Review of Jars of Clay album Good Monsters

I picked up the new Jars CD a couple of weeks ago. Now I understand the hype surrounding this release. It is perhaps the best Jars album yet. I have no doubt that it will equal the success of their self-titled album released in 1996.

The CD has a really great, unprocessed sound to it. After hearing the band practice before heading out on their Good Monsters tour, it is clear that they have tried really hard to produce a product that will stand alone either on CD or live.

Dead Man is the second track on the CD and is getting a lot of airplay right now; it is at number 3 as of this writing (I’m sure it will be #1 before long). It is a catchy, 80’s style pop song. The chorus is almost as catchy as “it’s a Small World After All”  and has been rattling around in my brain for at least a week. It isn’t the best track on the album, in my opinion, and I am never quite sure why the record companies choose one song over another for airplay. Next time I talk to a label executive, I’ll be sure to ask.

Oh My God caught my fancy the first time I listened through the album. It stands out as the most impressive song on this very thoughtful album. It starts out with a single acoustic guitar and builds to the finale with an insightful prayer from the soul and ends with:

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

Good Monsters also features Kate York on Even Angels Cry and the haunting voice of Leigh Nash on Mirrors & Smoke.

All in all, I think this is perhaps the best album to hit the streets this year.


Review of Newsboys album GO

This is a classic Newsboys album, which reminds me more of their earlier work with driving beats and catchy lyrics. Paul Coleman joined the band early this year and is found playing cool licks and adding his unique vocal talent to this album. I honestly don’t look forward to Newsboys album releases. I see them as a band that does one thing really well: Live shows. Go sounds as though the majority of the songs were written with live performance in mind.

Catchy pop songs like Something Beautiful, Let It All Come Out, I Am Free, and Secret Kingdom should all make top-10 hits. Secret Kingdom even features a whistling solo. Every great song needs whistling, just ask my friend Phredd. He’ll tell you.

I am not really a pop-guy. But there was one song on this release that I really liked. Your Love is Better Than Life is an ‘Aussie Rap’  which reminded me a lot of Timbuk3 or Fat Boy Slim. It stands out as a diamond among the rest of the gems (sorry for the cheesy simile).

The only track I didn’t care for was the final one, Gonna Be Alright. I am not a fan of the sampled background vocal singing Oh How He Love You and Me. It reminds me too much of early Christian music when mediocrity reigned supreme.

If you’re looking for something revolutionary from the Newsboys, keep looking. It definitely shows how polished they have become as a band and it is the solid, happy, worshipful style that has become synonymous with the Newsboys.

Go Playlist:

1. Wherever We Go
2. Go
3. Something Beautiful
4. The Mission
5. Let it All Come Out
6. In Wonder
7. Your Love Is Better Than Life
8. I Am Free
9. Secret Kingdom
10. The Letter (One of a Kind)
11. Gonna Be Alright