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stand_1998

Seatbelt Tubist
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Reply with quote  #1 
I'm still a fan of the album. I loved it at first, and I continue to add it to my iTunes playlists months later.

Thoughts?

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WeighedDown

Zookeper
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Reply with quote  #2 
I like it a lot. It's certainly not the grand departure that I was expecting from the hype leading up to its release, though. In hindsight, I feel that, stylistically, TLFBTE was more of a changeup from their previous work. Maybe the biggest change was in their hearts and their approach to making the album.

The songs I keep coming back to are Reckless Forgiver, Pennsylvania, and Loneliness and Alcohol. The only one that I really skip is Skin and Bones. It starts out promising, but the chorus doesn't quite have the lift that the song needs...
NewMath

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Reply with quote  #3 
I'm still thoroughly enjoying the album.  The best way for me to enjoy Inland is listening from front to back.  There is so much to like about this collection of songs.
haveapez

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Reply with quote  #4 
Quote:
Originally Posted by WeighedDown
I like it a lot. It's certainly not the grand departure that I was expecting from the hype leading up to its release, though. In hindsight, I feel that, stylistically, TLFBTE was more of a changeup from their previous work. Maybe the biggest change was in their hearts and their approach to making the album.

The songs I keep coming back to are Reckless Forgiver, Pennsylvania, and Loneliness and Alcohol. The only one that I really skip is Skin and Bones. It starts out promising, but the chorus doesn't quite have the lift that the song needs...



This is somewhat in my line of thinking.  I think with the boundaries torn down of expectations for the Christian market, so to speak, I expected more.  I think it's a solid, if not great album.  I feel like the album reaches high, but doesn't quite reach greatness.  I also feel TLFBTE was more of a departure than this album was.  Maybe if that album hadn't existed first, it would've made more of an impact on me.  I enjoy the vinyl, and "After the Fight" is greatness for me, with the other songs being pretty good to good.  Maybe the hype got to me, but I couldn't help but be a little disappointed, and this is from a fan who owns every recording of Jars that I can get my hands on.
datraceman

Mini Monster
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Posts: 46
Reply with quote  #5 

I think this album is great top to bottom. It is one of the few albums I can put on the turntable or my iPod and listen to it straight through. The caveat is I have to be in a mellower, chill out type of mood. It's an album that is definitely best listened to when you're hanging out around the house. It's not an album I can put on in the car and have it not become lost in the white noise of everything else. 

The highlights of the album are "Fall Asleep", "Loneliness & Alcohol", and "Inland" for me still. Even the songs like "Pennsylvania" that I didn't initially grab onto are becoming more palatable over time. I think that is an attribute that helps contribute to a great record. Every Jars album has a deep album cut I know I'll never hear at a show, yet it becomes a personal favorite that I come back to over and over. Other songs that fit that for me by Jars are: "Boy on a String", "Weighed Down", "Sad Clown", "Whatever She Wants", "Sing" (a song I've used leading worship a lot, "Headphones", "Lay it Down".

Sorry for the off-topicness I veered into but it came to my mind while commenting on Inland.

tomma

Newbie Like a Child
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Reply with quote  #6 
I echo some of haveapez's thoughts. The best song is definitely "After The Fight." However I do really like "Reckless Forgiver" and "Loneliness & Alcohol."

For me this record is very unique because it has become associated with my seeing a certain escort who really brings a light to my mind, to use some of Jars' imagery. She lives about an hour away, and I usually listen from start to finish to Inland on the drive there. So night after night I get to listen to this record and associate it with this wonderful experience of driving to see her. The result is an extreme emotional connection to Inland.

The first time I heard it though, I was disappointed. It starts off so amazing with "After The Fight," but then none of the other songs reach anywhere near the level of perfection as that one. And I can't help notice some distracting flaws in each song.

Two types of flaw are common in Jars songs, and this record especially. First, the lyrics sometimes rub me the wrong way, as if they are very corny or something. For example, the song "Reckless Forgiver" is mostly fantastic, but it starts off with the very corny lines, "Loneliness, loneliness, it won't last forever. Happiness, happiness, get in line." Other than that the song is great. But for some reason I really dislike those beginning lines. The second type of flaw is that Dan's voice has a tendency to hit an annoyingly thin tone. This happens, for instance, in the song "Human Race." Again, it's frustrating to me because other than the thinness of his voice and a few more corny lyrics, I really like that song.

Over time, though, I have gotten to the point where I am not very distracted anymore by those flaws. I still notice them, but they no longer spoil my enjoyment of the record.

Inevitably we like to ask ourselves, how does Inland compare to other Jars records? As others have noticed, Inland represents a dramatic departure from previous efforts. But that's one of my favorite things about Jars. They never get stuck in a particular style, but are always experimenting and evolving. Some people apparently think TLFBTE was more of a departure, but I beg to differ. TLFBTE sounded to me a lot like the sequel to Good Monsters. But Inland doesn't sound to me like anything Jars has ever done before.

I'm not going to play the rating game, except to say that for the past few months, I have enjoyed Inland as much as I've ever enjoyed any other Jars record. That doesn't mean it's my favorite. It's just the record I've been focusing on the most recently.

But as for the songs, as I said, "After The Fight" clearly stands out over and above the rest. I also really like "Reckless Forgiver" and "Loneliness & Alcohol." Then there are "Age of Immature Mistakes," "Human Race," "Love in Hard Times," and "Fall Asleep," all of which are really amazing in their own way.

After track 7 ("Loneliness & Alcohol") the energy of the record drops off very suddenly, and it becomes almost boring. Tracks 8-12 aren't bad by any stretch of the imagination, and I really do like track 9 ("Fall Asleep"). However they are all somewhat slow and uninteresting compared to tracks 1-7.

I've seen several people rave about "Pennsylvania," but I have to say that is the one song on the record I come very close to disliking. It is slow, boring, and doesn't do anything for me at all except to give me a lull to prepare for the record's most energetic track, "Loneliness & Alcohol." But other than "Pennsylvania," all the other songs are very enjoyable. Some of them are even fantastic/great.

So those are my post-honeymoon thoughts on Inland. It is a very special record to me. Jars has done an amazing job, yet again!
murlough23

Ghost in the Moon
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Posts: 2,109
Reply with quote  #7 
I still enjoy the album quite a bit post-honeymoon, but that's true for me with most Jars albums. There are some that don't excite me nearly as much as they did when they were new (most notably The Eleventh Hour, which I still like, but don't quite love). With this one, it's more that my opinion of it has slipped just slightly from "Brilliant!" to "Yeah, another solid Jars album." Part of that might be that the overall sound of it doesn't quite have the same level of oomph to it that drives similarly up-tempo songs on some of their other albums. I'm sure it was an intentional production choice to leave strangely "hollow" spots in the middle of even some of the most driven, rock-oriented songs. I'm just more of a "wall-of-sound" type of guy, I guess.

My personal favorites are still pretty much what they were at the outset: "Love in Hard Times", "Loneliness & Alcohol", "Age of Immature Mistakes", "Pennsylvania", "Left Undone".

Some comments on other people's comments:

Quote:
Originally Posted by WeighedDown
In hindsight, I feel that, stylistically, TLFBTE was more of a changeup from their previous work.


It's interesting that you bring up TLFBTE, because to me, this album plays as a sort of hybrid between TLFBTE and WWAI. I was sort of expecting a less country/"Gospel-y" WWAI from how it was described in advance, so this isn't too far off the mark. The only thing that disappoints me about the hybrid sound of it is that sometimes the keyboards/synths feel really out of place. I generally appreciate how electronic instrumentation that was formerly seen as uncool or somehow un-genuine has been working its way into folk and indie music these days, and vice versa, how some electric artists are making prominent use of acoustic instrumentation. This particular blend of it just seems odd at times. I felt the same way about Gungor's latest album.

Quote:
Originally Posted by WeighedDown
The only one that I really skip is Skin and Bones. It starts out promising, but the chorus doesn't quite have the lift that the song needs...


I'm glad I'm not the only one who noticed this. I just want the drums to do something different during that chorus, the verse builds up momentum so well, and the drums are a big part of that, then they just sort of coast their way through the chorus and you never really get the big payoff. I still don't understand the decision to decrease the tempo ever so slightly during the chorus, either. It's not a big enough difference in speed to really accomplish anything drama-wise, but it's just enough to make the song feel disjointed, as if the band's timing was off. Seems like the kind of thing that would happen in a live show, not in the studio where they'd notice it on playback. But I'm pretty sure this was done intentionally, since they keep switching up and down a few bpm's for each verse/chorus.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tomma
The first time I heard it though, I was disappointed. It starts off so amazing with "After The Fight," but then none of the other songs reach anywhere near the level of perfection as that one. And I can't help notice some distracting flaws in each song.


The interesting thing about "After the Fight" is that it struck me immediately as a really well-written song, and of course the newness of it being the first track on a brand new album was enough to make it sound downright iconic on those first few listens... but now it's sort of fallen below many others on my list of favorites. I still like it a lot, but feel like it's missing something that I can't quite put my finger on.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tomma
For example, the song "Reckless Forgiver" is mostly fantastic, but it starts off with the very corny lines, "Loneliness, loneliness, it won't last forever. Happiness, happiness, get in line." Other than that the song is great. But for some reason I really dislike those beginning lines.


I tend to read the lyrics in that song as wishful thinking - wanting something out of other people that you can't get out of them. Looking for love in all the wrong places, that sort of thing. So instead of coming off as corny, they come across to me as the words of a sad person in denial.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tomma
The second type of flaw is that Dan's voice has a tendency to hit an annoyingly thin tone.


I've noticed that for so long now that I don't even consciously think about it when listening to a new Jars record any more. I figure Dan has three modes: (1) Thin, sensitive Dan (most common on Much Afraid and a number of their mellower/more melancholy songs) (2) Gritty, sorta-soulful Dan (most common on WWAI and Good Monsters, common in their rockier/more crowd-pleasing up-tempo songs), and (3) Alt-rock mush-mouth Dan (basically the debut album). Mode #1 is probably my favorite of the three, but that and #2 are both improvements over #3.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tomma
After track 7 ("Loneliness & Alcohol") the energy of the record drops off very suddenly, and it becomes almost boring.


That's a common complaint for me on a lot of albums - too many slow-to-mid-tempo tracks in a row clogging up the back half. A lot of bands need to learn how to pace their albums better - of course, too much slow stuff closer to the beginning causes more impatient listeners to stop the album or just tune out early on, so it's kind of a catch-22 for bands that want to operate in more than just the up-tempo crowd-pleasing mode. For me, if a band puts some real thought into how they segue between the songs or at least how they sound when played back-to-back, that can more than make up for a sustained lull in tempo through several songs. Some of my favorite albums are slow all the way through - they just hang together really well as an album, to the point where it would be jarring to suddenly throw an up-tempo song in there. (This is why a lot of Radiohead fans seem to dislike "Electioneering", for example, though I personally love that song.)

Personally, "Left Undone" saves Inland from the late-album tempo problems in my mind - I realize it doesn't quite build to the big climax that it suggests, but I like the combination of sorta-dancey electronic rhythm and the dulcimer. I imagine that one's destined to be an underrated favorite of mine in the same vein as "Scenic Route" or "Can't Erase It" simply because of how late in the album it shows up.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tomma
I've seen several people rave about "Pennsylvania," but I have to say that is the one song on the record I come very close to disliking. It is slow, boring, and doesn't do anything for me at all except to give me a lull to prepare for the record's most energetic track, "Loneliness & Alcohol."


I'm a sucker for a thoughtful, dramatic string arrangement, thanks to artists like Sleeping at Last, Jeremy Larson, and Future of Forestry. So that's why "Pennsylvania" clicked with me - I actually thought it was a Jeremy Larson arrangement at first, because the "swooping" style of it is so distinctive! I'll admit that it gets off to a really slow start, and when I first heard it, I knew the fanbase was going to have a bit of a love/hate relationship with it. For me, it's basically the new "Silence".

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DISCLAIMER: The preceding post was a statement of opinion, and does not reflect the views of the members of Jars of Clay, the moderators of Jarchives, or any member of the Holy Trinity. In fact, it is only my opinion that this is my opinion. In my opinion, you may choose to believe that my opinion is fact, if in fact you are of the opinion that you are allowed to choose what you believe, which presupposes the opinion that you do in fact exist in the first place - in my humble opinion, of course. It is my opinion that all of my opinions are humble opinions, but this does not indicate a bias on my part against opinions which are, in my opinion, proud opinions.
Jeremy

Seatbelt Tubist
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Posts: 233
Reply with quote  #8 
I really love this album.  "Love in Hard Times" is my favorite. 

They get better with age.  With a lot of bands you find yourself pining for the old stuff, but with Jars, the newer stuff is generally better.  3 of their last 4 albums are their best work, IMO (The Shelter being the exception). 

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