Inland is “All it was meant to be” | Posted August 18, 2013 Staff Reviewer
Jars of Clay broke into the music scene with one of the all-time best selling debut albums, in 1995. The self-titled landmark release featured the biblically profound songs, "Flood," "Love Song for a Savior," and "Worlds Apart, " the messages of which I credit for leading me to Christ.
Over the past decade, arguably the band has released their best overall "Work," with each album topping the previous from "Good Monsters" to "The Long Fall Back to Earth," to Jars of Clay presents "The Shelter." Where does that rank the highly anticipated new release Inland, available everywhere August 27th?
That's the question I've been asking since I purchased opening track and lead single “After the Fight,” which is in the same lyrical style as the confessional and poignant songs "Forgive Me" and "Safe to Land." That type of transparency continues with the next songs, “Age of Immature Mistakes,” “Reckless Forgiver” and “Human Race.”
For me, examples of the highlights on this stellar release can be found in some of the "gourmet" phrases in these infectious songs, such as "My favorite shows have all canceled" in “Human Race.” Another standout song is “Love in Hard Times” where Dan affectionately sings "sometimes I just want to feel your hand in mine, still love in the hard times." The musical bed is very layered and ambient and most of the songs have a blend of "There Might Be a Light" meets "Light Gives Heat" to them, which is fantastic as they all allow listeners to really focus on these poignant and relevant words.
The song that stops me in my tracks is the haunting “Fall Asleep” which channels the vibe of R.E.M.'s "Everybody Hurts" and "Nightswimming" and I hang on every word. "Stay up with me, don't fall asleep, cause we only have this moment once in our lives...Let's make it all it was meant to be" is the hook and is somewhat the main theme of the album. “Skin & Bones,” “Left Undone” and “Inland” phrase the "Benediction" call to action "Go into the world showing how much He loves you" with songs about being in community. While celebrated for its music and writing, Jars of Clay is most concerned with the needs of others and about being in community. Compelled to make a difference, the group successfully launched the Blood:Water Mission, a non-profit organization promoting clean blood and water in Africa.
Jars of Clay has long been my favorite faith based band, and although they haven't been regularly played on practically any radio format in quite some time, their impact on today's best-selling Christian music artists is quite evident. Listen to hit songs by Sidewalk Prophets, Tenth Avenue North and Citizen Way, and you'll hear the alt-rock influence of Jars of Clay. Ideally the trend of sharing songs about real life issues such as "After the Fight," "Human Race" and "Loneliness and Alcohol" will spill over into mainstream Christian contemporary music as listeners know truth when they hear it and say Amen, even if they aren't followers of Jesus. That's the beauty and transparency of Inland. The stand-out songs for me on this brilliant album are "After the Fight,” “Age of Immature Mistakes,” “Reckless Forgiver,” “Human Race,” “Love in Hard Times,” “Fall Asleep” and “Inland.” Once again, Jars of Clay has released their newest "best" album and are at the top of their profession right now in my opinion. Inland is “All it was meant to be.”
Song to download now: “Fall Asleep”- https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/inland/id684305876