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Album Review: Mat Kearney – Just Kids

2 min read

Mat Kearney is the man behind one of the most beautiful songs I’ve ever heard. All I Need was written in 2006 for Kearney’s second studio album Nothing Left To Lose and was placed firmly in my heart after it’s exposure on Grey’s Anatomy. The gorgeous, emotional, desperate ballad was rooted in that perfect, folky, singer-songwriter pocket, nestled among likeminded artists like Snow Patrol or Ryan Tedder. Now, Mat Kearney is back with his latest record Just Kids which not only acts as a nod to his history, but demonstrates a controlled movement into a new phase – rap.

Mat Kearney Just KidsTo me, there were three major overarching types of song on the album. In the first, Kearney plays with a whimsical electro sound that is super fun and current. This is evident in Moving On as well as opening track, Heartbreak Dreamer is also a great example, which along with One Heart draws strong comparisons with The Black Eyed Peas’ Where Is The Love and acts as a nice little bridge into the second type of sound.

Rap was an unexpected element to Just Kids for a fan of Kearney’s first few records, but admittedly has not followed his career with the intent it deserved. The title track demonstrates this perfectly, even making a reference to the Wutang Clan, while Los Angeles captures the spirit of the city with a spoken word and pretty chorus akin to Shawn Mullins’ Lullabye.

For those looking for the folky rock tones of old, there is plenty to appease. One Black Sheep is an acoustic highlight, while Ghost also embraces a bare instrumentation style to haunting effect. The Conversation, a duet with Young Summer is the highlight for me, leaving me unable to get enough of their stunning voices together.

Just Kids is the album you would get after locking Will.I.Am and Chris Martin in a recording studio with too much booze. It’s the sound The Script do so well, with the signature storytelling and heart that Kearney has brought to his previous, more rocky records. Just Kids is a flow of thoughts, super fun with whimsical electro laced in Hip Hop with that stunning Kearney voice. It’s everything we could have hoped. It’s awesome.