In an industry dogged too much by cookie-cutter artists, Mat Kearney is a real breath of fresh air. Let's be honest: What music exec would ever suggest that a blending of John Mayer-like subtle pop, Toby Mac-like rap, and Chris Martin-esque vocals could be rolled together for a winning combination? Stylistically, that's what we get with Kearney's outstanding major-label debut Nothing Left to Lose
. Nearly half of this album is culled from Kearney's Bullet
release (2004), an independent label breakthrough success for the singer-songwriter. These gems include the pedestrian "Undeniable," the pseudo Coldplay ringer "In The Middle," and the my-girl-is-my-country metaphor of "Girl America." Kearney moves away from his hip-hop sensibilities into a more guitar-friendly pop vein on newer tracks "Crashing Down," "Can't Break Her Fall," "Where We Gonna Go From Here," and "Nothing Left To Lose." The starkly moving "All I Need" will grab your attention as Kearney sings of a couple whose efforts to escape their own relationship problems mirror their attempts to flee a natural disaster. One of the most attractive elements throughout is a sound unlike any other in Christian music. While Kearney does little to mask his own faith in the interest of gaining crossover appeal, it's his multi-flavored art that should draw listeners from all angles. Heart-gripping at moments, thought-provoking at others, Nothing Left to Lose
is intelligent throughout and one of the top releases of the year thus far. --Michael Lyttle
Nothing Left To Lose by Mat Kearney
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