This one is legendary. Ever so often in music, an album comes along that completely and utterly defines what a great record really is. The same holds true in Christian music. But as one sees the decline of true artist innovation (i.e. the over-production of pop and rap), those albums are becoming a true rarity. But in 1994, a seemingly rag-tag bunch of college kids thought it would be fun to cut an album. Under the moniker of Jars of Clay, they went into the studio prepared to produce some kind of college "memorabilia," perhaps something to look at in the future and remember what fun they had back then. What they ended up with was an independent record, titled Frail, that would only open the doors for the recording of what was one of best CCM albums ever created.
Their 1995 national self-titled debut release opens with the haunting "Liquid," a so-good-it-sends-shivers-down-your-spine acoustic rock number describing the Crucifixion, while also reminding that Christ did not die in vain. The purity of the acoustic guitar, along with the sickly beautiful violin make a purely genius combo. The next track, "Sinking," gives a message of how sometimes we think that we really don't need God until the overwhelming realization of his grace comes. "Love Song For a Savior" is perhaps the most heartfelt praise song to Jars' credit. The entire simply complicated theme is given through a very beautiful chord progression and a child-like chorus that simply says, "I want to fall in love with you." "Like A Child" is a slightly edgier number about having an innocent and awe-filled faith as that of a little child. "Art in Me" gives a well-deserved nod to guitarist Matt Odmark, as a simple yet lovely progression carries lyrics about the feeble attempts at pleasing God through works -- as He loves us as we are -- to a highly enjoyable conclusion. Other highlightes include the rock energy of "Flood," and the emotional and honest worship of "Worlds Apart."
This is truly a work of art, and a definite highlight of CCM history.
Review date: 1/29/03, written by Samuel James for Jesusfreakhideout.com