Nothing Left To Lose
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Nothing Left To Lose by Mat Kearney
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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
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I was privileged enough to be on scene in Knoxville, TN around the time he made his beginnings, 'Bullet'. That album is the core of this album and be warned that six of those songs are on this album. Having said that, there isn't a bad song to be had on 'Nothing Left To Lose' and I could similarly gush about his following offerings. Grounded in gospel, Mat brings a crossover with force. His lyrics are intelligent, vulnerable, and relatable.
Kearny manages to intertwine hip-hop, rock, spoken word/rap, and alternative, in a blend that is all his own.
Some may be turned off by his "rap" style and feel that it's used to cover up some of his songwriting or singing weakneses. I think it's done just right and he doesn't get too caught up in it. Right when you think he's been talking awhile he starts up with the melody/harmony and brings you right back into the song. It's a very nice combination.
I purchased 2 other new albums at the same time as this one, but I can't seem to take Mat's out of the player. THAT, for me, is a sign of a strong album top-to-bottom. As most outlets are selling this album cheaper than the "normal" CD, I would highly recommend giving this one a try....you won't be disappointed.
Mat is one of those singers who a lot of people know, but they don't realize it. By that I mean you hear the song and go "oh yeah, I know that...I like that song. I never knew he was the one who sang that." I did that with a lot of these songs. Glad I bought the album...would purchase again.
On his first song release, Nothing Left to Lose, he harmoniously sings "push the pedal down" and it feels like you really are the one accelerating to the turning point of whether this significant other is going to be the one for you or not. Love is a common theme, but expressed at this particular moment with such a carefree like melody is not so common and yet so delicate and beautiful. Undeniable, a witty half poetic rap on the last albumt that really should've brought the last album to new heights. Metaphors on sunset, the 4 seasons, water, and breath to show why this significant other is the one. Crashing Down is about being a good listener. Girl America describes a "typical girl in distress in the U.S." who has a past of drugs, and sexuality as he tries to help her reform out of this life. In the middle, very Coldplay, especially when he sings "Parachutes" in the lyrics, and this song being a love piano ballad. It's a song simply about not making love with a gray area, but a complete one with no strings attached. Can't Break Her Fall is about a girl who is on a path to trouble that one cannot prevent her from taking because she chooses to go this path. The melody with the lush guitar is great! What's A Boy deals with tragedy of one's family member. Wait is about waiting for a significant other to come back, and then leaving everything familiar and going free to fly to another place. But you don't know why one is waiting for the other- it's a bit too vague. The drum beats in the song accentuate the passing of time. Bullet is a sharp long way of saying that I will do anything for you even if it means death. The main chorus line repeats with a serious tone and ends with "it's for real" with a background of a possibly portending ending.
All I Need is unsurpringly about keeping the significant other one already has. Nothing eye catching, nothing bad about the song.
Renaissance is about moving on after a split that was definitely meant to be. This song could even be about strong friendships even though it's about a romantic relationship.
Where Do We Go From Here is about confusion when you are in a tight bind.
Won't Back Down is a theme for victims of a tragic event such as Hurricane Katrina. It's a willful, hopeful ending.
You can hear the entire album on his website right now and judge for yourself!
The only thing I don't like about this album is that 6 of his songs come from his previous album, Bullet, but quite a few artists probably do that. It does show that sometimes, a great work of art doesn't get the attention it deserves until time, luck, and good advertising are put in. Even now, I think he is an artist to watch that will do well, but not as well as he deserves. Mat Kearney is ready to give us quality songs, but the public may not be ready to make this leap.
Fave songs: Nothing Left to Lose, Crashing Down, Girl America, In the Middle (my FAVORITE one of the album), And Wait.
This has to be one of my favorite CDs because of how perfectly he's blended the two genres, and it can even be for those who only favor one of the two. For 8 dollars? You can feel that you're only paying for the songs that are heavy with rap or the ones that have no rapping at all.
A simply magnificent CD and I must recommend it for all.