If I Left the Zoo

(CD - Nov 1999)
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The Essential Energy Christmas Promotion features many Essential Records top-sellers and an exclusive Chrismas premium piece. Your consumers will receive the Essential Energy Christmas EP free with the purchase of an featured title on the unique endcap display unit.


  • SKU: 9780760129098
  • UPC: 083061049928
  • Title: If I Left the Zoo
  • Qty Remaining Online: 1
  • Publisher: Essential Records
  • Date Published: Nov 1999
  • Format: Album
  • Media: Compact Disc
  • Music Categories: Alternative/Modern, Contemporary/Pop
  • Weight lbs: 0.23
  • Dimensions: 4.92" L x 5.62" W x 0.42" H
  • Awards: 2000 Dove Awards (Nominee - Recorded Music Packaging)
    2000 Dove Awards (Nominee - Pop/Contemporary Album)
  • Subject: Religious - Contemporary Christian


Carry me, Your love is wider than my need could ever be
Come to me, and I will walk along Your shore
Feel Your crashing waves sing in time with the music of my heart

Pour out, come down on me
Pour out, come down on me

River deep, could I know You as well as
You know me
Constantine, will we travel faster, farther than these
Legs could ever trustworthy be

Pour out, come down on me
Come down, pour out on me

Come down, pour out on me
Come down, pour out on me

Follow the crowd and love everybody now
‘Cause love is the best thing for you now
But you changed your mind, you let everybody down
But down is the best place for you
It’s easier that way, you know it’s

So wrong, can’t embrace it
Wish sometimes for any other you
But you can’t erase it, and you won’t escape it

Don’t waste your time
Your words only confine you
To all of the things you’ve buried now
Don’t ask them why
Their wisdom will leave you blind
But blind is the best thing for you
It’s easier I know, you know it’s

So wrong, can’t embrace it
Wish sometimes for any other you
But you can’t erase it, and you won’t escape it
How long will you face it
Till the wait comes crashing down on you
‘Cause you can’t erase it, and you won’t escape it

God, I admit I haven’t changed
Playing card houses still covering my landscape
I never expected You to stay
When I’m grabbing for these crumbs and cold loose change

I feel Your grace come running over every road
I love the way You’re calling overflow
I feel Your grace come running over every road
You break the floodgates down and carry all

God, I admit I’ve loved these chains
And crawling around this cage sometimes has its advantages
I know someday this could get old
And I’ll need Your healing water to find my home

It was the fear of God that led me to you
And it’s the fear of you that takes getting used to
I’ve never been one to hang my heart on a thread
But you spun me around and you loved me instead

I know I could turn to something other than you
‘Cause I don’t understand you and why you’re after me
I’ve never been the saint you wanted me to turn to
And I can’t see the view from the eyes you look at me through, oh no

But I’m alright, I’m alright, I’m alright, I’m alright
I’m alright, I’m alright, I’m alright

So cut below the surface and try hard not to notice
That I could be so foolish thinkin’ I’m alright
I’ve got no one to hold me, I’ve got no one to carry
Everything inside of me that I won’t let you see

I’m here waiting for something new to break my heart
So callous laden, I can’t feel a thing at all
Will You catch my fall?

From lost and not found, to run and not hide
My hand inside…(Your hand)

Fear is keeping time with the beating of my heart
Doin’ way too much thinkin’
And it’s tearing me apart
But I, I feel You reach for me

From lost and not found, to run and not hide
My hand inside…(Your hand)
Losing my grip falling so far
My hand inside your hand

I hear Your voice and follow
So hard to believe, and still I go

Say how’s the weather, so I look out the window
To brighten my soul, but I can’t control the rain
That keeps falling
Smile on the outside that never comes in
A comedy, mystery, irony, tragedy
So scream "let the show begin"

You break me open, turn on the light
Stumble inside with me with me

Do I entertain you
Do I preoccupy you with my wit to cover this lie
Are you mesmerized
Do you think me faithful, do you think me a clown
I picked out this shirt, I put on this hat
I wore all this paint just for you

You say you heard every word, but I watched you turn away
You eyes grew colder than winter
"Love is so intrusive," I thought I heard you say
And laugh so unconvincingly

Famous last words, "I’m not ready yet"
"I won’t be gone a minute"

Narrow is the road and too high a price to pay
When loneliness is such a sanctuary
Empty are the musings and wasted are the days
When you say you were only waiting

And famous last words, "I’m not ready yet"
"I won’t be gone a minute" and I won’t forget
Famous last words
If tomorrow never comes, will I ever know that I was in love?

I was in love
In love

You say you heard every word, I watched you turn away
You were only waiting

Collapsing was much softer
Still falling always hurt
Only after sensing your love
For always ever burned

You justified my folly
My affluent disguise
Removed revealing nothing
Yet nothing unforgiven lies
Unforgiven lies

No one loves me like you
No one loves me the way you do
No one loves me like you
No one loves me the way, the way that you do

To touch therose unfearful
Is to meet the thorn
And pierce the heart’s emotion
And feel the emptiness no more
Emptiness no more

Took some time to realize I’ve fallen

Open up your box of sunshine
And smile as confetti comes raining down on you
You feel a lot like the good guy, but do you know why
Everything’s so blue

Well, love is fire and the coals are barely burning
Cold fills the emptiness that fills this empty place
I taught you the walk but then you ran away from me
And that’s not how it’s supposed to be

I, I collide with love as an elusive state of mind
I know there’s something else it’s supposed to be
I, I collide with love as an elusive state of mind
Something’s killing me!

Tearful confessions have watered down and broken down
The chance for unrequited love to finally reach its wall
You’re waiting for the ax to fall
Can’t you see it lying on the ground?
You could be the best one at cleaning up this mess
Be the best one, be the best one, be the best one

I never minded calling You a king
If that meant that I could count on You
To give me everything
I never thought to ask You
I always thought You knew
It was never my intention to question You

You never minded calling me a child
Well, I guess that’s how I acted all the while
But You live through every tantrum, You see through every lie
Though they seem to be more common
I just wanted to know why oh why

Unforgetful You, unforgetful
Unforgetful You, so unforgetful

You never minded giving us the stars
Then showing us how blind and unaware of You we are
You painted me a picture and showed me how to see
Though I just won’t behold it
Unless it pertains to me

A flower for your vanity, a penny for your thoughts
About the world’s insanity and how we’ve gotten lost
Strike up the band to play a song as we go waltzing by
And fake a smile as we all say goodbye

Goodbye, oh goodbye

Say a prayer for recognition, kiss the ones you love
Gather up the ammunition, sigh for all the lost
Strike up the band to play a song as we go waltzing by
And fake a smile as we all say goodbye

Raise a glass for ignorance, drink a toast to fear
The beginning of the end has come that’s why we all are here
Strike up the band to play a song and try hard not to cry
And fake a smile as we all say goodbye

About The Songs

lyrical insights by Dan Haseltine

Goodbye, Goodnight

…a comical look at the end of the millennium through the eyes of the string players aboard the Titanic.

Unforgetful You

…coming to the realization of difference between God and man. The ways God makes His strength and mercy known, most often through our awareness of our own mortality and human condition.


…about the struggle and search for the rue meaning of love. A song that takes place in the midst of a wrestling match between the world and the word. What is love and why do I need it? How does it change me?

No One Loves Me Like You

…a metaphoric look at the risks and rewards of loving well.

Famous Last Words

…a serious look at the ways in which we procrastinate in our dealings with others and more importantly our relationships with God. When will our time run out? Who will we have lost the chance to love and be loved with?

Sad Clown

…about light entering into darkness. A friend in the throes of loneliness. The ability of Christ to see into our darkest corners and fill them with light.


…taken from a quote of Fredrick Buechner, this song is an elaboration of the idea that faith is reaching out for that hand in the darkness and letting it hold us and protect us.

I’m Alright

…a satirical look at denial and its grip on those who believe everything is fine even though the life they live holds no joy, substance or purpose


…about the grace of God and how it covers over a worlds worth of pain.

Can’t Erase It

…about fighting our deepest desire to be who we are not. No matter what we do or say we are made to be who we are. Coming to grips with our weakness and strength and how God made us.

River Constantine

…a song or even a prayer about the Holy Spirit. Using the image of a river, in this case, paints a picture of something both totally inviting and unsafe at the speed and strength of its current. Our desire to be overtaken and carried by such a force.


Jars of Clay takes its name from II Corinthians 4:7:

"We have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us."

Jars of Clay - walking on the street Four years ago, a band of eager, but completely unprepared, young musicians came together in a sort of "dormitory acoustic group" at Greenville Illinois. Not even thinking about an actual career in music, they began to write songs more for the fun of it than anything. For even a little more entertainment, they decided to submit a demo to a national new artist competition. Three million records later, the music of that unassuming group of buddies is heard around the globe. And the band, filling store shelves and the hearts of millions, is Jars of Clay.

Comprised of Dan Haseltine, lead vocals, Stephen Mason, guitar/background vocals, Matt Odmark, electric and acoustic guitars/background vocals, and Charlie Lowell, piano and keyboards/background vocals, Jars of Clay comes together with an excitement and spontaneity that is reflective of their youthful spirit and creative risk.

If I Left the Zoo, the band’s third album for Essential/Silvertone Records, grabs hold of the unexpected and stands it on its head. Incorporating a unique blend of organic and playful music - reminiscent of the group’s self-titled, debut album – with inspirational and witty lyrics, If I Left The Zoo refreshes the spirit and ignites the soul.

"If I Left The Zoo asks the question, ‘What if?’ What would happen if I left this comfortable place? What if I woke up one day and decided to do something completely different?" says Charlie, commenting on the theme of the album.

Practicing what they preach, Jars of Clay left the typical Nashville recording scene behind in order to record with Dennis Herring in Oxford, Miss. near the campus of University of Mississippi. Most of Jars of Clay’s fans are college-aged, yet the fact that the band was in town recording was kept secret. The experience of recording in a small, Southern college town seemed to lend a bit of magic to the process, also evident in the record’s outcome.

"Dennis really made us work hard and do things we weren’t used to doing," recalls Dan. "He reviewed the lyrics, said they were great. But then he told us to go back and write them as if we weren’t Jars of Clay, but individuals exploring the possibilities of a completely new direction of sounds and styles."

"We didn’t want anyone to hear the process of the record because to us it sounded terrible," laughs Stephen. "And then one day it’s like, hey, this is pretty great!"

Another pattern in the making of the album turned out to be "relying on friends." Jars of Clay enlisted the help of some longtime pals, such as bassist Aaron Sands and drummer Joe Porter (another Greenville College alum), and some very important new ones, like producer Dennis Herring (Counting Crows) and drummer Ben Mize (also Counting Crows) to assist their new effort.

Although the If I Left The Zoo project was lengthy and challenging, it was those experiences that the band felt allowed them to make real creative progress. The result is a record infused with enthusiasm, character-adding imperfections, and total personality.

"Dennis made the band explore all the possibilities of music-making. I think there’s more on this record than new songs, there’s a new attitude," shares Stephen. "We were each taken out of our comfort zones and pushed to be more playful and dedicated to being different where we may not have done that before."

Dan continues, "We try to challenge ourselves to not grow as Christians, but to also enjoy the moment we are in. Because what we learn during our experiences, gives us a better understanding of the direction in which we are heading. This recording process has been a tremendous exercise in embracing and learning from the moment."

The first single from If I Left The Zoo, "Unforgetful You," is elevated alternative rock with quirky musical components and dramatic lyrics that express the failed attempts of humanity to handle life’s changes without remembering God’s plan.

"This song serves to remind us of how forgetful we are and how ‘Unforgetful’ God is," reflects Dan. "It’s amazing the extent God will go to in order to show us who He is on a daily basis."

Regarding "I’m Alright," which includes backing vocals from a gospel choir, Matt comments, "Our perceptions of ourselves and why we believe we are alright, and the reality of why we are alright in God’s eyes, are usually polar opposites. It’s important that people remember that God doesn’t make mistakes."

"This is a record that expresses God’s relentless pursuit of us as human beings," remarks Charlie on the overall motivation behind the project. "It’s because of His unconditional love for us that we are allowed to be exactly who we are."

And exactly who is Jars of Clay? They’re still a group of good friends making music for the fun of it and letting God take it from there.

Film Involvement:

  • "Unforgetful You," Drive Me Crazy, Fox Pictures
  • "Five Candles," Jack Frost, Warner Brothers/Mercury Record
  • "Everything in Between" original song for The Prince of Egypt, Dreamworks/Dreamworks Records
  • "Flood," Hard Rain, Paramount Pictures
  • "The Chair" original song for Long Kiss Goodnight, New Line Cinemas
  • Performance at 1999 Sundance Film Festival Music Studio


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