Mat Kearney – Just Kids

Young Love was a special record.

Before I talk about Just Kids I just want to throw that out there as a reminder. Young Love was special!

That is not my way of saying I hate Just Kids. But I loved Young Love. More than anything else Kearney had done previously. And Just Kids carries some similar vibes as Young Love.

And there are moments on Just Kids that I absolutely love! The album opener, Heartbreaker Dreamer is upbeat without going super pop. While the spoken word piece at the end of the track is a little long, I like the message Kearney is trying to get across. The title track is the standout on the record for me. It has that forlorn delivery that Keanrey used so well on his more singer/songwriter projects. The track isn’t sad, but contemplative. It’s one of my favorite tracks Kearney has ever released.

But the rest of the record just didn’t click with me. Heartbeat, the album’s first single, is very pop oriented. I’ve seen comparisons to Owl City and One Direction. I wouldn’t go quite that far but I understand why people would make that leap. Moving On and Billon have a pseudo island feel to them. It’s different. Let It Rain brings in that hip-hop infused pop sound that worked so great on Young Love.

And that’s the difference. Just Kids is a pop record through and through! Young Love was equally as pop but it was more hip-hop influenced. Which is not a slight on Just Kids. It just means that as Kearney stretches and grows and tries new things, while mixing in the old, it’s just not my cup of tea. Because I loved Young Love. And I haven’t been a huge fan of or blown away by Kearney’s previous work, it just means that I shouldn’t be surprised that I don’t love Just Kids. 3 out of 5 Stars.

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