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20 Reviews

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2014 release from the Christian rockers. To celebrate 20 years of music making, the men of Jars of Clay have jumped in the studio to record a collection of 20 intimate acoustic versions of songs chosen by their fans. The project has two songs from each of their award winning studio albums recorded live, along with the accompaniment of small string ensembles, and a few friends. The set also includes two new tracks.

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Kevin Davis

June 6, 2016 at 9:51 am
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
A Stirring Celebration, August 19, 2014
Kevin Davis (Perkasie, PA) –

This review is from: 20 (Audio CD)
I’m eternally grateful to the music of Jars of Clay for helping bring me to Christ. From the opening notes of “Flood” and then my continual listening of “Liquid,” “Worlds Apart” and “Love Song for a Savior” from their self-titled debut, they quickly became my favorite band. A few years later, I became immersed in Christian music and gave my life to Christ in 1999 thanks to Christian music leading me to the truth of the Gospel: I’ll never be good enough to earn eternal life. Jesus paid that price on my behalf and died for my sins and wants me to call on Him to be my Savior and “take my world apart.”

With the fresh new acoustic and string-backed recordings of “Fade to Grey” and “Worlds Apart” that opens this fan selected twenty song collection celebrating twenty years of Jars of Clay making music, it’s clear that the theme of the old Irish proverb “It is in the shelter of each other that the people live” runs throughout this excellent album.

If you’ve always loved this band like me, this album will have you hooked right from the opening notes of this gorgeous new recording of “Worlds Apart.” As Christians, we can all relate to the vulnerable and sincere crying out in the bridge “Did You really have to die for me / All I am for all You are because what I need / And what I believe are worlds apart / And I pray, Take my world apart.”

“Boys” is a powerful and moving song. At a concert, Dan Haseltine shared, “Four of us have kids, and our boys are always asking questions about things that matter. Sadly, we’re a generation that cares deeply about things that don’t matter. So we wrote this song to our boys.” Dan achingly sings “I’ve been where you’re going and it’s not that far. You’ll get there in time.”

“Dead Man” sings “I’m just a dead man lying on the carpet / can’t find a heartbeat / I want to be a new man / tired of the old plan.” The message is a great one for Christians, that we are all new in Christ.

“Oh My God” is one of my favorite songs from Good Monsters and really brings me to my knees in prayer of adoration to my Savior. The song really connects with me, as sometimes I feel lost and confused regarding what God’s will is in my life and when I look at the world, I know our suffering is temporal and we need to live for heaven and cry out to God, and He’ll hear us.

“Safe to Land,” which the band calls “our fighting song,” is a poignant relationship song that sings “I guess forgiveness hasn’t happened yet, is it safe to land? The long fall back to earth is the hardest part.” It is truly an honest and transparent love song, and having been married 20 years, the song really speaks to me personally and reminds me of the commandment from Colossians 3:13 (NIV): “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”

Another standout song is “Love in Hard Times,” where Dan affectionately sings “sometimes I just want to feel your hand in mine, still love in the hard times.” The musical bed on these recordings is very layered and ambient, which allows listeners to really focus on these poignant and relevant words.

I get choked up when I pray along with “Love Song,” my all-time favorite song by Jars of Clay, especially when Dan sings “Someday we’ll trust Him and learn how to see Him. I want to fall in love with You.” I credit that song and “Worlds Apart” for leading me to seek a personal relationship with Jesus. I am eternally grateful to their music ministry for speaking Truth into my life and drawing me to my Savior. I can’t think of a better way to cap off this incredible album.

Closing Thoughts (Staff Review, NewReleaseTuesday.com):
For the past twenty years, Jars of Clay have consistently released great quality songs and never forsake message as they craft amazing melodies. Every song is powerful and moving, a fitting tribute to their stellar and influential career. There is something for everyone on this brilliant and stirring collection of songs. They will move you emotionally with their songs “Worlds Apart,” “Silence,” “No One Loves Me Like You,” “Jealous Kind” and “Love Song.” They will move you physically with their great anthems “Collide,” “God Will Lift Up Your Head,” “Trouble Is” and “Dead Man.” Something I love most about Jars of Clay is how they’ll make you think about your relationships with people, especially with “If You Love Her,” “Safe to Land,” “Boys,” “Inland” and “Love in Hard Times.” After all, Jesus commands us to “love one another.” This album challenges me to love God and people well.

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Schenley M. Pilgram

June 6, 2016 at 10:32 am
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
Wow, what a spectacular way to celebrate 20 years of music!, August 20, 2014
Schenley M. Pilgram (Central PA USA) –

This review is from: 20 (Audio CD)
This is not a “Greatest Hits” collection, but rather a set of fan-favorites. (No, really, they asked us. We voted.) More than that, it’s a collection of favorite songs we fans wanted to hear re-recorded. Since we already have 8 official recordings/remixes of “Flood,” you won’t find that on here!

This is also not a sloppy one-take album, folks. These songs have exceptional production value without being over-produced. Each instrument and vocal is clear and sounds like it’s in the room with you, with the exception of the strings, which are beautifully arranged to blend in rather than stand out in most of the tracks. The strings are exceptional. These new arrangements are mostly acoustic – an electric guitar slips in there a few times, and I’m glad! A few old friends returned to lend their voices and talents, adding a special touch to the record. Because these songs were chosen by fans, the band treated them with extra care, and that is evident when you listen to this album.

The only new arrangement that I don’t particularly care for is “God Will Lift Up Your Head,” but I’m quite partial to the original. And my preference isn’t going to decrease my rating; to quote Wayne’s World, “I mean, Led Zeppelin didn’t write tunes that everyone liked. They left that to the Bee Gees.” They more than make up for it with tracks like “Trouble Is.”

Listening to this album I was also struck by the control Dan displays in his vocals; I may have simply never noticed before, but it seemed to me that the emotions were stronger. The sweet tenderness of “Boys,” the desperation of “I Need Thee,” the intensity of “Collide.”

When I listen to the final track, Dan is singing the classic lyrics of “Love Song for a Savior,” but my heart hears the band expressing gratitude. Of course, I could be projecting here. “Thank you” is all I have to say to these guys.

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Legally Red

June 6, 2016 at 10:42 am
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
A trip through the history of Jars of Clay., August 19, 2014

This review is from: 20 (Audio CD)
So, I’ve listened to Jars of Clay since their first commercial release. I’ve seen them in concert probably at least 10 times, met them at the radio station I worked at, was a member of their fan club, yada yada yada. Their music has gotten me through sleepless nights, long drives, and I’ve recorded my own version of Worlds Apart just for the fun of it.

These guys are the real deal. Their music has stood the test of time, and these new versions are like Jars of Clay: All Grown Up.

The album opens with Fade to Grey and takes you on a journey through all of their studio albums (minus the Shelter).

Disc: 1

1. Fade To Grey – I wore this song out when Much Afraid came out. I’ve had the MP3 download of this album for two weeks because I ordered it on PledgeMusic. If you could wear out an MP3, this one would be worn out. The harmonies are still fresh, the lyrics are still good, it’s just a phenomenal song.

2. Worlds Apart – this arrangement is gorgeous. strings, vocals, this is arguably my all time favorite Jars song and I’m so glad it was included.

3. Tea and Sympathy – updated and fresh, but not a stand out to me.
4. Silence – This is a great update of a song that was overlooked I feel like when it came out the first time.
5. No One Loves Me Like You – From If I Left the Zoo, a fresh take on a lyrically dense song.
6. Collide – probably my least favorite. I wasn’t a fan of the pounding treble piano.
7. Jealous Kind – Oh. my. Word. This is probably my 2nd favorite on this album. The harmonies are spot on and spectacular. I really enjoyed how the harmonies were used as an accent. The choir at the end was also great.
8. God Will Lift Up Your Head – Not a standout, but not bad.
9. Ghost In The Moon – This is a new song and it’s great. The guitar solos through out are restrained but gut wrenching.
10. If You Love Her – delicate and tender, a new offering from Jars to round out the first disc.

Disc: 2
1. Trouble Is – a nice jam, but not on the top of my list.
2. Something Beautiful – Revived off the Eleventh Hour, a good refurbishment.
3. I Need Thee – I liked the Hymns album, but over all it wasn’t my favorite Jars outing, but this is a nice update.
4. Boys – This is also in the top 5 of my Jars catalog favorites. It’s a killer song to begin with but this new arrangement is beautiful.
5. Dead Man – Another solid update but nothing earth shattering.
6. Oh My God – I challenge you to listen to this song and not cry. It’s heartbreaking and this arrangement just adds to the heartbreak.
7. Safe To Land – Another favorite. Wonderful new arrangement.
8. Inland – It’s strange to hear a new version of this song so soon after the album came out, but surprisingly, they actually found new things to do with it. That’s talent right there.
9. Love In Hard Times – Again, this is one of the most recent Jars song, so I wasn’t expecting much, but again, they came through with a new arrangement.
10. Love Song – I was surprised to see that they ended on this note. Honestly, it’s not my favorite arrangement, but it’s still good. That’s the beautiful thing about Jars of Clay. Even when they’re not my favorite, they’re still on top of the game in terms of musicality, lyrics and talent.

If you’re a fan of Jars, or you ever were, give this a listen. It’s worth it.

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