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.
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