Classifying Kearney

Michael Hogan

Today’s music world is one of classification, where everything is forced to fit into certain categories. Mat Kearney’s new album, Nothing Left To Lose, refuses to be pigeonholed. Hip-hop and spoken word influences are weaved flawlessly throughout this, basically, pop music album. Having once been well known on the Christian pop scene, Kearney has stepped into the world of mainstream music with this album. Released last spring, Nothing Left To Lose has garnered critical acclaim and extensive television time. In the current music world your songs being played on television is less about selling out, and more about getting recognized and making it big.

The title track has been featured on promos for cable channel TNT, MTV’s Laguna Beach and Fox’s Bones. Other songs have been heard on MTV’s 8th and Ocean, the ABC soap One Life To Live, and NBC’s Friday Night Lights. Two of the tracks off the album, “All I Need” and “Crashing Down” have been featured on ABC’s hit hospital drama Grey’s Anatomy. With national playtime like this and the overall quality of the album, it is no wonder Kearney danced across the tops of the radio play and album sales charts for months after the release.

“Bullet” and “Undeniable” are love songs infused with a modern vibe; spoken word rhymes that stretch from pop to hip hop and back again. The title track is an acoustic gem, honestly poignant lyrics combining with Kearney’s mellow voice to create pop music magic. Every song is great in its own right, but the best song on the album is “Girl America.” It serves as an opportunity for Kearney to showcase his many talents. His hip-hop abilities are on display throughout each verse with the choruses being pure pop rhythm, a moment to show that he really can sing. He merges simple lyrics into the larger themes of the song, showing off his abilities as a songwriter.

Kearney’s spring tour with Rocco DeLuca & The Burden comes to The Avalon on April 13. If you’re in the mood to hear an up and comer who is sure to make it big head down to Landsdowne St. and check him out, or just pick up the CD at your local music store. You won’t be disappointed.