Very rarely is an album the subject of heated debate before it even hits the shelves, but such is the case in the era of live streaming and iTunes and Amazon downloads. One such question has recently popped up in music forums, which is better Jars of Clay The Shelter or Third Day Move. I will answer the question definitively by saying: WRONG QUESTION. No, I am not evading the question, merely refocusing it. Third Day and Jars of Clay are two entirely different kinds of bands. It's kind of like saying which is better Katy Perry or Sandi Patty. More appropriately there would be two similar questions, which I will pose here. Question 1-Which is better The Shelter or Raising Up The Dead by Caedmon's Call. Question 2-Which is better Move or Horseshoes and Handgrenades by Disciple. Those in the first category fall in the Folk Rock category and in the second the Hard Rock category, though Disciple is somewhat harder than Third Day, both seem to fit nicely into the Southern Rock/70's Rock mold. My answers? For Question 1- Hands Down The Shelter, though with the caveat that I have not heard the entire Caedmon's Call album. The answer for Question 2? Let's just say that the Platinum Vinyl Awards for Rock is getting quite interesting. The answer will be revealed soon.
Now, as to Move. My first impression is that it is unlike most recent Third Day releases, and that's good. The moment the first song begins with a harmony by of all things, the Blind Boys of Alabama, I said "I think they got the wrong CD in the preview", but not to worry, soon Mac Powell's signature southern drawl is heard and we begin to ROCK. The CD launches with its two loudest songs Lift Up Your Face and Make Your Move, which is the closest thing to be a "title track". Listening to Mac try to get the high note on Lift Up Your Face is at least the worth the price of the download.
Every Third Day album seems to have at least one song destined to take over Modern Worship circles. Move has two. First up is Children of God, with its closing bridge We are the Saints, we are the children. We've been redeemed, we've been forgiven. We are the sons and daughters of our God. Take that Hillsong. Trust in Jesus takes us to Judgment Day, and Mac assures the Christian he has nothing to fear if he can say I trust in Jesus, my great deliverer, my strong defender, the Son of God. I trust in Jesus, blessed redeemer, my Lord forever, The Holy One. It never fails that some of the most Biblically accurate songs come from Rock.
Sandwiched nicely between these two songs is the bands first foray into Country Music. Surrender goes for two verses and two choruses as an Acoustic Country song before the band goes, "hey, we're a Rock Band" and they light it up with a String woven Southern Rock finish. I wonder if the CMA's give awards for half songs. I'll be Your Miracle is the other CMA award worthy song that can best be Kentucky Bluegrass Rock complete with Banjo. I know it's a long shot, but if country can accept a Pop/Techno singer like Shania Twain, why not Third Day. The only ballad is What have you got to lose and the rest are rock with the exception of the duet The Sound of Your Voice with Kerrie Roberts. Mac Powell has a knack for Talent and this is no exception as I have picked Roberts as a Best New Artist, Rock and Dance nominee for the inaugural Platinum Vinyl Awards. As to my rating for move, I give it a strong 5 Emerald Rating in Rock. I even enjoyed the country songs, and that says a lot.
Finally, the idea of a Jars of Clay-Third Day battle has not escaped the notice of the latter artists. In what may be a stealth shot across the bow, Mac Powell, in the opening line of Follow Me There states You need a place where you can find some shelter, follow me there. May the best band win.
Update 02/16/11: Due to the readjustment of the Platinum Vinyl Awards from a Strict Calendar Schedule to a October 1-September 30 Question 2 is no longer valid. Discipe's Horseshoes and Handgrenades made the final seven nominees for 2010 in Hard Rock, with the Award yet to be decided. Because of its release date Move has been pushed as a nominee in Rock for 2011.