Album Review: ‘Just Kids’

Mat Kearney’s latest album, “Just Kids,” is the latest effort by the acoustic pop singer, and it’s sure to leave a lasting impression on pop music fans.

The album kicks off with the sing-song track “Heartbreak Dreamer” that, while upbeat and cheery, sounds serious and down to earth, mainly due to the way Kearney sings during the chorus. The title track “Just Kids” is simple yet effective, with a piano and soft bass playing behind Kearney’s vocals, and the chorus is incredibly catchy. The general feel of the song is very somber.

However, the next track brings back the happy, upbeat feel that is common in Kearney’s work. “Heartbeat,” the lead single of the album, features a fast-paced drum beat with a keyboard, synths and a chorus that will have you singing along in no time. “Billion,”another upbeat and happy song, has an acoustic guitar mixed with a beat that slaps in the listener’s headphones.

Bringing the feel of the album back to a slower pace, “Let it Rain” mainly utilizes an acoustic guitar and keyboard. The sound of the song is something you might hear on a Coldplay album.

Kearney’s “Los Angeles” is a great song to listen to while studying, as it sports catchy vocal patterns and laid back baselines and acoustic guitars. Kearney makes his listeners feel like they are driving down a road on a sunny day right in Los Angeles.

Kearney’s lyrics do a wonderful job of reflecting his music. For example, “Heartbeat” matches lyrics about bubbly young love to the song’s upbeat tone: “That you got me feeling so high, and you are the rhythm of my life.”

“Just Kids,” which is the most simple, yet powerful, track on the album, discusses how Kearney feels about the foolish decisions he made in his youth, which are effecting him now. Optimism in the face of adversity is talked about in “Let it Rain,” with lyrics like “Let it rain, let it rain. Just because it’s pouring down doesn’t mean we’re gonna drown.”

Kearney also delves into the storytelling he has become known for in his lyrics. “Los Angeles” tells a story about the part of Kearney’s life where his music career began to take off.

This album builds off of an already solid discography for Kearney. He maintains the sound many of his current fans enjoy while branching out to create different musical effects that will catch the ears of a newer audience. He blends his unique brand of pop music with deep and meaningful lyrics that satisfy listeners on multiple levels. Music fans that have a wide range of taste and like solid songwriting should definitely give this album a listen.

Conner Ghiz is a sophomore professional writing and information design major and arts and entertainment writer for Cedars. He loves listening to music and going to Roosters Wings.

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