With the recent September 5th release of “Good Monsters,” Jars of Clay have continued their legacy of exploring new musical heights. They have evolved musically to a Christian music giant, though their hairstyles have reverted back to their original long-haired grunge look. They are getting older, but their music continues to be interesting and unique. Here are my top ten songs by the Jar boys.
10. The Valley Song (Sing of Your Mercy)-Furthermore: From the Studio to the Stage
This appeared on one of their hits albums (though they didn’t technically have hits album before, they did have a previously released live album that could be considered such). This song is simple and praiseworthy. A basic acoustic instrumental perfectly matches Dan Haseltine’s soft, distinctive voice.
9. Disappear-The Eleventh Hour
The Eleventh Hour was a stark contrast to If I Left the Zoo. The latter was a very strange musical assortment of tunes that didn’t seem to fit Jars beloved style. However, The Eleventh Hour redeemed them with a strong rock-based collection. The religious themes were not as overt (unless you are familiar with what the title track is talking about) and “Disappear” can simply be a good rock alternative song since it is merely a boy-girl relationship theme.
8. Revolution-The Eleventh Hour
This is a cheer-up song. “So if you know the words/ try to sing along,” Dan’s pseudo deep voice growls as the song dares you to revolt! Against what? I’m not sure, but I think it has something to do with musical unity? Their lyrical mystery is part of their appeal, as well as Dan’s willingness to try new vocal styles and tones; that man is amazingly versatile.
7. Unforgetful You-If I Left the Zoo
At first fans were a little skeptical of this album. The sound was so different than their past work. It definitely had a very strange quality to it-a mixture of techno, pop, rock, and circus music? Well, despite bad album reviews, “Unforgetful You” was another crossover success. The electronics are interestingly contrasted with Dan Haseltine’s attempt at a deeper voice. Although you can’t quite figure out what the chant is in the background, the song is enjoyable nonetheless. Something different, yet it grows on you.
6.Lesser Things-Who We Are Instead
This song sounds more like a warning than anything else. They warn us not to give our efforts to the “god of the lesser things.” Dan asks, “Is there grace for the wayward heart?” The music seems very ominous, but in reality this is a hopeful song that challenges our spiritual complacency; this is, of course, Jars’ favorite theme.
5. Crazy Time-Much Afraid
The guitar solo in the middle of this song is a fan favorite (Steve Mason used to try to play his guitar with his teeth). The riveting guitars and an exciting chorus line give “Crazy Times” solid rock flair.
4.Sunny Days-Who We Are Instead
Who We Are Instead came out very shortly after The Eleventh Hour. In comparison, Who We Are Instead is more melodic and pop sounding than the vibrating electric guitar of The Eleventh Hour. “Sunny Days” is so catchy you’ll be singing along the first time you listen to it.
3. Art in Me-Jars of Clay
The lyrics are masterful in this song-clever weaving of imagery and a pleading chorus that awakens us to the art we see around us. The lyrics, “Images on the sidewalk speak of dreams descent/ washed away by storms to graves of cynical lament/ dirty canvases to call my own/ protest limericks carved by the old pay phone,” have to be the most impressive use of vocabulary I’ve seen to date. You just can’t top that kind of lyrical composition!
2. Liquid-Jars of Clay
You’ve got to love this song! The Gregorian chanting is amazing and a very nice touch. The song sounds both ancient and modern at the same time, something only Jars could pull off with memorable results.
1. Flood-Jars of Clay
Of course this is the number one on my list seeing as this is the song that introduced them to the world of Christian and Rock music. The mystery of the lyrics makes it unique in sound and theme. Jars have come a long way since “Flood,” but it’s still their number one classic.