Here We Go on a Runaway Car from New York To California
Posted June 04, 2009
Rewind to Christian Radio circa 2004 and you'd hear the Oregon boys, which consisted of Shawn McDonald, Paul Wright, and Mat Kearney, all of which hit the radio at the same time, all had strong debuts, and all happened to hail from Oregon. Kearney was probably the most original of the bunch, providing a great mix of acoustic hip-hop, mixed with pop and rock. He soon got noticed and he released an album which was noticeably poppier, but contained some of his old track. Some of the new stuff wasn't that great, but Grey's Anatomy loved it, and he took off. Some three years later, five if you're counting his last fully-original album, and Mat is back to show us what he's got. The result is Coldplay + The Fray.
All I Have
Closer To Love
Here We go
The album is a solid listen, especially on the first half of the album, combining the usual singer-songwriter pop, mixed with more atmospheric elements, giving the album a complete sound. And while it's different stylistically from his debut, it's still a great sound. The only problem is it starts faltering towards the back-half. "New York to California" is pretty cheesy with lyrics like, "I'd build a bridge through the fire. For you I'd crawl from New York to California." Wow, that's pretty standard 80s-type cheese there. In fact, the album has a 80s pop feel to it, which I find kind of strange.
Overall, "City of Black & White" is pretty black and white in terms of originality, but Mat does a great job with the music and lyrics. The first half is excellent, and some of the songs on the back-half fall off the wagon. If anything, this album will increase Kearney's profile in the music world, which is evident when I see signs for Mat Kearney playing with Keane at Radio City Music Hall. So I'd say Kearney's done pretty well for himself, and deservedly so.
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