Thursday, July 4, 2013

Music Review: Everything Sad is Coming Untrue by Jason Gray

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Fun songs with lyrics that grab you
Cons: I haven't been listening to it for the last couple years
The Bottom Line
Amazing lyrics
That pack so much truth in them
Don't wait to get it

Everything Sad is Coming Untrue Including My Initial Dislike of This Jason Gray Release

When Jason Gray released Everything Sad Is Coming Untrue in 2009, I was really looking forward to it.  But after a few listens I set it aside, hoping listening to it again with fresh ears would make me appreciate it more.  I tried that a few more times, and I still couldn't get into it.

Fast forward to March of this 2012.  I knew I'd be seeing Jason Gray in concert in a few weeks and I knew he'd be singing some songs from this disc, so I pulled it out again and gave it another listen.  I kept waiting for the disc to start disappointing me again, but it never happened.  I'm not sure why I wasn't connecting with the disc initially because now I can't get enough of it.

This disc is made up of the standard pop/rock I enjoy so much.  A few of the songs get slower than normal, but they are enjoyable.

"More Like Falling in Love" is a fun opener that gets my toes tapping.  The idea behind it is often mentioned idea that Christianity is a relationship with Jesus and not a religion with a set of rules.  In fact, the song starts off with "Give me rules/I will break them."  But I really like the line in the second verse "'Cause all religion ever made of me/Was just a sinner with a stone tied to my feet."

Up next is "Everything Sad is Coming Untrue (Part 1)."  Actually, Jason went through several versions of this song, and two of them made it on to the disc.  This is very much an upbeat song.  And it's got quite the mix of programming, guitar, drums, dulcimer and even whistling.  The idea behind it is that the power of love and forgiveness as flows from God through us can turn back the sadness of sin and its consequences.  And it is a song of joy as it celebrates hope and happiness that has come from sadness.

Things slow down with the mid-tempo "For the First Time Again," a prayer to recapture the passion and love from our first encounter with God.  Jason even tries his hand at a worship chorus with "Fade with Our Voices," a song that challenges us to worship with our lives and not just with some songs at church.

Jason can get very introspective at times, and the next two songs show that.  In fact, they almost flow together on the disc.  They may have contributed to my dislike of the disc initially, but the words have really grabbed me, and I love them now.  "Holding the Key" is the first song.  It starts with just guitar and Jason's voice, but it does pick up a little when the drums come in.  The idea behind this song is that confession our sins and struggles to each other are how we are finally free of them, and yet we struggle so much with doing just that.

But confession plays a really large part in the next song, "How I Ended up Here."  This one is just Jason and his guitar, and it's a very personal confession and he talks about his desires to live like a hermit at times and how it separates him from everyone else.  More than any of the other songs on this disc, this one takes some time to grow on you, but when you really listen to it, it grabs you.  For me, the bridge is the key.  "Building a wall so no one could bother me/Living my life in isolation/Opening up to only those close to me/Nobody's close to me, what have I done?"

We're back to pop with "Help Me, Thank You."  At first glance, this one seemed shallow to me, and I think I probably dismissed it.  Okay, so it's not exactly ground breaking, but the idea that these two prayers should be such a staple of our lives on earth really have grabbed me.  Plus it's a catchy song I'm likely to find myself singing the rest of the day after I hear it.  For some reason, this one feels like a throw back to the 70's to me, and the banjo in it adds to the fun.

"Better Way to Live" goes the soft rock route with a reminder that living with love in mind is ultimately the way we will fully come alive.

If I had to quote my favorite part of "Hold Me Back," I think I'd be quoting the entire song.  A song about the struggle to live for God while fighting the old man of sin, the images are amazing.  Ultimately, it is a prayer to God to hold us back from sin.  But with the bridge comes the honest truth "Because I was never able to save myself in the first place/So why would I think I could do it now."  And I love how he changes the chorus the last time through to honoring God for all He does for lowly sinners.

If you read many of my reviews, you'll know I love prodigal son songs.  "The Golden Boy & The Prodigal" isn't Jason's first time tackling this theme, but this song just amazes me with the twist he's put on it.  A six verse ballad with no chorus, the slower guitar driven song explores the duality of our lives, the one who follows God and the one who stumbles through sin.  From there, it challenges us with the side we project to others.  You have to hear all six verses to really get the impact, and when you do it hits you right between the eyes.

Things stay slow for "Jesus, Use Me, I'm Yours," a prayer of dedication.  And despite a slow start, the pace picks up on "I Am New," a celebration of the changes that Jesus makes in our lives.

Finally, the disc closes out with "Everything Sad is Coming Untrue (Part 2)."  As I hinted at early, this is not just a rehash of the earlier song.  Instead, it's an acoustic guitar song with a much slower tempo that looks at life in the middle of the sadness.  In fact, the closest it comes to a chorus is the repeated line "How could it be everything sad is coming untrue?"  It does offer some hope as it goes along, but it doesn't shout it like the first one does.  And the strings that weave in and out of the song are beautiful.

I still can't believe I didn't connect with this disc when I first got it, but I've been making up for lost time.  It keeps calling to me, and spends days in my CD player at a time.  Now that I've finally discovered just how good it truly is, Everything Sad Is Coming Untrue is going to have a long listening life.  Don't make my mistake.  Buy it and really listen to it today.

CD Length: 49:04
1. More Like Falling in Love
2. Everything Sad is Coming Untrue (Part 1)
3. For the First Time Again
4. Fade with Our Voices
5. Holding the Key
6. How I ended Up Here
7. Help Me, Thank You
8. Better Way to Live
9. Hold Me Back
10. The Golden Boy & The Prodigal
11. Jesus Use Me, I'm Yours
12. I Am New
13. Everything Sad is Coming Untrue (Part 2)

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