Keith Urban’s ‘Say Something’ Reflects His Own Journey to Emotional Openness
Keith Urban's father wasn't one to express his emotions. In his childhood home, the country superstar admits, conversations about feelings were not often had.
"I was raised in a house with a dad that was always like, 'Shhh. Don't rock the boat. Don't talk about anything; say [it] in your music,'" Urban shares in a conversation about his new album, The Speed of Now Part 1. "And there's a lot of truth in that ... but there are times when we should be speaking up and saying something ..."
"We didn't talk about anything," Urban continues, "... and there was so many times we should have said something."
"Say Something," one of 15 tracks on Urban's latest effort, finds Urban at that crossroads. The lyrics reflect on how his father's mindset affected him ("When I get close, I close up / Intimacy’s so hard for me, and I get stuck") and profess — through song, just as his dad would have suggested — "I don’t wanna be like my father was / Scared to rock the boat, never speaking up / I wanna live my truths wide open."
Officially, Urban co-wrote "Say Something" with Lindy Robbins, Scott Quinn, Jeppe Bilsby, Mitch Hansen, Brandyn Burnette and Celine Svanbäck. By the time Urban heard the song, it had a melody and most of a first verse, which Robbins wrote from her own life, about a belief in fighting for what's right and leaving the world a little better than you found it.
In its finished form, the song delivers a timely message about learning from the generation before you — both their rights and their wrongs — and standing up for what you believe in. "I’m waking up to the power of words and the weight of love / And, yes, I know words ain’t enough / But when the silence becomes so dangerous / We gotta / Say something, say something, say something, say something / Say it loud, say it loud now," a bridge and chorus professes after each verse.
As he himself has "woken up to the power of words," Urban says he's learned that the most important thing he can do is, just as the song says, live and express his truth.
"My dad didn't really live his truth to the fullest extent that I know he wished he could have — a product of his own raising. And I didn't want to be like that," Urban reflects. "And I'm learning a lot about that in my family now."