Young Love

On his third album, this Oregon troubadour gets back to the percussive, reggae-lite ditties that went missing on his last album, 2009's City of Black & White. "Hey Mama" suggests a Michael Franti tune, and on "She Got the Honey," Mat Kearney raps, "Saw her down at the De La show/Walking in looking down at her toes." The genre-mixing doesn't always work: "Young Dumb and in Love" sounds like a neutered jock jam, and the grandiose synth pop of "Sooner or Later" is barely distinguishable from OneRepublic. With melodies this hummable, though, Kearney should be soundtracking another Grey's Anatomy scene in no time.

Listen to "Hey Mama":

Related
Random Notes, Rock's Hottest Photos

From The Archives Issue 1138: September 1, 2011