Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Joel C

Jars of Clay: Good Monsters

Recommended Posts

Joel C   

I know this band falls more into CCM, but man, are they ever good. At least as far as their old albums go.

Has anyone heard it yet?

Edited by Joel C

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I gotta say, this band has yet to really win me over. Maybe it's just that the single "Flood" made me want to smash my radio after Seattle's most popular station decided it needed to be played every single hour, but I can't hold that against the band, now can I?

Maybe I should give one of their records another chance. The live set that came out a year or two ago didn't really persuade me. Where should I focus my attention?

For the record, here are other Jars threads:

Redemption Songs

Cokemachineglow on Jars of Clay (Much Afraid)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Joel C   

I gotta say, this band has yet to really win me over. Maybe it's just that the single "Flood" made me want to smash my radio after Seattle's most popular station decided it needed to be played every single hour, but I can't hold that against the band, now can I?

Maybe I should give one of their records another chance. The live set that came out a year or two ago didn't really persuade me. Where should I focus my attention?

For the record, here are other Jars threads:

Redemption Songs

Cokemachineglow on Jars of Clay (Much Afraid)

Have you ever heard Who We Are Instead? That was their best to date. Their first one, self-titled, was ok, but far below the quality of a couple of their later records. And don't judge them based on Redemption Songs. That was a real disappointment, at least to me. Below their potential.

Edited by Joel C

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't care much for the self-titled at all, nor do I like the live set or The Eleventh Hour. If you want a good starting point, Jeffrey, I'd suggest Who We Are Instead-- it's the best, most artful and profound album they've yet made, minus one or two weak songs. Redemption Songs is also very, very good.

Haven't heard the new one, but it's getting a lot of praise from within the industry-- CCM Magazine has already named it the best album of the year, and Christianity Today gave it 5 stars (just their second or third 5-star rating this year).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Pat   

Aah, the jars. They've been constant companions throughout my early Christian years, so I have a sweet spot for them in my heart...

It was "Much Afraid" that, back in 1997, I found surprisingly different and innovative for CCM. I hold bad production values and cheesy drumloops against their self-titled debut, ad no, here in Germany I haven't been exposed to "Flood" in heavy rotation ;)

Jeffrey: I'd recommend, as others have already said, "Who We Are Instead" and maybe "Much Afraid" as starting points to explore. Those two I consider their best works to date -- but that might soon change! Just listened to samples on the iTMS, and "Good Monsters" sounds impressive. Lyrically, the theme of authenticity, brokenness, self-realisation and how we are monsters inside -- the flesh, if you will, for all you religious types (myself sadly included, hehe) -- is equally interesting.

Edited by Pat

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
yank_eh   

wow, no one likes their debut?!

I think it's still my fav, with Flood being my least favorite song (excluding the final track, which isn't really a song)

I also like If I Left the Zoo a lot. After that album I gave their successive albums one or two listens and none of them won me over except maybe...

Who We Are Instead, my third favorite.

Someone ought to start a poll on favorite JOC albums...I don't know how (or if I can without being a paying member).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The debut has some good songs, but Dan's vocal performance is pretty timid, and, worst of all, the production is just terrible-- I still can't get past those insufferable drum loops!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I resisted JOC for a long time because of the Flood single, and also because I'm CCM-Resistant in general, but I became a convert a couple of years ago. Who We Are Instead is great, but apparently I'm one of the few(er) people who also loves The Eleventh Hour - I mean, "Something Beautiful", "The Edge of Water", and the title track? Great songs! I've really come to appreciate the company of their music - sometimes there's just a very tender way their songs speak to me, and at the risk of sounding like a sap, they've really help me get through some hard stuff.

Edited by Sara Zarr

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I like the Eleventh Hour tracks you mentioned, Sara, but I've never gotten into songs like "I Need You" and "Whatever She Wants," which mar the album for me. But in that album's defense, it does have what may be the best song Jars ever cut, even one of the best CCM songs ever-- "Silence," which is basically their "Wake Up Dead Man."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
meegs   

Ah, I have found my people. The s/t debut is easily, easily, far and away the worst Jars album. It has some good songs, but the production--among other things--leaves a lot to be desired. As far as I'm concerned, the only song on that album that even hinted at what they are capable of is "Worlds Apart." A huge part of me has grown to loathe their s/t debut, not because I dislike it that much...but because so many people are STILL waiting on them to basically re-make that album. And because every single time I see them in concert, so many worthy songs don't get played because everyone's clammering for Love Song for a Savior and other old school songs that honestly border on trite, musically and lyrically. Oh, and Essential invariably picks some of the weaker album tracks to release as singles.

As far as I'm concerned, Jars has gotten better with every album, except that Much Afraid ranks 2nd or 3rd on my list, depending on my mood. I've enjoyed following their journey, musically and spiritually. They are one of a small handful of bands I have great respect for.

Good Monsters is excellent and will surely challenge Who We Are Instead for the #1 Jars album in my book. I think it's as good a place to start as any. Second choices would be WWAI, 11th Hour and Much Afraid. I wouldn't start with Furthermore or Redemption Songs, as both are light on original material and thus I wouldn't really consider them proper Jars albums.

"Oh My God" is an unbelievable song.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Betsi   

I agree with Yeh up there--the debut is excellent, and I love If I Left The Zoo. Who We Are Instead is also fabulous though. I wonder what happened to my copy of Eleventh Hour? I find Much Afraid to be their weakest album (although I haven't heard the new one, or Redemption Songs.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Thom   

Someone ought to start a poll on favorite JOC albums...I don't know how (or if I can without being a paying member).

Here is your poll yank_eh, Jars of Clay, Pick your favorite full length, studio album

Edited by Thom(asher)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ah, I have found my people. The s/t debut is easily, easily, far and away the worst Jars album. It has some good songs, but the production--among other things--leaves a lot to be desired.

OK, I

Edited by Christian

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Mark   

What Christian said. Not only does the self-titled CD sound like nothing else in CCM, it doesn't really sound like anything else out there, period. Good or bad, it's unique, IMO. When I listen to it now, all those weaknesses others already mentioned are apparent (most especially the timid vocals), but I still haven't found anything that woke me up the way the Jars guys did on their first effort.

Recently I sent a "heat wave"-inspired CD mix to a buddy who's not into Christian music at all, and he commented that "Liquid" was "hard stuff" to get into, not because of its explicitly Christian lyrics, but because it sounds like nothing else he's heard. He thinks it'll end up being his favorite song on the mix (well, not totally true, since he's now addicted to Nada Surf's "Killian's Red") because it's one he has to listen to frequently to figure out.

I'll always have a soft spot for JOC, so I'm no objective judge of their best, and everything they've released has included some good and bad material. I'd add to the love for Who We Are Instead, but throw in Much Afraid as my second favorite, because it took a radically different turn after the self-titled CD, delved into some bracingly honest emotional territory, and included what might be my favorite Jars song of all time, "Frail."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I lost my copy of Much Afraid years ago, and only behind Mark Heard's last three albums, this is the disc I wish I had crazy glued to my shelf. I haven't followed them at all since that album, which now that I'm thinking about it, I find puzzling, but I really loved this album. And it didn't immediately grab me -- it was one that got better on each listen.

Dang! Now I really gotta track down a copy of this...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I just came across this interview with Jars that's from back in April.

Toward the end of the interview, there's this paragraph:

Steve: We just got word a couple days ago Sarah McLachlan passed on singing on the record, which was a drag. But we talked to her! Well, Leigh Nash guests on it.

Dan: We got the African Children's Choir on a song. Youssou N'Dour is going to sing on a song this summer, but it probably won't end up on the record with him on it.

Steve: We're still waiting to hear on... *long pause, before discreetly mumbling* Bono, maybe... Yeah, we're trying to dream big. (Dan: Why not?) Throw it out there, if they don't like it...

Note: even thought the album is already out does not mean they can't record a new version of one of the songs (Light Gives Heat) and re-release it somehow...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×