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Nothing Left to Lose

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Album Review

On his 2006 major-label debut, Nothing Left to Lose, singer/songwriter Mat Kearney comes across as a mix of John Mayer, Jason Mraz, and U2. Kearney has the loose-limbed, acoustic feel of Mayer's earliest work, but he has a hazy hip-hop underpinning to a lot of his songs that recalls Mraz — plus, like Mr. A-Z himself, he will easily slip between crooned choruses and rapped verses. Then, he shares the sincerity, not to mention the vague Christian undercurrents, of early U2, and he certainly builds on their echoey guitars and arty soundscapes throughout Nothing Left to Lose, which means that he can also occasionally sound like Coldplay here, particularly on the relaxed epic "Crashing Down" and the piano-driven anthemic power ballad "In the Middle." It's a modern sound, pitched halfway between adult alternative pop and collegiate jam bands, and since Kearney is an ingratiatingly sincere guy, it's often appealing on a pure sonic level, even if the stylistic mash-ups occasionally sound awkward. In specific, the raps often sound shoehorned into the arrangements, sticking out like sore thumbs even when the hip-hop beats themselves go down easy — but to his credit, Kearney never sounds as smarmy or self-satisfied as Mraz. There is never a moment on this album where he doesn't sound earnest and serious, a trait that would be an Achilles' heel for most singer/songwriters, but there's an inherent modesty to Kearney that keeps him from sounding lugubrious and self-absorbed. Usually, he simply sounds likeable, thanks to his guy-next-door voice and clean, evocative production. So, he has the sound down on Nothing Left to Lose, but the songs are a little uneven, partially due to the preponderance of awkward rap-rock cuts that sound clunky next to his ballads and folky pop, partially due to the fact that his on-record persona is so modest that his songs sound modest too. That said, his modesty is appealing, and so is Nothing Left to Lose, which expands on the strengths his 2004 Inpop debut — quite literally, since six of the 13 songs here are remixed versions of tracks from that effort — to position Mat Kearney as a promising AAA singer/songwriter, particularly for those who find recent John Mayer too muscular and recent Coldplay too cold and arty.

Customer Reviews

Track by Track

Mat Kearney's latest album, Nothing Left To Lose is a fine piece of work, filled with lyrical genious and great melodies sure to brighten your day, or at least help you cope with it. 1. Undeniable-- I give this a perfect 10, This song has a great solid, catchy beat with intelligent rhyming. If you do not like rap, this might change your mind. This rap is intelligent and sophisticated. at first it seems out of place and takes a little getting used to. But the substance of the lyrics is what really makes this song worthwile. 2. Nothing Left to Lose-- is another song that deserves 10 points! It is very catchy and honest in its lyrics. It is a song about Mat stepping out in faith and traveling to Nashville, to fullfill his aspirations. Lyrically, the complexity of this song is reminiscent of James Taylor. 3. Crashing Down--- This gets 7.8 points from me. IT is a good anthemic ballad, that has a lot of weightiness to it (whic is good), but in the end, it doesn't seem to resonate like any of his other songs. 4. Girl America--- 10 points! This is one of my personal favorites. A lyrical treasure, that mixes politics and personal issues into one, as it is about Girl America (our nation) and also about the struggles of the youth of our nation (most notably girls.) 5. In the Middle deserves 8.5 points. It is a highly relatable song that many of us who "crack a smile just to hide, the race that's inside" can relate to. 6. Can't Break Her Fall-- 9.5 points. This is a very beautiful song about the relationship between a guy and a girl who suffers from depression and he tries to help her all he can, but realizes that even he can't break her fall." It is a very harrowing song. 7. What's A Boy To Do is a song for all of those who went through life without a father. It is lyrically rich with beautiful adjectives and honest emotions. It deserves a 9.7 8. Wait-- This gets 9.9 from me, almost a ten. He brings a spoken word style to this song. It is brutally frank with the emotions that many of us face. One of the lives says, "These Hands can feel, like they're not even mine. A tree and a nail, and a cry in the night," Profound words from a master lyricist. 9. Bullet-- This song puts many supposed "love songs" to shame. In this song Mat expresses that he would "take a bullet" for those he loves. You might say, "that's so cliche," but when Mat expresses his feelings in this song, cliche melts away, and instead, we say straight honesty from. 10. All I Need. This song is utterly breathtaking and harrowing at the same time. It is about the experiences of some friends of Mat during, hurrcane Katrina. Enough said. This song gets a perfect 10. 11. Renaissaince-- Mat brings out the rapping once again, but it is no longer cool, it is desparate and brutally honest. Almost as if Mat said "Okay, cut the singing, I've got something I need to say." Another perfect 10. 12. Where We Gonna Go From Here. Another perfect score of 10 for this song. This one is a treasure. It is sensitive, in that it expresse the love someone has for this girl, and it is somber in that he needs to step back and watch her grow from distance. Simply beautiful. 13. Won't Back Down-- A solid 7 for this one. Lyrically beautiful, but it did not seem to resonate with me as others did. For you Johnny Cash fans, this is supposedly a tribute to Cash himself. 14. I'm pulling the last ten out of my pocket! Yes, this song deserves a perfect 10! It is one of the best songs of the album. Honestly I cannot describe in words, how honest, this track is , in it's portrayal of human love and emotion. I conclude this with a line from the song. "Breathe in Breathe out, tell me all of your doubts, and everybody bleeds this way, just the same." 15. Chicago-- Darn! (reaching into pocket) I'm out of tens! This song gets a 9.9 from me. It is almost lyrically divine, with a feel good sound to it. However, other songs in this album beat this one by a hair! In Conclusion, I must say that this is one of the most relatable albums I have ever listened to. The lasting effect of this album must be attributed to the lyrics, which are masterfully written by this mature 26 year old. In a day and age of brainless pop songs, this breaks through the darkness to touch the souls of all who listen to it. With it's simplistic yet complex attitude toward life and love, I must say that this is a must buy!!!

Mat Kearney's Latest--Simply Beautiful

Mat Kearney remains one of today's most talented and underappreciated artists, a common combination in the modern industry. Although the vast majority of these songs on his album Nothing Left To Lose were released a while ago, iTunes now for a limited time allows the purchase of his newest single, 'Breathe In Breathe Out,' for ninety-nine cents, sparing fans the hassle of repurchasing an album. The song was most recently featured on Grey's Anatomy, a show with a knack for picking good music, among which Mat Kearney is a familiar voice. On this song, Mat's beautiful falsetto on the sweet and simple chorus balances with a husky tone in his verses. His thoughtful and inspiring lyrics are sure to attract new listeners to his music. Do yourself a favor and spend that ninety-nine cents on a beautiful work of art by a worthy individual. Cuz not only is Mat wonderfully talented and a brilliant songwriter, he is also a kindhearted human being who remains in the industry purely for his music and his devoted fans.

Absolutely perfect

Mat Kearney is one of the absolute best new artists to hit the music world in recent memory. With his heartfelt lyrics, mixing of soft and emotional singing, and his lapsing into his rap-like discertations, he is an absolute original. This album version of 'Nothing Left to Lose' is fantastic, with the added bonus of 'Breathe In Breathe Out'. I also just added 'Can't Break Her Fall' to my library, another great song. Looking forward to many many years of Mat Kearney's music. A definite buy.


Born: December 1, 1978 in Eugene, OR

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Born in Eugene, Oregon, singer/songwriter Mat Kearney began his musical career 400 miles south at the Chico branch of California State University, where he studied literature and played on the soccer team. After completing his junior year, Kearney went to Nashville with friend/producer Robert Marvin, with the intention of only staying the summer to lay down a few songs. However, after offers for recording deals started coming in, Kearney decided to remain in Tennessee to seriously pursue his songwriting...
Full Bio
Nothing Left to Lose, Mat Kearney
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Customer Ratings