Jars Of Clay – Good Monsters

Jars Of Clay - Good MonstersAfter some sidesteps into rootsy country music influences, Jars Of Clay resumes their rock ‘n’ roll course with Good Monsters. Some country influences are still on display, but the past two albums’ flirtation with roots music really seemed to obscure what drew such an audience to the Jars in the first place: these guys can flat-out rock. The first single, “Dead Man (Carry Me)”, is one of the rockiest songs on the album, but it gives you a fair idea of what to expect here – decent, guitar-driven rock, maybe without leaning on studio technique as much as the group’s first two albums, strong vocals with great harmony work, and overall just a return to the group’s more familiar, catchy sound.

“Work” and “Dead Man” give things a fast-paced one-two punch of that return, and then things settle into a nice medium between the group’s rock sound and some of that recently-explored country/folk music territory, with “Good Monsters” and “Take Me Higher” being a couple more of the album’s strongest rock numbers. But while the music is good, the lyrics are outstanding. I have to single out “Work” especially, as it’s a very good example of why Jars Of Clay is one of the only Christian bands I listen to. The lyric “I have no fear of drowning / It’s the breathing that’s taking all this work” is emblematic of the group’s ability to lyrically address the fact that there is a struggle involved in being human and a there’s even a struggle involved in being a Christian – there are plenty of lyrics that address the “praise and worship” prerequisites of this genre of 4 out of 4music, but there are also plenty of mature lyrics like that one which acknowledge a struggle to stay on the straight and narrow. “Oh My God”‘s startling lyrical admission that “We all have a chance to murder” is another example of this (and it may in fact be the best song this band has ever done). That’s something that I don’t find nearly enough of in this genre of music – sort of like I can’t get enough Jars Of Clay. Highly recommended.

Order this CD

  1. Work (3:53)
  2. Dead Man (Carry Me) (3:19)
  3. All My Tears (3:45)
  4. Even Angels Cry (4:21)
  5. There Is A River (3:51)
  6. Good Monsters (4:05)
  7. Oh My God (6:05)
  8. Surprise (3:50)
  9. Take Me Higher (4:40)
  10. Mirrors & Smoke (3:58)
  11. Light Gives Heat (4:41)
  12. Water Under The Bridge (3:58)

Released by: Essential
Release date: 2006
Total running time: 50:26