January 4th, 2010

Mat Kearney
City of Black and White
Review Date
: January 4th, 2010
Reviewed By:
Not Yet Rated

"Fire and Rain"

Mat Kearney has created one of the most listenable and accessible pop albums this year. Now if that doesn't sound like a good enough compliment, well, let me say this...it's a damn simple album. Ok! So it's still not a straightforward compliment. Ahem. Here we go. This album is great. I don't know if it's the older I get or maybe because I'm seeking a steady and balanced musical diet, but I'm not going after the super complex tunes as much. It's all fun and games, like chasing sexy tail but in the end you want to have something simple and beautiful to come back to after a long day of work. Thats exactly what Mat Kearney's album, City of Black and White is. But I don't think we give enough credit to the guys that go out and write a straightforward, simple, well-layered pop album. That shit is fucking hard. Anyone can go out and learn scales and off tempo drum rhythms and practice until they bleed and have people go, 'Holy shit, those guys are good. But I just don't relate to it that much.' However, not everyone can write simple, beautiful, pop songs like these and share them with the masses...and have a lot of that mass love it.

The recording quality on this record is mind blowing. The layers, the structure of the songs. Oh my word. The lyrics aren't revolutionary by any means but it's something anyone and everyone can grasp onto. Mat Kearney was once known for adding a little bit of hip-hop rhyming and rapping in his pop songs. While it's something cool to see and hear live, I'm glad he departed from that on this album. Some people might compare this record to Coldplay. I can see that somewhat on songs like 'Closer to Love', he has a very similar vocal tone and the simple piano line is very reminiscent of said band. But the differences don't go much further past that. Mat's got less of an indie edge to him and features larger, more rock oriented choruses. I also believe Mat has a more relaxed and better overall voice. But those are fighting words and we are all here to just enjoy the tunes. Maybe they are similar but there are room for each in their own ways. Since we are comparing bands, I really dig the track, 'New York To California', but it reminds me of a Counting Crows song. I keep waiting to here a 'shananananana' but instead I get a, 'lalalalalalalaaaa'. Oh well. It fits. It works. It sounds incredible.

If this is what pop music or adult contemporary alternative or whatever label you want to put on it is becoming...we are all in for a treat.




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