Tuesday Video: "Good Monsters"

First, I didn't eat the egg. (If you don't know what I'm talking about, go vote in the poll.) If anyone wants the egg, let me know and I'll figure out how to get it to you. If not, I'll save it until next year and decide what to do then...

Last night's concert was an unqualified success , given the general unconsciousness of the student body at this time of year. (The time of year being exam/essay time, the student body including myself, and unconsciousness best exemplified in my assumption that Dana Jorgensen was a she...)
We had close to 30 students show up for the concert. I think the S.A. lost money. I doubt that Dana sold many CDs.
On the plus side, I've now worked with one more professional musician and learned a little bit more about vocal effects in a small cafe. (The other Dan was right, the chorus+reverb setting really is best.)
What's more, one of the performers (whose name shall be withheld for fear of the wrath of the Nashville community at large...) made me a copy of the newest Jars of Clay album, Good Monsters. Since then I've been listening to said album instead of writing the bibliography that I've already got an extention on (or researching grad schools, or reading Paradise Lost, or my PSYCHO390 text, etc...)
At any rate, this gives me a good subject for today's video: the music video for the first track on the album, "Work."

I think this is a great way to start an album: energy, despair, fear, questions. The video is great, though I think the Youtube servers are swamped. (there's another one here.) I like the inherent parody of music videos: MTV has been around for so long that we've become totally numb to the effect of A) watching a musician perform for us or B) watching the director's half-baked visual interpretation of the lyrics. I love Jars of Clay on CD, but I can't stand watching Haseltine sing. (His eyes in the "Good Monsters" video are especially creepy.) Watching him submerged and in immanent peril of bodily harm is kind of satisfying, and not entirely out of tune with the intent of the lyrics.

What I like most about Jars is that they'll never stop at asking questions; they always go further. This is really a Christian album, no apologies. From the almost psalmic fear in this first track, the band moves to diagnosis and prescription in "Dead Man"("Carry Me, I'm just a dead man lying on the carpet can't find a heart beat...") and from there to hope ("When I go don't cry for me, in my Father's arms I'll be...") and beyond. At this point they switch into the second person for comforting songs ("Even Angels Cry" and the profoundly hymnic "There is a River") and... well, I'll stop short of a complete structural analysis. I have other essays to write.
What I was saying is that Jars is not satisfied to be just a worship band: Delirious? writes some amazing songs, and some of them are incredibly deep, but they seem to switch on to worship and off to ballads about their wives. There's not so much in between. Switchfoot, on the other hand, never really moves beyond the questions. "Only Hope" was a great worship song, but that was back when they were signed with a Christian Label.
Jars has some of the most well-rounded albums I've ever heard. They can do a lot musically, and there's as much playfulness as there is depth in the lyrics.
Put simply, any band who can make me appreciate the banjo is a band worth listening to. I don't like bluegrass, but I like bluegrass the way Jars does it.

Lyrics here.
Another decent review, and another.
The website has a preview of a few tracks, but if you want to hear the best track ("Oh My God") you'll have to download it somewhere. There's supposed to be a free preview on AOL music, but that requires realplayer, and as a faithful Christian I could never allow myself to become such a stumbling block that I would suggest you download realplayer. If you look at one of the review sites I've linked (look up, look waaay up...) you might find a free (as in speech) download that will allow you to avoid the snares of the enemy.
[Avoiding the snares of the enemy involved both the freedom to download music and the subsequent support of the artists responsible for songs you like: Don't just be a pirate, be a Christian pirate. A "Good Monster."]

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