.

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