Jars Of Clay
Jars Of Clay


4.5
superb

Review

by TheZehan USER (9 Reviews)
March 7th, 2012 | 32 replies


Release Date: 1995 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The best debut I've ever heard from a Christian alternative band... ever!

Sadly, this is as good as Jars of Clay ever got or will ever get. They won't ever capture the listener's mind with the catchiest of acoustic guitar parts mixed with the compliments of drum loops. The strings add a whole epic sound to the music, which mixed with the guitars and drum loops, make a defined sound that will characterize Jars of Clay away from any other type of music I, at least, have ever heard. The best description I can give their sound would be alternative folk. This self-titled beauty really captivates the mind for the entirety of its length and sends the listener into a musical bliss that can't be described. Hopefully others feel this peaceful nirvana I happen to encounter every time I hear this true masterpiece.

Dan Haseltine-Vocals, drum loops
Matt Odmark-Acoustic guitar, drum loops
Stephen Mason-Acoustic guitar, bass guitar, mandolin, background vocals, drum loops
Charlie Lowell-Organ, keyboards, piano, background vocals, drum loops

Three men, Dan, Matt, and Charlie, all whom were friends, majored in "Contemporary Christian Music" in college and had a specific passion for creative, original music. They tried many small projects, but none ever got off their feet. One glorious day however, they met a man with similar music interests, Stephen Mason. They recorded demos and tried to define a sound that hadn't been abused yet. They were all avid christians who wanted to join the ranks of the Steven Curtis Chapman's, DC Talk's, Amy Grant's and Michael W. Smith's, who all dominated the early christian contemporary scene. The only difference between these other hit Christian artists and Jars of Clay is the fact that JoC's musical style will grab fans, christian or not, who enjoyed fantastic instrumental journeys and melodic, but not overpowering, vocals. They were quickly signed to Essential records and produced their self-titled debut, Jars of Clay.

Most, whom know the band, know them for the songs "Flood" and "Like a Child". "Flood" is and will always be my favorite Jars of Clay song, and is one of my top 10 songs to this day. The lead guitar part is easily the catchiest the band will ever achieve. I remember being 5 years old and trying to pretend playing this on an umbrella in the back of my dad's truck (God never intended for me to play any type of guitar). The limited drums keep the eerie feel and Dan's vocals match the feel perfectly. Stephen's added vocals on the pre-chorus and chorus blend well and add extra emphasis to those parts. The cello and violin in the bridge always gave me chills as a kid and change the normal styled bridge from the usual sound of being at or above the volume of the chorus. "Like a Child" is another favorite with some of the best lyrics on the album. The acoustic guitars mix great together with limited lead guitar and much more rhythm guitar than in most other tracks. The chorus brings in a great sounding drum loop and the lyrics show the obvious christian influence behind the music, quoting famous bible verses and stories. The kids brought into the bridge also leaves me smiling every time I hear them saying generic kind phrases.

The other highlights I must mention are "Love Song for a Savior", "Boy on a String", and "World's Apart". Besides "Boy on a String", theses songs contain great imagery and mellow music that combine to create an enjoyable audible experience. The chorus of "Love Song for a Savior" may seem cliche, but you can feel the passion in Dan's voice that makes this feel genuine. Whomever they brought in to sing the female parts in the chorus of "World's Apart" also perform to perfection. "Boy on a String" follows the feel of the first two songs mentioned in the third paragraph, except for the strings playing a much more vital part in the organization of the musical parts. The intro shows the ability to use strings as the lead focus and how the acoustic parts can stay original but not overpower the rest of the song. The verses are a great example of this, especially with the upbeat tempo. The chorus combines the two singers voice for a great memorable moment off the album. The bridge is a favorite of mine with the lines "Just a boy" fading and fading while the strings play their lead part. They really show how well these instruments complement each other in this song specifically.

In conclusion, this is my childhood favorite album. You would think, because I said this, that this album is a simple copy of any other band mother's made their overprotected kids listen to. This is not Nickelback, Daughtry, or any other generic band with a recycled sound that bores the listener quickly. Jars of Clay's sound will satisfy the musical appetite for anyone who wishes for there to be true meaning behind the music, accompanied by instrumentals that take the listener on a ride to a land filled with peace, beauty, and lots of well tuned acoustic guitars.

Liquid:4/5
Sinking: 3.5/5
Love Song for a Savior: 5/5
Like a Child: 5/5
Art In Me: 4/5
He: 4/5
Boy on a String: 5/5
Flood: 5/5
Worlds Apart:4.5/5
Blind: 3.5/5
Four Seven: 3/5



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Comments:Add a Comment 
TheZehan
March 6th 2012


389 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Please leave feedback showing all mistakes I've made. I tried really hard on this review and spent lots of time in research
and proofreading, so hopefully it paid off. I also didn't explain every song individually as well, which was a tip I received
multiple times. Hopefully this is a satisfactory review. Thanks for the read and please leave advice and constructive
criticism.

Edit: I also refrained form giving this a 5/5, so hopefully this is an appropriate rating.

someguest
March 6th 2012


20879 Comments


It's pretty cool that this took off so well considering its acoustic base sound.

Digging: Dexter Gordon - Our Man in Paris

TheZehan
March 6th 2012


389 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Did I misspell bass? which paragraph? I don't remember ever saying that.

someguest
March 6th 2012


20879 Comments


No, I'm saying the base of their sound is in the acoustic guitar on this album, and I'm surprised it became as popular as it did.

TheZehan
March 6th 2012


389 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

It's just different having an album with no live drums and little bass guitar. I grew up on this album, so hopefully this isn't too biased.

TheZehan
March 6th 2012


389 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I was trying to be as original as the album. Using imagery and how I feel when I listen to it. Kinda like how a stoner would enjoy any Nirvana or Pink Floyd album. Just trying to be creative.

Funeralopolis
March 6th 2012


11585 Comments


This review is an improvement and I can tell you put effort into it good job. However you still have a ways to go however, you are definitely on the right track.

Here' some tips:
-You go a bit too deep into the origin of the band which is irrelevant to a review, if someone has never heard this before (which is your target audience) then why would they care?

- I feel that you still kind of do a track by track review still just not all the songs. You never really say why the songs succeed or fail to a cohesive extent. In terms of the album, you kind of just state what happens without justifying what you like it.

-You mention moods in the album but you never explain the atmosphere, what it sounds like or how it is created.

-stop giving song ratings at the end because it just makes people mad lol. Just put your top 3 tracks or something.

-You go off topic a bit in a few spots.

- The 3rd paragraph reads awkwardly in general and doesn't really say much.

-You bring up catchiness constantly in your reviews but do not say what makes it so infectious.


I won't neg because it does not deserve to be negged, keep it up. I am just trying to help.




Digging: Black Milk - If There's a Hell Below

TheZehan
March 6th 2012


389 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Got it, thanks for the advice. I wanted to try something different and show some history. I get the TBT feel, but I tried to only touch on key songs. I'll try to fix that later. Please explain how I didn't explain the atmosphere, sound or creation of the sound. I would like to know the differences between those three and mood. If my off topic parts are my playing the guitar on an umbrella, that was intended to prove the catchiness and spirit of the song, and I don't exactly see how the 3rd paragraph reads well. I figured catchiness was a subjective term that everyone would understand (and I thought I toned down on that term in this one). And I thought people would want to know my opinion on every track, especially when I leave tracks out. This one averaged out to a 4.25, which is a reasonable 4.5/5 anyway.

Funeralopolis
March 6th 2012


11585 Comments


Read some staff reviews they never rate each track, you can talk about some songs in the album as if to prove a point about the album.

Generally well written reviews contain:
- you took about the album overall, give a very brief description of band or compare to previous albums.

- Describes the album's atmosphere overall and justifies it with examples from songs.

-Talk about what each instrument does on the album how it serves to drive the album forward (or major instruments).

- Why the album unique.




TheZehan
March 6th 2012


389 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Got it, I tried to be creative and dreamlike with my descriptions (ie. the last sentence). I figured that counted as atmosphere. I talked a lot about uniqueness and about my top songs (even if it was TBT format). I mentioned the instruments at the beginning and their roles as well I think. This isn't supposed to sound snotty but I'm just curious how these points don't match those points you mentioned in great reviews, besides the TBT at the end.

Maniac!
March 6th 2012


26250 Comments


your reviewing is getting better.


the song ratings at the end of all of them are a waste and clutter up your review.

Funeralopolis
March 6th 2012


11585 Comments


you don't have to be creative and dreamlike in your description you just have accurately describe the overall sound and tone of the album.

TheZehan
March 6th 2012


389 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I get the point. I see no one wants them. My next one won't have one and we'll see how it goes.

TheZehan
March 6th 2012


389 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I just painted the picture the album painted for me. Kinda like how Nirvana and Pink Floyd touches people, through a psychedelic feel (or at least Pink Floyd).

Eko
March 6th 2012


2119 Comments


I've been meaning to pick this up for a while actually.

TheZehan
March 6th 2012


389 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I'm not surprised you've never heard of them. This is the music my parents approved of a 5 year old listening to, but I loved it all the same. I remember asking to play "Flood" over and over again in the car. I never got tired of this. Hopefully the rating matched the review this time.

TheZehan
March 6th 2012


389 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

And Eko, I couldn't recommend this more. Fantastic album if you life the softer, more beautiful side of life.

Maniac!
March 6th 2012


26250 Comments


"I just painted the picture the album painted for me. Kinda like how Nirvana and Pink Floyd touches people, through a psychedelic feel (or at least Pink Floyd)."


That was pretentious as fuck.


Write the damn review and stop trying to be so artsy with a mechanical writing outlet. If you wanna do something creative, stop trying so hard.

TheZehan
March 6th 2012


389 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Oh, sorry. I figured it would flow well and show the mood of the album. It was just to make the review seem more professional I guess. And I wanted to match the creativity of the album with a creative review. Sorry, if it didn't work. It'll just be for this one album anyway.

fromtheinside
March 6th 2012


18717 Comments


Jars of Clay... Nice

Digging: Devin Townsend Project - Z2



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