Acclaimed rock band Jars of Clay, known for its ground-breaking, intelligent music and humanitarian work worldwide, artfully explores matters of relationship and community through the songs on its tenth studio album The Long Fall Back To Earth. The highly anticipated 14-track project releases April 21 on Gray Matters/Essential Records.
From the band’s earliest days to the present, innovation has marked each step of Jars of Clay’s musical journey with The Long Fall Back To Earth serving as no exception. It’s a big, lush, confident, gutsy sound that dominates the new tracks, leaving the listener with a different thought for each new story told, each new emotion conveyed.
As with all previous Jars of Clay projects, it’s the lyrical content that draws listeners into a fuller appreciation of the songs. Lead vocalist/lyricist Dan Haseltine delves into the bare bones reality of the beauty and tension of relationships, and what makes them worth fighting for, a common thread that has tied everyone exposed to Jars of Clay’s music together for more than a decade.
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Another Winner From Jars of Clay| Posted April 07, 2009
Jars of Clay have been making great music for over a decade now. Their last big release was in 2006, with the rocking Good Monsters. Now, an EP, a phenomenal Christmas album, and a change to their own label later, Jars of Clay is back with their new album.
The album opens with "The Long Fall" which is primarily an interlude that leads into "Weapons" which is a typical great Jars song.
Next comes the first single, "Two Hands," which is very enjoyable. Other great songs include "Heaven" and "Don't Stop." Also included on this album are the new songs from last year's Closer EP, "Closer" and "Safe To Land." Both are enjoyable and fit well with the album.
A highlight of the album is the soft "Boys (Lesson One)" in which the guys of JoC give words of wisdom to their sons.
Following that is an album highlight and arguably an album highlight, "Hero." This song with used in promotion for NBC's show King's. The song is great rock tune and is likely to become another classic Jars hit.
After that, the album kind of slows down. The final four songs are by no means bad, but they are not as memorable as most of the preceding ones were and tend to run together somewhat.
However, the album is definitely another great one from Jars of Clay. While it's not outstanding from start to finish, it's at least very good from start to finish and during it's highlights, it is indeed quite outstanding.
Jars Of Clay [The Long Fall Back To Earth]| Posted April 15, 2009 [MAIN REVIEW]
Jars of Clay has built an extraordinary career based on the uncompromising integrity of its music, worldview, and humanitarianism. Jars of Clay’s last album, Good Monsters, was my favorite Jars of Clay album since the amazing self-titled debut. That album managed to reinvent the band’s sound while tackling subjects as diverse and demanding as social responsibility, spiritual doubt and the duality of the human heart. Now, three years later, Jars of Clay returns with The Long Fall Back To Earth. The album’s first single, “Two Hands,” builds on the duality theme from “Good Monsters.” Haseltine’s lyrics observe, “I use one hand to pull you closer / The other to push you away,” before going on to suggest that this internal conflict can be overcome with a simple, but profound course of action: “Two hands doing the same thing / Lifted high.” According to Dan Haseltine: “‘Two Hands’ was the last song we wrote for the record. We'd been trying to find a way to try to connect all the various themes of the album--relationships, faith, social justice--with one unifying anthem.”
That desire to connect is the primary theme of The Long Fall Back To Earth and nowhere is it more explicitly stated than in “Closer,” the first song recorded for the record. When Haseltine sings “I’ll drop out of the race for more personal space / ‘Cause the rockets we’re in get so cold, and I miss your skin,” he’s never sounded more direct or personal. One of the last songs written for the record is the instrumental opener “The Long Fall,” which gently introduces the theme of the record before giving way to the marching wake-up call of the song “Weapons.”
This is the most amazing album I’ve heard in the past year and ranks right with Third Day’s Revelation last year. Jars of Clay has managed to channel the best of themselves, almost unanimously agreed to be the self-titled debut album and give fans what they’ve come to expect with anthems like “Weapons,” “Two Hands,” “Safe To Land” and “Heaven,” the stand-out songs for me. However similar to Third Day, they’ve also mixed up their sound and pulled out all of the stops with inventive new electronic songs like the instrumental opener “The Long Fall,” “Closer,” “Don’t Stop,” “Boys (Lesson One)” and the closing song “Heart.” I immediately replayed the songs “Hero” and “Scenic Route,” which are both amazing instrumentally and lyrically.
I’ll be measuring all other albums this year against “The Long Fall To Earth”. Whether you are a long-time fan of Jars of Clay or have recently discovered them, you won’t be disappointed with this album which for me is a 5 star masterpiece.
Top 10 Album Of 2009| Posted January 04, 2010
These guys are on a roll and The Long Fall Back To Earth may be the album that finally surpasses their debut in terms of quality from start to finish. After 2006's stellar Good Monsters, and 2003's equally impressive Who We Are Instead, Jars Of Clay continues to produce creative music and engaging lyrics that few other bands are matching.
The Long Fall Back To Earth, the band's tenth studio album, is a captivating collection that kicks off with the engaging instrumental song "The Long Fall" and doesn't let go until the last electronic beat of the album's final track, "Heart." The Long Fall trades in the acoustic guitars from their debut for synthesizers, creating a very raw electronic drive, powered by key lines and beats that sound lifted from a Joy Electric album. Lead vocalist/lyricist Dan Haseltine delves into the bare bones reality of the beauty and tension of relationships, and what makes them worth fighting for, a common thread that has tied everyone exposed to Jars of Clay’s music together for more than a decade.
Stand out tracks include "Closer," "Two Hands," "Safe To Land" and "Hero." This album not only sounds different from everything else out there, it feels different as well. There's a greater purpose to most of these songs that require repeat listenings to fully appreciate the depth both musically and lyrically. What makes this one of the best albums of the year is the fact that these songs get better the more you explore them, and that's a very rewarding process to experience over and over again.
A Long Rise Back To The Sky| Posted April 21, 2009
Some 15 years after their classic debut and Jars of Clay has seen its share of changes, from rock, to folk rock, back to rock, but nothing in-between. All that changes here. Taking many cues from their Christmas album, Jars of Clay is establishing themselves with a melodic and inspired sound that's as well-put together as it is written. Mixing some folk, some rock, and something completely different, Jars of Clay crafts the songs, and takes time with them to bring the best product. This method doesn't make for radio-friendly fodder, but it does make for great music, which Jars of Clay does here.
The Long Fall
And those are just the songs that stood out in my mind after the first listen. The project is devoid of bad tracks, and I only found the closer to be a bit strange with its atmospheric and electronic instrumentation. But throughout the album the instrumentation is excellent, and is the true highlight of the album.
Overall, it may not be for everybody, but for anybody that can dig the melodic and inspired instrumentation that permeates the album, it's an excellent listen. It is a must for multiple listens, and it truly is an experience. Add to that 14 tracks, and an hour worth of material, and you certainly got your money's worth.
A fun Fall| Posted April 15, 2009
Ever since Jars of Clay’s self titled debut in 1995, the band have been one of the premier Christian artists. From frequently reaching the top of Christian music charts to reaching across to the mainstream aisle, Jars of Clay has been consistently putting out cutting edge music that appeals to a large crowd. Their latest album, The Long Fall Back to Earth, is a wonderful example of why the group has reached so much success. The first of many artistic singles to come “Two Hands” displays that time hasn’t worn down Jars of Clay’s soft-handed approach to piano fueled pop rock.
Devoted fans might have been upset that two songs from the Closer EP made the cut, but both the haunting ballad “safe to land” and the infectious, upbeat, synth-influenced sound of “closer” are terrific songs and hardly interrupt the other twelve brand new songs. The progressive piano sound of the instrumental opener “the long fall” transitions well to “weapons”, a fine track which unfortunately lacks the complexity to be a highlight. Even though there is a large amount of diversity on The Long Fall Back to Earth there are a few spots there the attempt to be original falls over the top. After a long intro the upbeat “Scenic Route" hits a bump with its attempted innovative bridge and the small techno influence “don’t stop” isn’t convincing. Still most of the album remains fresh with great songs ranging from the genius ballad “headphones”, to the slightly edgy pop tune “heaven”, to the solemn finale “heart”.
Whether it’s “tea and sympathy” or “mirrors and smoke” or “love is a protest” Jars of Clay has always been aware of the frustrations of love and it’s that topic which the album centers on. Both “Forgive me” and “safe to land” speak of the need for forgiveness (The latter states: ‘I’m in no weather for apology/I need your runway lights to burn for me’) because to the singer ‘the long fall back to earth is the hardest part.’ Fans will probably consider “There Might Be a Light” and “Heart” to be more cliché ridden than most Jars of Clay songs, but when the band switches topics strong stuff arises. “Boys (lesson one)” gives advice to young men ranging from revenge to leaving home ‘you’re not alone/Not since I saw you start breathing on your own/You can leave, you can run, this will still be your home.’ The most spiritually influenced song is “two hands” which talks about a conflicted relationship with our creator (‘I’m a liar who thirsts for the truth…I use one hand to pull you closer/The other to push you away’).
The lack of God centered lyrics might be a little disconcerting (“Hero” rightly states that ‘we need a hero/To save us from ourselves’ but suggests maybe God isn’t listening to us), but there is should enough to keep fans thinking about war, mercy, and eternity. On the musical spectrum, Jars of Clay keeps producing outstanding new music which will have old, and perhaps, new fans alike jumping after The Long Fall Back to Earth.
The Best Jars of Clay CD every made!| Posted October 12, 2010
After listening to this cd, I was surprised out how good it was! I like Jars of Clay a lot and knew that they were a great band, but I wasn't ready for them to make an album as good as this!
The album starts of with the music intro The Long Fall which turns into Weapons, which is a great song to listen to. The next song is Two Hands. This is the best song on the entire record, and I can't stop listening to it! Heaven and Closer keep the album running strong. Then, it moves to a slower rhythm with Safe to Land and Headphones. These are both very good songs and I really like them a lot too. The rhythm speeds up for Don't Stop and then drops back down for Boys (Lesson One), another great slow song. Hero and Scenic Route are a couple faster songs which are pretty good too, though not as good as the earlier songs from the record. The last three songs; There Might Be A Light, Forgive Me, and Heart; provide a great ending to a great album.
The Good: My favorites from this album would Weapons, Two Hands, Heaven, Safe To Land, and Forgive Me.
The Bad: I cannot find anything bad about this album, just good stuff!
Conclusion: If you like good Christian music, you will not want to miss this album which I believe is the best album Jars of Clay has ever released and the best Christian music album of 2009!!!
Not all Dove Award winning artists are too far gone| Posted March 25, 2010
Good Monsters had a good number of great songs and the newest release from Jars of Clay follows the same pattern. My personal favorite is Headphones because it speaks to a sin that many of us have yet usually pay no attention to: indifference.
Other great tracks are There Might Be A Light, Closer, Boys(Lesson One) and Heart. Jars of Clay continues to prove that a Dove Award nomination is not a death blow to an artist's creativity. Now, if only other nominees followed JoC's example.
One of the best of 2009| Posted February 21, 2010
This is definately one of the best albums to be released in 2009. I can listen through the whole cd and love every track. 'Headphones' and 'Closer' are definate favorites.
Nice| Posted December 25, 2009
I like this cd pretty well. The first two songs I heard from it, Two Hands and Boys (Lesson One), are still my favortie songs, but it could change since the others havn't had time to sink in yet. I only listened to the full album once through and I seemed to think they were turning kinda a little more mainsteam lyrically which isn't my favorite, but I still liked a lot. I especially liked it musically. It's a good album.
Jars of Clay: True Art| Posted September 25, 2009
I have never heard a Jars of Clay album I didn't like. The have been consistently good, yet no two albums are alike. The fact that they have so many sounds and that all of them are good should tell you that they are incredible musicians.
From the moment I first heard Long Fall, I thought it was great. But the more I listen to it, the more I love it. It is definitely one of their best.
I see that there are already a number of reviews for this album, so I just want to comment on their artistic quality (I assume that everything else you want to know has already been provided for you).
Jars has an amazing talent of fitting their sound with their lyrics.
Take for example "Closer". When it starts out Haseltine's voice sounds like it is coming in over a walkie-talkie (but with better quality). Half-way through the first verse, it switches to sound like he's right next to you. As they near the chorus, the background vocals join in. You can tell just by the title that the theme of the lyrics is reflected in the vocal progression.
"Scenic Route" is a great song. You can just close your eyes to picture driving down the road with someone in your passenger seat. Then you can feel the connection between you two, as well as the emotions. Jars creates a great mood with the mandolin, which I love.
"Hero" sounds like a call out for a savior - not a man wearing tights and a cape, but a savior nonetheless. Yet the cry is not one of desperation, which is fitting since we are not only the victims, but the "villians" as well. Instead the music and the vocals give you a sense of realization that we are in need of assistance, as well as a sense that we've run out of options - that we can't do this on our own. It tells us the same things that the lyrics do.
My favorite song is "Headphones". When you hear the music during the verses, you can tell that the musicians are trying to push matters aside. When the chorus comes, that music is overlayed with a new sound, a sound which gives you the feeling of contentment, of being in your own world.
Trust me, the lyrics are amazing. I just think it's even more amazing that you could take the lyrics out and I would still be able to tell what each song is about. That takes skill, and Jars has skill.
Awesome CD| Posted June 22, 2009
I had "Two Hands" chorus in my head recently before Philmont's "The Difference" replaced it. This CD was great. My favorites were "Two Hands" "Scenic Route" and "Forgive Me". As a writer I can appreciate the lyrics by themselves too. "The Long Fall" -curious choice for a beginning- mostly instrumental. "Heart"- why the long closing? As for the two tracks with Katie Herzig, she added almost nothing to the songs. It would've been more interesting to have more involvement. "Mirrors and Smoke" from Good Monsters was a much better example of having a female guest artist.