Archive for the ‘Jars of Clay’ Category

Yeah, still haven’t gotten the new U2 album.  One day, when we arrive in our new, as of now unknown, destination.  The new single is Magnificent.  I haven’t listened to it very much.  It is different from Get On Your Boots.  The lyrics are more overtly spiritual, however. It is a song of devotion, the mark that “love” leaves.  Bono seems nearly a Calvinist.

I found it an odd choice for a second single- but I’ve never been a multi-million album seller, or their manager.  I lack ‘pop’ sensibilities, so I  would prefer a more straight-forward hard rock song.  It has a less edgy sound.

And here is a live version from London.

Jars of Clay has also released a new record, which is on my “wish list” as well, The Long Fall Back to Earth.  It follows Good Monsters which is one of their best (with Jars of Clay and If I Left the Zoo), which I enjoyed on the way home from a preaching engagement.  Here they are talking about the new album:

Sadly, I missed their show at the House of Blues this weekend.  I very much wanted to be there.  Maybe next time.

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I decided to drop the music review page to simplify the blog some.  So here are some older reviews of albums.  They were from my first foray into blogging.  Shortly after starting this blog, I changed my approach.  So here they are.

Redemption Songs by Jars of Clay.  This CD was inevitable.  In their work with the City on a Hill projects they reworked some hymns such as The Comforter Has Come & Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing.  Artists and worship leaders are creating new arraignments or music to accompany these time-tested words.  This comes from the desire of the Emerging Church to treasure our tradition even as we live in touch with the world around us.

This CD is unique.  Jars of Clay has put their own unique sound over these words from our common heritage as followers of Jesus.  Some of the songs like God Be Merciful to Me (Psalm 51), and On Jordan’s Stormy Banks I Stand come from the music ministry of Reformed University Fellowship.  Others, like It is Well with My Soul and I Need Thee Every Hour, have music, and sometimes refrains, written by Jars of Clay.  The overwhelming focus of this disc is Redemption.  This is music for sinners who need to be reminded of God’s overwhelming love expressed in Jesus.  It is remarkably focused on the weight of our sin, and therefore the glory of our redemption.  This is something grotesquely missing in most ‘worship’ music today (well, the last 100 years or so).

The songs tend to be sad, yet hopeful as a result.  They carry the signature Jars of Clay folksy rock sound.  They give a new life to these grand old songs, and a new audience.   As such it is a valuable resource.  It is useful for reminding this sinner of my new life in Christ.  It gives words to the longings and frustrations of my heart.  This is not pop fluff.  The arraignments help the impact of the words instead of detracting from the meaning of the words.  In their desire to move into the future without forsaking our heritage, Jars of Clay has done us a great service.  They offer the church a more substantial form of Christianity than is typically found on our bookshelves and CD racks.

Nothing is Sound by Switchfoot.  This is a great follow-up to their double platinum smash.  Lyrically it continues in a similar vein.  They talk about the lie of materialism (Lonely Nation), the things we substitute for love (Easier than Love) and our tendency to dig cisterns instead of going to the spring of living water (Happy is a Yuppy Word).  They also talk about how we are woefully bent and wounded (The Setting Sun, The Fatal Wound).  As such, it has a dark feel to it.

But there is hope in the mix in songs like Stars, and The Shadow Proves the Sunshine.

This sounds a bit like John Owen’s take on resisting temptation.  “The pouring of contempt upon the great men and great things of the world, with all the enjoyments of it.  He hath discovered the nakedness of all earthly things, in overturning, overturning, overturning, both men and things, to make way for the things that cannot be shaken.”

Musically the overall feel to me is more aggressive.  I do miss the prominence of the bass (though Lonely Nation has a great bass line).  Or maybe I need to hook up the subwoofer.

Kickin’ music- YES!

Memorable lines- YES!  (”We are slaves of what we want”, “I’ve got a wound that does not heal”)

Buy it- YES! 


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I finally got my copy of Jars of Clay’s Good Monsters earlier this month.  I have been enjoying it since then just about every day.  If you take Redemption Songs out of the picture (as more of a worship album), this is their best since If I Left the Zoo…

They seem to have regained some focus.  They alternate between the fairly vague lyrics and some that are crystal clear.  You can see what Dan Haseltine was talking about in interviews in terms of reckoning with the evil in our own hearts by the gospel of grace.  Musically, it is more aggressive than they have been in some time.

My favorite songs are Dead Man (Carry Me), There is a River and the duet with Leigh Nash, Mirrors & Smoke.  This last one sounds like it came off of the Walk the Line soundtrack.  The title track seems to have been influenced by the quote from Edmund Burke noted in the liner notes and some of Larry Crabb’s work.  Not my favorite song, but it is growing on me.

Oh My God begins as a great lament, but it seems to bog down into more of a litany.  But you can hear a Johnny Cash influence here (or perhaps I’m just imagining it).

Overall this is an excellent album with excellent songs.  It has enough musical variety to keep things interesting.  This is definitely worth picking up.

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