Wednesday, August 14, 2013

19 Days of Jars of Clay: No. 13 Scenic Route

On Aug. 27, Jars of Clay will release a new album called Inland. To pass the time, I am going to count down my favorite 19 Jars of Clay songs, one per day (not including anything from Inland).

Agree? Disagree? That's fine. This isn't a concrete list, and I'm sure if you made a good case for my rankings being out of sync, I'd admit my own fault. But I'm judging these based on my history with the band and what sounds good to me. The most important thing, dear listener, is to get your hands on this music and listen for yourself.

If they changed my life, I'm sure they'll at least sound great in your stereo.

Here we go!

No. 13: Scenic Route
From the album The Long Fall Back To Earth

How do you follow up Good Monsters? You don't: That album is too good. So anything you release afterwards is going to not get the love and respect it deserves. I think that The Long Fall Back To Earth is an amazing album, better in some ways than Good Monsters, but for me, feels too pop and doesn't have that emotional punch that GM did (well, some of it does: read up later in the countdown for more).

Scenic Route is a lovely song. It's a long song too, clocking in at 5:41, nearly Stairway to Heaven territory. For years, I've had a romantic notion of just getting in the car and driving without a map or definite goal, and this song gives me that feeling. That feeling of freedom to just get out and hit the open road.

Lyrically, the song has so many possible meanings. Honestly, when I first heard it, I thought to myself, "They COULD be talking about sex." UNHEARD OF IN CHRISTIAN MUSIC! Apparently I'm not the only one, as someone brings up this very thing in this message board chat. The line that makes me think they're talking about an intimate relationship is the end.

"Baby we could get lost, we have a new state to cross, we could find each other out, show our secrets on a scenic route, I don't want to get home soon, drive the car around the moon, I don't wanna crush you, rush you, not going faster if you want to."

OK, so even if it isn't about sex (which I really don't think it is), I definitely believe it's referring to a relationship. Let's not rush our lives. Let's enjoy growing together. As a single man when this song came out, that was part of the appeal. It made me dream of taking a drive with that special someone, growing and learning with them.

One year after the album was released, my girlfriend picked me up from the airport, and we took the scenic route back to her house, an hour or so away, stopping at a random pizza place. That girlfriend became my wife Allicia.

Dreams do come true!


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