Mat Kearney – “Young Love”

Album Reviews | Oct 1st, 2011

Record Label: Universal Republic
Genre: Pop
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Every once and awhile, there’s an album that wasn’t sent to me for review, but I feel like writing about it anyway. Mat Kearney is a pop artist, who dabbles in rock, folk, acoustic rock and hip hop occasionally. I’ve seen his name tossed around here and there but never checked out his music until last year. Who would have thought I would have liked someone’s music that I heard on the radio in a craft store.

His release “Nothing Left To Lose” has sporadic good songs on it including the title track, but the rapping on it feels out of place and kind of weird. Just when you think he’s just going to sing normal, he then breaks out in a rap and it’s awkward to listen to. “City of Black and White” is an improvement and an excellent album to boot. He ditches the rapping in favor of a more folk/pop rock sound. With Young Love, he mixes elements from both albums and it just works really well. When he does the rapping, it doesn’t feel awkward or out of place. All the music flows into some great pop songs that will have no problem being aired on TV and the radio.

The first track and single is the catchy “Hey Mama,” which immediately tells you what kind of album this is going to be. Catchy as hell, songs you can dance to and songs that you will be humming for days. “Ships in the Night” is a perfect example of how Mat fixed the balance of pop music and the hip hop rapping he does. He blends it perfectly with the song and doesn’t feel like you’re listening to two songs. “Count of Me” is a fun song that uses children singing & counting during the intro and chorus. Just goes to show you what someone can do with not much like children counting. “Sooner or Later” sounds like something that will be played during Grey’s Anatomy (wouldn’t be a first for Kearney) or some teen movie, but I’ll admit that I really like the track.

I’ve been trying to think of who Mat Kearney sounds like, and I think it has dawned on me that he has similar vocals to Chris Trapper of The Push Stars. I think that’s how I found out about Mat because I thought the song was a Push Stars song. I like that he has a lot of range to do pop singing, acoustic stuff, hip hop but prefer he didn’t do the straight up hip hop singing he did on Nothing Left to Lose. The entire album is just a great listen and one I love to hear in car. From start to finish, there’s not one bad song on here.

Bottom Line: Mat Kearney’s best album to date!
Notable Tracks: Hey Mama, Ships in the Night, Count On Me, Sooner or Later, Learning to Love Again, Down, Young Dumb and Love
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