Friday’s in country music can only mean one thing, new album day! Keith Urban (Capitol Records Nashville) and Cole Swindell (Warner-Bros.-Warner Music Nashville) released full studio albums.

Keith Urban’s Ripcord is going to be the topic of conversation over the next few weeks across the country music world. Ripcord is Urban’s tenth studio album, and its unconventional styles are pushing the boundaries of country music. In fact, Ripcord may have pushed the boundaries so far that it is no longer country music. It is a lifestyle and a feeling that drives country music, not a true sound, but the themes displayed on Ripcord are not the same traditional values that most country songs share.

Seeing as today is the release date, only time will tell if Keith Urban’s decision to add synthesizers and heavy bass tones to Ripcord was the right choice. This album could very well be the benchmark for the future of the country genre, but if it blurs too many lines between country and pop, it may get lost in the shuffle.

Singles Already Released:

  • “Break On Me”
  • “Wasted Time”
  • “John Cougar, John Deere,  John 3:16”
  • Songs To Listen To:
  • “Habit of You”
  • “Boy Gets a Truck”
  • “Sun Don’t Let Me Down” feat. Pitbull and Nile Rodgers (this is only a song to listen to for the combination of of these three Titans of music)

Cole Swindell’s second studio album, You Should Be Here is a very safe play for the Georgia native. That being said, every song is right in his wheelhouse and he delivers a badass vocal performance on the album. The title track, “You Should Be Here,” spent sometime atop the Country AirPlay Charts, and the song itself held the title of No. 1. There is no word on what Swindell’s next single will be, but rumors say it will be “Middle of a Memory” because it follows along to all of the country trends that have come before it so far in 2016.

Although You Should Be Here is an incredibly safe play, Swindell absolutely KILLED IT. This album has every right to be in the same category as Luke Bryan’s Tailgates and Tanlines, which produced four No. 1 hit singles and is one of the top grossing country albums of the decade. Similar to Tailgates and Tanlines, there is not a song on the album that should be skipped. Cole Swindell’s fresh lyrics and distinct voice shine on You Should Be Here and it is definitely one of the top country albums so far this year.

Singles Already Released:

  • “You Should Be Here”

Songs To Listen To:

  • “Home Game”
  • “Middle of a Memory”
  • “Remember Boys”
  • “Broke Down”
  • “Flatlined feat. Dierks Bentley”

Winners and Losers of the May 06, 2016 Release Date

Country music releases albums on Friday’s in order to allow “friendly” competition for record labels.

Winner: Cole Swindell (Warner Bros.-Warner Music Nashville) — This album is a tribute to lost of Swindell’s father and it certainly something to be proud of. The lead single was Swindell’s fourth No. 1 song, and it sets the foundation for the future of this album.

Loser: Country Radio — This one might surprise you a little bit, but because both of these albums are SO different, the struggle of country radio cannot be more real. Transitioning from a new Keith Urban song back to a more traditional country song may leave listeners confused and even cause them to change the station. While Keith Urban’s album is well-produced and has great music, it is not going to go over too well with country music’s ever prominent traditionalists.

Other albums released today: 

Ryan Beaver — Rx (St.Beaver-Parallel) If you have sometime and you want to listen to some real country music with great vibes and lyrically beautiful, you might want give this guy a listen.

Alan Jackson — Keepin It Country Live At Red Rocks

Cyndi Lauper — Detour (Sire Records)