Before you begin reading this column, a disclaimer: I know nothing about music. That is to say, I know nothing more than the average person about music. My taste is not in any way sophisticated or refined; in fact, just today I saved several One Direction songs to my Spotifiy account.
Now, that being said, Mat Kearney has been a staple of my Spotify playlist for some time. Actually, Mat Kearney has been a staple in my life for some time. We all had a “Ships in the Night” phase around sophomore year of high school, but I think it’s fair to say that my attachment to his music has gone beyond that. I love every single one of his albums; they are literally just so good. Go listen to them right now.
But of course what I am supposed to be writing about is dear Mr. Kearney’s newest musical accomplishment, his 4th album, Just Kids, released earlier this year. Now, I’ll admit that when this album came out, I didn’t actually jump on the bandwagon straight away. What struck me initially was just how different it is from some of Kearney’s older music. It’s been four years since his album, and Kearney has developed a bit of a new spin on his old, traditional style.
If you happen to be an old fan of his Kearney’s deep, soulful and rhythmic rap sections, you won’t be disappointed. Several songs, including the title song “Just Kids,” contain this Mat Kearney staple. Every track has predictably amazing vocals as well. (Would we ever expect anything less?)
However, there is plenty of new to go along with the old in this album. At first I was taken aback by the harder tone of this album overall. The impression this album leaves is much edgier and angrier than Kearney’s older work. However, Kearney still keeps enough of his signature style to please old fans (try the song “Moving On” and “Miss You”). This album has a lot more variety and is more daring than Kearney’s—by far my favorite unexpected twist was the motivational speech buried within the first track “Heartbreak Dreamer.” Kearney also threw in a seriously cool collab in the song “The Conversation.”
So if you are an old Kearney fan or if you have no clue who I am talking about (why are you even still reading this?), there is something for you on this album. Especially if you are a midnight cereal eater. Just listen, you’ll get it.