Monday, August 22, 2011

Review: Mat Kearney–Young Love

When I was selected  from the One2One Network to participate in the review of Mat Kearney’s latest album, Young Love I was thrilled! Every once and again, he would pop up on one of my many Pandora playlists and each time, I’d look to see who it was and it always led me to him. I don’t know why I’d never purchased his albums before. I guess I always saw it as a special treat…a little gift from Pandora. “Nothing Left to Lose” has a special place in my heart, the melodies, his voice, those words, it’s just perfect mellow driving music.
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If you aren't familiar with Mat's music you've probably heard some of his previous hits on your favorite TV shows.  Past songs have appeared on 30 Rock, Grey's Anatomy, The Hills, Friday Night Lights, Scrubs, NCIS, and numerous other television shows. Mat's been winning over crowds on tours with everyone from John Mayer and Sheryl Crow to Keane and The Fray.
Anyway, I received the album in the mail and I just have to say, there’s something special about opening up a brand new CD, pulling out the jacket and realizing that the words to the songs are handily inside. Not everyone does that and I don’t know why. So thank you, Mat!!! For that reason, when I feel it necessary, I will highlight some of my favorite lyrics from the song.
On with the review…
Young Love  opens with a fresh, upbeat song, “Hey Mama” that is actually written about his wife. Any guy that can somehow sneak in an Anthropologie reference is a man after my heart. ha ha…But seriously, you are hard pressed to not find yourself snapping your fingers or clapping your hands with this track. It is infectious and positively filled with love. Check out the video here:

Next up is “Ships in the Night” which is more along the lines of classical Mat Kearney, well at least to me. I love the high notes he hits, but then contrasts it with a more spoken melody. Not quite a rap, but definitely not his singing voice. This is probably my favorite song of the album. The words he uses definitely paint a powerful picture: “And fists fly from my mouth” This song speaks to me about not giving up, even when you disagree. Anyway, it’s a good song and maybe you will too.
You Can Count On Me” is a fun little number (hehe…pun) where he intertwines his wordplay with numbers in a heartfelt tune for the one he loves. This is the kind of song I wish someone would always dedicate to me. Sometimes we can’t find the words, but music helps to fill that void. This can be a bit cheesy, but it is uplifting and reassuring.
Sooner or Later” took a bit to grow on me. It sounded a bit Coldplay-ish in their synthesizer period. Nothing bad, but it just wasn’t one that captivated me like some of the other songs. I’ll put it on simmer and let it marinate before totally counting it out.
Midway through the album, we are faced with “Chasing the Light.” This one has the clapping built in, complete with his signature harmonies. It is a classic Mat Kearney song that is easy to sing along to. My favorite line from this one: “10 pounds heavier from wasted time” Plus, he talks about praying for the person he is singing to. This is whole song is a prayer for all those who are lost.
Learning to Love Again” is quite haunting and chilling when you listen to the words. “That was the real you singing hallelujah, looking down a barrel” It is definitely easy to get lost in this song, but once you pay attention to the words, you can find respite in them and a big sense of solidarity…if  you’ve ever been down that road.
Following, is “Down” which is a close second favorite. The words alone are powerful, echoing personal experiences that I am facing, of which is a typical example of young love. The hook alone: Can you hear when we call | There where we fall | Standing our backs against the wall | Top of our lungs hallelujah | Where pain and love bleed into one | Baby when all you see is darkness | Coming down now | We all need forgiveness  It gives reason to step back, pause and give thanks and glory, even in our struggles. For anyone who is going through their own struggle, you will definitely relate to this song.
She Got the Honey” is another sunny clap-along about longing, feeling, and crushing. I dare you not to get up and dance along.
Next up, “Young Dumb and In Love” opens with an awesome rift. “The prettiest face and those rock-a-bye baby browns”…swoon, makes me love my brown eyes even more! This is the song that I’d sway with my beloved, dancing in our kitchen late at night while we wash dishes. It makes me happy.
Finishing up with “Rochester,” which is a gut-wrenching song about his father. It is a bit heavy to finish with, especially with a complete 180 to the song before it. It is well-written and makes me wonder if perhaps this wouldn’t have been one of those “secret” songs that you stumbled upon, 3 minutes after the last song on the album, but still a part of the same track. Some of you will know what I’m talking about.
All in all, I would recommend Mat Kearney’s new album Young Love. Overall, it is really great and I don’t think you will be disappointed. It is currently available for digital download and in stores for the actual album.

**I was selected by one2one network to review the new Mat Kearney album. I did not receive any compensation, other than a copy of the CD to write up the review. Thank you One2One.**

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