With eleven original songs and a remake of Julie Miller's "All My Tears," Good Monsters stretches the imagination and offers a new perspective on today's church. The eighth full length album from Jars of Clay ranges from rootsy acoustic blues to driving modern rock, exploring themes of love and loss, faith, grace, and redemption. Features guest appearances from singer/songwriter Kate York ("All My Tears") and Sixpence None the Richer's Leigh Nash ("Mirrors and Smoke"). Additionally, the African Children's Choir is featured on the moving, "Light Gives Heat," a song inspired by work in Africa through Jars' non-profit organization, the Blood:Water Mission.
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Excellent Album, Top 10 of Decade!| Posted June 27, 2008
I've been a huge Jars of Clay fan since I first heard Flood over 10 years ago and I credit them for leading me to become a Christian. The self-titled debut album is one of the all-time best, and I've loved everything in-between, but Good Monsters is my 2nd favorite overall by Jars of Clay and one of the top 10 albums of the decade in my opinion.
What I love most is that Jars of Clay has managed to keep growing as a band. From the opening guitar riff of Work, I've been hooked by this album for the last 2 years. I just listened to the album for the 20th time and between Dead Man (Carry Me) , All My Tears, Good Monsters, There Is A River and Oh My God, this is the strongest album since the amazing debut. You can't help but be challenged by the introspective lyrics and uplifted by the alternative folksy rock that Jars of Clay pioneered.
Good Monsters| Posted July 29, 2008
This being my introduction to Jars of Clay I have had somewhat of a rollercoaster experience with Good Monsters. At first it was all I knew from them and I loved every moment of it. But as I dug deeper into their back catalogue I found that it was actually the worst album they've put out. It's not a bad album by any means, quite the contrary. It's just...different compared to their older work and overall not as consistent. That's the main problem with Good Monsters. Unlike past albums, this one has a few great songs followed by an average one or two ('Surprise' and 'Take Me Higher') and then a few more excellent tracks.
But enough of the negative, let's look at the positive. I love the melodies, the vocal hooks, the pop beats, all of it. The vocals are very strong and passionate, both things I love and look for. The music can also be very atmospheric and truly set the tone of a song as in 'Even Angels Cry'. Above all, there's a sense of urgency on this album and it's never shown better than on the song 'Oh My God'. The song just constantly builds and builds towards a high peak of a climax at which point it ends. They speak some truth that I think most bands would be afraid to voice. The lyrics are mostly cryptic except on a few songs, like 'All My Tears', which is a cover song. They definitely took a bold approach to this one to fill out the last of their initial contract with Essential Records. I look forward to seeing where they go on their own label now that they have all the creative freedom in the world.
Gems of this album are: 'All My Tears', 'Light Gives Heat', 'Dead Man (Carry Me)', 'Oh My God'
This album needs more Work| Posted March 18, 2008
From the title Good Monsters the album seems a little scary, and it gets creepier when their first single is called "dead man", plus the cover of the CD has a bunch of worn down cavemen. But really Jars of Clay is not focused on weird things (at least it didn't appear so), but putting out a musically and lyrically complex studio album; their eight in fact.
From the first taste of the album "dead man (carry me)" it looked like a serious rock album, and it was verified by the song "work", alas, the album does not have a serious sound, more of an off, light rock, upbeat sound that just doesn't fit them. The hit single "work" is a rock song with an excellent sound, the best part of the album in fact. While "dead man (carry me)" was good, it was grossly over played. After that though the albums entire mood changes. The light rock song (which is not even their song) "all my tears" is nice, but ends badly, and the soft "even angels cry" doesn't challenge anything musically.
The song "there is a river" is okay but nothing great, it's like a lot of the songs on the album: a slightly upbeat tune but nothing beyond that. The title track "good monsters" another odd light rock sound, is a lame song to title their album. "surprise" is not bad, but "Oh my God" and "take me higher" are not very impressive. A bright spot on the album is the song "mirrors and smoke" a more upbeat light rock song with guest staring Leigh Nash. The album ends with "water under the bridge" and "light gives heat which are nothing to brag about.
The lyrics are as odd as the music in some places. "work" has a bundle of interesting sayings but none outdo "I have no fear of drowning/it's the breathing that's taking all this work". "Dead man (carry me)" is based on getting rid of the old man (or dead one in this case) and putting on the new man, and "all my tears" has good lyrics. the songs "there is a river", "even angles cry", and "water under the bridge" leave something to be desired. A few other songs are confusing. "mirrors and smoke" is a love song but its falls with this lyric "You always make me sad/But that's what true love is all about".
With the exception of "Work and "dead man (carry me)", It takes a certain mood to enjoy most of these songs. That's a shame because from the outside (radio singles and previous albums) the album looked like another fun Jars of Clay release. Good Monsters is not a great one and might not even please Jars of Clay fans.
The best Jars since Jars| Posted February 10, 2011
I am not the type of person to give out 5 star reviews all the time. In fact, I save it for when I think an album is very special. I think this album is very special. :)
This album does not sound like a Jars album. If you're looking for that acoustic-y sound of their first release, you might be disappointed. However, I encourage you to give it a chance.
The album starts with two of its strongest pieces, "Work" and "Dead Man (Carry Me)". Both of these songs have very interesting lyrics, but that's not really what gets me. The driving build of the songs and the intense emotion of the song just make you want to sing along. "Work" was on repeat in my house for about a year after it came out, as I just love the song.
The next song, "All My Tears" is a cover, but I'd never heard it before, so it might as well have been a Jars original. They take the song and make it their own, and it's great. The next song, "Even Angels Cry" is my least favorite, as it's an awkward change in tempo, but it's still good. "There Is A River" and "Good Monsters" are both great entries, but probably not something you'll go home and tell your friends about.
The rest of the album is fantastic and some of the best songs to come out of the band in a while, in my opinion. The material covered in "Oh My God" and "Surprise" is a little darker for those people who only listen to worship and upbeat, happy Christian music, but I still think it's necessary. "Take Me Higher" is my least favorite of the last half, but I still listen and sing along to it. "Mirrors and Smoke" is a great duet that is a little different but very enjoyable. "Light Gives Heat" and "Water Under the Bridge" are both great songs that finish off an all-around fantastic album.
Some people give this album bad reviews simply because it's not normal Jars. I think we should applaud the band for taking a different and very successful approach to their music. This album still goes into my CD player regularly and doesn't come out until about 4 playthroughs. If you haven't bought this album, do so. You can get it used for cheap, and you won't regret your investment.
Great Album!| Posted September 29, 2010
After coming off Redemption Songs, an album of hymns, Jars of Clay returns to their old style and songs. Good Monsters is a great album by Jars of Clay. The album starts off with a catchy song Work. Then it moves on to Dead Man (Carry Me) which moves the rhythm up. All My Tears and Even Angels Cry are slower songs with good messages. There is A River and Good Monsters bring the rhythm back up and are both great songs. Oh My God and Surprise are slow songs without much catchiness. Take Me Higher is an upbeat catchy song. Mirrors and Smoke is another nice song to listen to. Light Gives Heat is a slow song with a catchy style to it that I enjoyed. The album ends with Water Under the Bridge which has a good message and tune.
The Good: Work and Dead Man (Carry Me) are both greats songs to kick-off this album. As for the slow songs, All My Tears, Even Angels Cry, and Light Gives Heat are the kinds of slow songs that I still enjoy listening to.
The Bad: Oh My God and Surprise are sorta bland in tune and not very catchy.
Conclusion: This is a very good album by Jars of Clay and one of my favorites from them. Jars of Clay did a great job writing this one and I'm sure that anyone who listens to it will agree with me.
Good Monsters| Posted April 10, 2009
When I first listened to the cd "Good Monsters" it kind of creeped me out. Some of the songs like "Dead Man" and "All My Tears" actually explored a topic that not many of us like to think about - death. This is the first unique quality I saw in "Good Monsters".
The next thing I noticed was the strangeness of the song "Good Monsters":
"Not all monsters are bad, but the ones who are good never do what they could."
Huh??? This song pretty much states that everyone is a monster whether they realize it or not. We are just left to decide if we are the bad monsters or the good.
The last thing I realized about this album was the really pretty lyrics in songs like "Water Under The Bridge" and "Even Angels Cry". Whoever is writing those songs has a way with words:
"There are times meant for breaking
And words to ignore
And a bent to our souls
When our skin is at war
If leaving were freedom
Well, we'd both walk right out of that door"
(from "Water Under the Bridge")
Overall, this album stood out to me. It was very original and it is now a new favorite of mine.
Really growing on me| Posted November 06, 2008
This album is really growing on me. I've never been a huge Jars of Clay fan but this album is full of beautiful melodies and solid lyrics. Oh My God is amazing and probably my favorite Jars of Clay song ever.
Giants Wake From Their Sleep| Posted July 09, 2008
It is the year 1995 – Atlantis visits Mir, France goes on strike, Microsoft joins forces with the Rolling Stones, and I hear “Flood” for the first time. Soon after this event, I discover the other brilliant “wet songs” (Liquid & Sinking) on their self titled album, and my love-affair with the music of Jars of Clay begins. Everything was going along quite predictably and smoothly until 2006, then it happened: “Good Monsters”. GM is an album that rose above, it is an album that grabbed my attention from the first listening and has never let go. Every song here is great, but tracks like Light Gives Heat, Dead Man and Oh My God transcend “great” and move readily into the realm of “brilliant”. And it doesn’t end there, the wonderful cover of Julie Miller’s “All My Tears”, and the Leigh Nash duet “Mirrors & Smoke” help cement this album as the best ever (without contest imho) by Jars. If you are not a fan of the band yet, or if you are thinking of buying into the Jars franchise, then this is the place to start.
Personal Highlights: Oh My God, Dead Man, All My Tears
dead man (carry me).| Posted April 27, 2008
the best song by them in the whole world!!!
i absolutly love it.
very up beat too.
its really catchy.
my mom even fell in love with it.
which is very rare that she would even listen to one of my favorite songs.
I enjoy this CD| Posted April 12, 2008
I really don't think there is anything scary about these songs, and although some think it is not their best I think lyrically it is sound. I think the title track Good Monsters is one of the best on the CD