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Christmas Songs (Bonus Track Version)

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Customer Reviews

Jars of Christmas

First of all, worst album cover ever. I heard that Jars of Clay broke from their record label, which is fine, but they might want to consider re-engaging the old company's design services. As for the music itself, I think some expectation-setting is in order.This should be approached not so much a Christmas album, but as a Jars of Clay album. That's a good thing in my book, but I can see how it might be disappointing to folks looking for the standard holiday cheer. I love how Jars of Clay strip back the veneer of the Christmas season and, with this music, find just the right notes of melancholy. The first instrumental track, "The Gift of St Cecilia," sets the tone nicely. It has one of those candy-coated Christmas choirs from the 1950s, but filtered through a haze. It is the musical equivalent of a sad memory. And really, with but a few exceptions, most of this album is like that. Even "O Little Town of Bethlehem" gets a Jars makeover. It is emotionally chilly and even a little bit haunted. Classic Jars of Clay. That's what I've always loved about this group's music. It affirms feelings of human frailty, but always within a context of faith and hope. Which, come to think of it, is a lot of what my Christmases feel like. PS: This album also performs a minor miracle in that it takes the most atrocious Christmas song -- Paul McCartney's "Wonderful Christmastime" -- and redeems it with a solid arrangement.

Jars does Christmas Proud!

I am so impressed with Jars. My favorite band made a Christmas album that is thouroughly Jars, but also very completely holiday as well. I love how they end the album with "in the bleak Midwinter" into "I heard the bells on Christmas Day" - wow! those songs in a row are powerful about the meaning of Christmas! I think that Hibernation day is sung so well by Dan. He definetly proves himself to be a great singer on that one. And, What? They covered a Paul McCartney song and it was GREAT! that was both ambitious and thouroughly fun. I am suprised at how different drummer boy and GRYMG are from previous versions that Jars have done. I really enjoyed seeing their different treatment this time around. I think that "little town of Bethlehem" is a really fantastic take on this old classic - the song is alive with I think a snipit of the chaos that has surrounded that town. Christmas came early this year! In the form of a GREAT Christmas CD

Emancipation Proclamation

Jars is free from their label of ten years and the first thing they do is put out a Christmas album?! Yes, and it's exquisite, a confection of acoustic, electric, and synthetic textures, that nevertheless conveys an urgent and brooding preoccupation with the concept of peace: its promise, its presence, its evident absence. It's most obvious in the anthemic "Peace Is Here", which we would all hope to sing one day soon for real. But the concept resonates in the stunning, shocking reinterpretation of "O Little Town of Bethlehem", a spooky sonic ghostland haunted not by centurion's spears but AK-47s; in the questions that recur in "I Heard the Bells On Christmas Day", wondering what happened to the promise "Peace on earth, goodwill to men"; even in the brand-new version of "Drummer Boy", where drummer Jeremy Lutito contribute a rattling, martial beat, evoking a boy off to serve his king and country. But peace is present, too, in the sweet and nakedly romantic "Hibernation Day", frontman Dan Haseltine's most obvious love song ever; and, wonderfully surprising from a band rooted presumably in American evangelical Christianity, a hymn to the Virgin Mary, "Gabriel's Song". The soft, dark, wistful "In the Bleak Midwinter" serves as a reminder that Christmas was always the darkest night of the northern year. Jars is possibly the most thoughtful and sensitive band to come out of the Christian music world, and it continues to show, in this Christmas album.


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...
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