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Who We Are Instead

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iTunes Review

In some ways, Jars of Clay’s 2003 album Who We Are Instead is comparable with U2’s classic The Joshua Tree. Both albums lean towards a country-rock sound, defined by sparse arrangements and pared-down lyrics. In the Jars’ case, the moodier aspects of this approach are tempered with upbeat power-pop influences and a certain resolute innocence. “Sunny Days” and “I’m In the Way” glide on buoyant melodies as they convey a reassuring Christian message. A grittier, more unsettled note pervades “Amazing Grace” (an original, not the classic hymn) and “Jealous Kind,” songs that contrast mortal weakness with God’s unchanging love. Some of the best moments here are the most reflective and subdued, such as the starkly evocative “Faith Enough” and “My Heavenly.” Just as effective is a sparkling cover of America’s “Lonely People,” showcasing the band’s smoothly matched harmonies. Acoustic guitar, mandolin and electric piano dominate the arrangements, with programmed drums giving tracks like “Trouble Is” a techno twist, and Ashley Cleveland’s commanding gospel vocals makes their presence felt on several tracks.

Customer Reviews

Amazingly Alive with Lonely People

First Jars of Clay album I recieved. Saw them live, had a need to buy an album, and was recommened this one. Now, of the six albums I own of theirs, this still remains my favorite. As a whole, this is an acoustic piece of art, diving into Folk and even the obscure Electroacoustic. Even the title speaks of man's depravity. Still, the album starts with a song of hope (Sunny Days isn't a title that'll top the Emo charts). Almost a song about witnessing, Sunny Days is direct at people without hope, played on a church organ, violin, and acoustic guitar. Another high point is Amazing Grace (not the classic, but a song inspired by it's namesake). This ballad of mercy is on contentment, even in the lowest points of life. Sounding most like Gospel and Folk roots this album draws on, the scratch and buzz of the acoustic guitar adds to the tone and feel that anything more high-tech would take away. Trouble Is and Faith Enough focus on Christ's sovergnty, as well as man's rebellion. Trouble Is sounds like a man debating with himself to either sin or follow his conscience, while Faith Enough points out the issues of the world, and what that man has brought on to himself. All in all, Who We Are Instead remains an acoustic masterpiece for the Christian and Indie scene to devour. It remains here for us to admire, disect, digest. A lovely piece of power.

Great CD!

Its and excellent mix of folk rock, electric rifts, and piano interludes. Very pleasing to the ears. A great driving CD.

great acustic guitar

this is my #1 favorite acustic guitar album. songs like "only alive" and "trouble is" are a real tribute to this amazing band.


Formed: 1993 in Greenville, IL

Genre: Christian & Gospel

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Jars of Clay were the breakout band of the so-called alternative CCM movement of the '90s, scoring an enormous mainstream hit with the debut single "Flood" and enjoying platinum sales. The group's lyrics may have been exclusively Christian, but their acoustic-oriented music fit perfectly into the folky jangle pop wing of alternative rock radio, at the time a rarity on the contemporary Christian music scene. Such success set the stage for breakthroughs by Christian bands like dc Talk and Sixpence...
Full Bio
Who We Are Instead, Jars of Clay
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