Thursday, September 15, 2011

Music To Write By: Mat Kearney's "Ships in the Night"

Why Listen? For metaphor and simile; domestic drama; a reminder that "interstitial" needn't mean muddled and inaccessible.

On his first two albums, Mat Kearney seemed to suffer a sort of identity crisis. Was he a Top-40 pop star, chilly Brit rocker, hip-hop crooner or Springsteen-esque singer-songwriter? With his latest effort Young Love, he's answered the question with a resounding "all of the above" -- often within a single song. "Ships in the Night," a surprisingly literate track, details a struggling relationship over urban beats, soaring falsettos and catchy hooks. Not only does Kearney reach for something like a metaphysical conceit throughout, he shows that smooth transitions can join divergent styles into an artistic unity. Interstitial works don't have to be jarring.

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