Search - Jars of Clay :: If I Left the Zoo

If I Left the Zoo
Jars of Clay
If I Left the Zoo
Genres: Pop, Rock, Christian
  •  Track Listings (11) - Disc #1

Jars of Clay admirably stretched the boundaries of Christian pop music when their self-titled debut scaled the charts in 1995. Two releases later, the group's peculiar yet appealing brand of alt-acoustic-Christpop remains ...  more »


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CD Details

All Artists: Jars of Clay
Title: If I Left the Zoo
Members Wishing: 0
Total Copies: 24
Label: Essential
Original Release Date: 11/9/1999
Release Date: 11/9/1999
Genres: Pop, Rock, Christian
Styles: Adult Alternative, Pop & Contemporary, Rock & Alternative
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPCs: 083061049928, 638592600126, 638592600324

Jars of Clay admirably stretched the boundaries of Christian pop music when their self-titled debut scaled the charts in 1995. Two releases later, the group's peculiar yet appealing brand of alt-acoustic-Christpop remains a study in irony: relatively simple on the outside, brooding and introspective on the inside. If I Left the Zoo returns to form with a renewed focus on songwriting; the disc is a stripped-down and more organic effort than the richly layered but equally rewarding Much Afraid (1997). The opening song "Goodbye, Goodnight," with its lighthearted accordion and mandolin, quickly sets the tone. While the tune itself is a sprightly sing-along, lyrically the Jars hit you with end-of-the-millennium social commentary ("Raise a glass for ignorance / drink a toast to fear / The beginning of the end has come / that's why we all are here"). The oddly attractive "Unforgetful You," the bittersweet "Famous Last Words," and the melodic rocker "Can't Erase It" are sure-fire radio hits. While the playful, digestible quality of the band's music is undeniable, they've become equally effective as songwriters for a generation. --Michael Lyttle

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CD Reviews

A valiant effort ... I'll give them that
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Okay, let me get this off my chest first: I really miss the style Jars of Clay presented on their self-titled debut in 1996. Their unique brand of acoustic guitar and vocal harmony driven alternative rock combined with spiritual, uplifting, poetic lyrics were the reason I fell in love with the Jars in the first place. Unfortunately, their second album wasn't anything like the first (nor nearly as good), and their latest, If I Left The Zoo, is also totally different from the original formula that sold me on the Jars in the first place.Now, having said that, does this mean that "Zoo" is a bad album? No. Although it is nothing like the original, it is still a very unique and creative album. You can tell that they took a lot of chances on this album and really allowed themselves to experiment with different sounds. Each song is unique in its own way and doesn't sound like every other song on the CD. The musicians play with much more confidence and attitude. Dan Haseltine's voice has never sounded better.Lyrically, the Jars still know how to deliver a timeless, powerful message in creative and subtle ways. Some of the songs pose tough questions with no easy answers, as is often the case with life, but does not abandon hope. If you're one of those Christian music purists who thinks Christian music has to be direct, simple, have "Jesus" appear in every other line, and use the same old "Jesus is the way" cliche's, then don't buy this album. You'd be much happier with the latest Audio Adrenaline or Rebecca St. James albums. But if you want an album that gives a realistic view of life and how faith plays a role in it, this album is for you. Standout tracks on this CD include "Goodbye, Goodnight", "I'm Alright", "Collide", and "River Constantine."Although the original Jars album will always be my favorite, I can't really say I'm disappointed with this CD. They've done a pretty good job."
Great album, maybe their best!
delirious99 | USA | 11/25/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This is a great album. It is one of the best Christian albums that has come out for awhile, period. It has several great potential radio singles, including Unforgetful You, Collide, Famous Last Words, and Can't Erase It. It also has some great slower songs, with good deep lyrics. For fans who think that their first album was their best, there is a song on If I Left the Zoo called River Constantine, which is like a mix of Blind (from their first album) and Frail (from Much Afraid. But it is new and different at the same time. Some of the songs seem odd, because of some of the new sounds that they use on this album, such as on the songs, Goodbye, Goodnight, Unforgetful You, Sad Clown, and I'm Alright. But as surprising as they are at first, once you hear them a few times, you'll probably love them. I did. A great buy, definitely worth the money. They had more fun with this one than they did with Much Afraid. It is lighter, and more laid back. It is also happier. They have Counting Crows drummer playing on the entire album, and Dennis Herring (Counting Crows, Innocence Mission) producing. He pushed them to experiment with new sounds, to go greater strides, and go out of their comfort zones (I'm not making this up), and the results are very good. A true Jars fan shouldn't be disappointed by this excellent album."
Excellent Excellent
J Jones | Austin, Texas | 11/28/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This is a great CD. It runs the range from over-the-top rock & roll (alternative sound) to thought-provoking, yet singable little sweet songs. The band is very tight. These guys have real talent. There is only one piece on here that I usually skip past, but that is ALOT more than I can say for most CDs--you know the ones, only one good song on the whole thing. Not the case here. It's great, it is one of my top 5. Got a teenager or young adult and you don't know what to get them for a gift? You can't go wrong with this CD, unless they already have it. It's edgy enough to satisfy that interest, yet the lyrics are not questionable, and it's very current. Even if the person is not Christian or is of another faith, this CD is not screaming for their conversion to Christianity. There is no mention of Jesus's name, nothing like 'Praise Him' or 'Praise the Lord' although I view many of the songs to be written from His perspective. If you already knew this was a Christian band, you listen to hear that, otherwise you may not even pick up on this aspect. It makes a person think about what God may be like. I am a Christian, but would consider this a mainstream alternative pop rock CD. And it's among the best of all the music out there."