|Celebrating Jars of Clay's PreOrder of Inland | Posted August 23, 2013
In JUST TWO WEEKS you all will be reaping the benefits of TODAY’s Pre-Order at www.JarsofClay.com !!!
That is, if you get out there and buy yourself a copy! Go!... Do!... Now!
Wow. Has it really been 20 years since; “in open fields of wild flowers. She breathes the air and flies away…”I speak of Love Song for a Savior from Jars of Clay’s freshman release Jars of Clay (Essential Records, 1993). The band has been going strong and steady and filling our cups and filling the airwaves ever since. If you are a movie-goer you may have even heard that song featured in the background for a Christian Mingle commercial (played during previews) as the chorus goes; “I want to fall in love with you. I want to fall in love with you.” But make no mistake. The Jars are not just writers of simple clichéd love songs or even merely purist praise anthems. They have dared to delve deep into the realities of Christian and human living since the day “Flood” graced the charts and the day their feet left Greenville College in Greenville, IL. Their freshman release tackled child abuse, teen neglect and the love of God through His gentle mercies given through the art, picture and real sacrifice of His Son all before the band even got their feet wet in the Christian music industry. And here they go at it again with their eleventh release, guided by producer Tucker Martine. And for the first time, independent! But no less polished.
They, as any true believers, have obviously had their shares of personal and professional ups and downs, but despite it all, Jars have dared to declare what their band namesake has declared from the first time we heard it as a secret track on Jars of Clay, 1993. That is, 2 Corinthians 4:7. Which is:
“But we have this treasure in earthen vessels [jars of clay], that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.” KJV http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=2+Corinthians+4%3A7&version=KJV
But the fact that they are Christians does not take away from their songs’ ability to connect with the inner dregs of the human condition.
And so, without further adieu. Here is my album review.
Mark your calendars for August 27th, 2013! It is the beginning of a new step along ‘this road.’
Jars of Clay’s latest track list through the ears of Facebook DJ Deb:
(Note: These are strictly my opinions and may or may not in any way reflect the band’s testimonies or true stories behind the songs. But hear me out. I loved what I heard. All of it.)
After the Fight – A fast-driven song. Speaks of the fight as a boxing match. It brings the listener to think of fighting the good fight; and how life’s unexpected uppercuts, wrestling angels and our own personal demons can lead us to a staggering mess.
Age of Immature Mistakes – There is an open-ness in this song that has a coldness and a drive that takes me back to Long Fall Back to Earth (2009). It is a song that I feel will connect with the present-day college students.
Reckless Forgiver – Here is a standout song. I predict this one to be the radio release to follow after album release. A perfect blend of violins (as Jars are good at using), musical ups and downs, threaded and honest visual lyrics that compete with Unforgetful You (If I Left the Zoo, ‘99) to be the next ‘jumping’ Jars song!
Human Race – A catchy bounce and good strings. The electronics sound like what was heard much on Long Fall. A discussion of the detachment and brokenness of communication between humans despite our over excess of communications available to us. This could be a sequel to “Oh My God” from Monsters, and a continuation of “Headphones” from Long Fall.
Love in Hard Times – This one presents a challenge. It could be relevant for early marriages or those that have been alive and struggling to thrive. The music takes you away to the same chase heard in “Don’t Stop” but in entirely new skin. It is a sweet pleaded memoriam to Tea and Sympathy from Much Afraid (1997).
Pennsylvania – Dramatically musically different. If you could take musical instruments and make them paint a Transylvanian-esque Pennsylvania, that’s what the music does with this song. Apart from that - Not quite sure where this one came from. The sense of a wound that is very recent. A new sound for Jars. Could be a sequel to Shipwrecked from Eleventh Hour. I just wanted to cry and pray when I heard this song. Definitely a song about devastation. A life in fragments. It’s a twice-listener. At least! Holds a very raw honest feel.
Loneliness and Alcohol – Another new sound for Jars. Reminiscent of Skillet. The feel of a 1980’s Streets of Rage video game in the synthesization. Paints a picture of an individual closed off and angry at the world who denies love and truth and hides any possible glimpses of his or her own goodness deep behind a world of mystery and his or her hurting is swallowed down in alcohol. Interesting acoustics have subtle plink-ing sounds that provide visions of caps coming off of bottles of alcohol. Amazingly brilliant depth. A stand-alone song that could be sung by many-a bartenders to their hurting and desperate clientele.
I Don’t Want You to Forget – I am oddly captivated by the reversal in emotions of this love story of a song. I can really feel Jesus seeking someone much like a lover would seek his uncertain bride before they have become wed. But the song is a true love song in that the last line clearly states the placement of the singer’s voice was in humankind, not a Savior. This does not take away from the beautiful reflection of redeeming love against the backdrop of human love. I can see this being a beautiful pursuit that would fit well with a couple that distance is keeping apart for some reason, and they haven’t even gotten to know each other before she must leave. It’s almost like wiping away the memory of a long-lived love for a second chance or a resolve to begin again in the same relationship. And that resolve. Of putting the old away to start anew, is where the fear comes in, made evident in the chorus of “I Don’t Want You to Forget.” Another new sound. Beautiful. This would be great in a movie soundtrack.
Fall Asleep – This is a story about somebody moving to leave an old past and country dwelling place behind. A song that perhaps mourns what the previous song discussed. The call of frogs is heard throughout the song which reflects the desperate call of the lover to the loved throughout the lyrics. It discusses a couple. The loved is found longing for the sounds of city ambiance and glow of city life with tall buildings versus the sounds of crickets, frogs and glow of fireflies and stars near a woods with tall weeds. This shows the night and day contrast between the couple. But the lover begs for one last chance to enjoy the moment and one another before change must occur. The visualization in this song puts you in the grass where the couple is, and the word choice almost makes the couple sound as small as fireflies or fairies. There is a sad running theme of innocence melded with the hard realities of apathy and broken covenants. This one is also not like any old Jars songs. Very splendorous new path they have chosen musically and lyrically for this one.
Skin and Bones – The vocal siren in this song is awesome! There is a part where the vocals go into a sustain of the word “me” ending the first chorus, and then the vowel sound revisits in successive choruses. This sets off the listener to the alarm of the lover being loved starved. This song could perhaps continue the story from the last two songs. A gentle portrayal of a fleeting love. Where love itself is on a stretcher. Love is attempting to be revived but the pulse is very weak. Merely looking at lyrics, this one could be a sequel to Heart off Long Fall. This, again, is a song that makes me want to pray hard for the health of marriages and especially the redemption of them. The music is a very new approach, with Jars’ signature and classic unpredictability. It sounds nothing like old Jars music. It’s amazing. The approach of this song no doubt hits home with front man Dan Haseltine, after last summer’s heart surgery. Your fans pray for you, Dan.
Left Undone – A survey of how the church perceives people and Christians who are expected to be perfect in a sinful world. An apology. Drums sound like gunshots after the phrase ‘smoking gun’ is used. Another cool new usage of music and effects that enhance the song’s meaning. Very colorful use of strings and keys in this one. The listener feels like they are chasing the main character voice through the ‘underground’ of tunneled empty rivers beneath ancient cathedrals. This imagery symbolizes the search by the main voice to find the truth behind the old paths and perceptions of Christianity, only to end in what sounds like a final face-off of the main voice being cornered in a watery tunnel somewhere in a shootout much like the stoning of Stephen (the apostle, not the Mason, as in Steve of the band) with the main voice turning in relentless surrender as he is shot down and lays down his weapons leaving everything of the past unchanged. The story does remind of Weapons on Longfall, but sang in a further grown, and deeper surrendered, character voice.
Inland - This is their single and title cut. And if you haven’t already bought it on iTunes, you need to stop reading this and go buy it. NOW. No, I mean really.
Okay. This could be a sequel to “This Road,” the single that accompanied the book, The Narrow Road: Stories of Those Who Walk This Road Together, in 2001 (available on Amazon.com. Authors; Brother Andrew et. al - a good read). This song really brings home the journey reached between Longfall and Shelter. Showing the need and support of Christ and community. The right kind of community. And the real kind of Christ. Not just someone’s perception of Him. This song is certainly the love song OF a Savior, to His beloved.
Fans! Keep Jars of Clay in your prayers and players!
“Inland” is available as a single on iTunes right now! Pre-order the full album August 13th at www.jarsofclay.com and BUY it EVERYWHERE August 27th! “After the Fight” single is also currently available on iTunes and Amazon.com.
Facebook DJ Deb has done interviews with independent Christian artists, authors and screen writers for her blog. She also spends her free time perfecting her unpublished Christian-genre screenplays. www.deborahruthdicksonwrites.blogspot.com
Artists include: Ann Gabhart, Bryan Duncan, Mali Korsten, Dan MacCaulay, Christopher Shawn Shaw, John Tibbs, Fourfold, Jerry T-Wack and more in the works!
Pray on and Play on, Jars! :)
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