Number 19 on my Top 40 albums countdown is If I Left the Zoo by Jars of Clay. This is the second and final Jars of Clay album on the countdown. The last time I wrote about Jars of Clay, I discussed the interesting relationship between memory and music and how certain songs or albums can be tied to specific moments or phases in your life. So, it seems fitting I should start with a memory I associate with this album.
When I was a young lad, probably late elementary school or early middle school, my Mom was full fledged into the Tae Bo craze. She had several Billy Blanks VHS tapes which she would work out to regularly. Somewhere along the line I went through a period of a few months where I would work out to Billy Blanks with her. The way he said, “Two” and watching the exercisers in the background awkwardly get pumped when “Shake Your Booty” came on were really hilarious for the first couple times. However, they kind of started to drive you insane if you did them as often as me and my mom did, so we would listen to music. For whatever reason, my mom would always listen to one of two albums while working out with Billy Blanks: Positive Friction by Donna the Buffalo or If I Left the Zoo by Jars of Clay. So, every time I listen to If I Left the Zoo I think of Tae Bo with Billy Blanks. I am sure that is exactly what Jars of Clay was going for while writing and recording this record.
Now to the music. I have thought long and hard about how to describe how excellent the songs on this record are, and I have come to the conclusion that it cannot be done. But, there is a way to convey how great the music on this album is: let you listen to it DUH!
My wife hears me talk about what I call a “song streak” all the time. In sports, if a team wins three or more games in a row it is called a winning streak. I use the term “song streak” to talk about three or more exceptional songs in a row on an album. If I Left the Zoo may have the quintessential song streak in its first six tracks (or I suppose you could call it the “A-Side” of the CD). I have decided the only way to successfully convey the greatness of this album is to expose you to this song streak of all song streaks. So, without further ado, the first six tracks of Jars of Clay’s masterpiece, If I Left the Zoo.
1. Goodbye, Goodnight
A song about the band on the Titanic.
2. Unforgetful You
A song oft covered by my band Blue Turnip! Get psyched for the breakdown!
Possibly the Jars of Clay song that rocks the most.
4. No One Loves Me Like You
The song my wife danced with her father to at our wedding.
5. Famous Last Words
Another song oft covered by my band.
6. Sad Clown
I mean, how can you not love a song called “Sad Clown?”
There you have it! Number 19 on the countdown is If I Left the Zoo by Jars of Clay! If you are interested in the previous albums included on the countdown check out these links!
25. Queen by Queen
I know I promised number 19 to be written July 18th and here we are on the 27th. But, it wasn’t really my fault this time! My computer exploded and I didn’t have it for four days while it was being repaired, then my sister came to visit for a week. But, I think I will be able to catch up and get back on schedule this week! Be sure to come back read number 18 and 17! Thank you for reading, and I hope you are excellent until we meet again!