I’ve always admired and enjoyed the music of the guys from Jars Of Clay.
I stumbled onto Jars back in 1994, when I heard and fell in love with PFR’s pop masterpiece “Great Lengths”. If you love melodic pop, then you know what I mean about “Great Lengths”.
I first saw Jars in concert in 1995 when they opened for PFR. I remember hearing “Flood” for the first time that night and my jaw hitting the floor. I couldn’t get that song out of my head for days!
Here’s a blip of text from Wikipedia’s PFR page:
PFR released their third album, Great Lengths in 1994 … The Great Lengths tour introduced a new band, Jars of Clay, who would become one of the most popular Christian groups to date, also enjoying great mainstream success.
While the reference of “Christian” and “Mainstream/Secular” (as it relates to music) makes me throw up in my mouth a little, I must say that perhaps the best thing about both PFR and Jars was that neither really sounded like the “Christian” music that was played in the mid-90’s. By this, I mean, if you heard it on a Contemporary Christian radio station in 1995 (in between a male artist with three names — Michael W. Smith, Steven Curtis Chapman, Phillips Craig & Dean etc.), you would be pleasantly surprised and in my case, shocked. These were guys that happened to be Christ-followers (and didn’t hide it or seem to live otherwise) that made very, very good music. Not the first to do so, but in my opinion, the first in quite some time!
If you haven’t heard it, I highly recommend picking up a copy of Jars’ self-titled CD along with PFR’s Great Lengths.
While PFR rode off into the sunset, Jars of Clay is still making great alternative rock music today. Their latest, Good Monsters, is fantastic.
I was especially moved by the lyrics to “Oh My God”. One particular line just won’t go away:
“What makes me so badly bent?” Oooh, I have some friends that will agree with me that that lyric is powerful. Take a look at the rest:
Oh My God
Oh my God, look around this place
Your fingers reach around the bone
You set the break and set the tone
Flights of grace, and future falls
In present pain
All fools say, “Oh my God”
Oh my God, Why are we so afraid?
We make it worse when we don’t bleed
There is no cure for our disease
Turn a phrase, and rise again
Or fake your death and only tell your closest friend
Oh my God.
Oh my God, can I complain?
You take away my firm belief and graft my soul upon your grief
Weddings, boats and alibis
All drift away, and a mother cries
Liars and fools; sons and failures
Thieves will always say
Lost and found; ailing wanderers
Healers always say
Whores and angels; men with problems
Leavers always say
Broken hearted; separated
Orphans always say
War creators; racial haters
Preachers always say
Distant fathers; fallen warriors
Givers always say
Pilgrim saints; lonely widows
Users always say
Fearful mothers; watchful doubters
Saviors always say
Sometimes I cannot forgive
And these days, mercy cuts so deep
If the world was how it should be,
Maybe I could get some sleep
While I lay, I dream we’re better,
Scales were gone and faces light
When we wake, we hate our brother
We still move to hurt each other
Sometimes I can close my eyes,
And all the fear that keeps me silent
Falls below my heavy breathing,
What makes me so badly bent?
We all have a chance to murder
We all feel the need for wonder
We still want to be reminded
That the pain is worth the plunder
Sometimes when I lose my grip,
I wonder what to make of heaven
All the times I thought to reach up
All the times I had to give in
Babies underneath their beds
Hospitals that cannot treat
All the wounds that money causes
All the comforts of cathedrals
All the cries of thirsty children – this is our inheritance
All the rage of watching mothers – this is our greatest offense
Oh my God
Oh my God
Words and music by Dan Haseltine, Charlie Lowell, Stephen Mason, Matt Odmark