If I Left the Zoo

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If I Left the Zoo
Studio album by Jars of Clay
Released November 9, 1999
Recorded Sweet Tea Studio in Oxford, MS, Battery Studios in Nashville, Tennessee, The Bennett House in Franklin, Tennessee
Genre Alternative rock, folk rock
Length 42:54
Label Essential
Producer Dennis Herring
Jars of Clay chronology
If I Left the Zoo
Front Yard Luge
Singles from
If I Left the Zoo
  1. "Unforgetful You"
    Released: 1999
  2. "Collide"
    Released: 2000
  3. "No One Loves Me Like You"
    Released: 2000
  4. "I'm Alright"
    Released: 2000
  5. "Hand"
    Released: 2000
  6. "Can't Erase It"
    Released: 2000

If I Left the Zoo is the third full-length studio album of the band Jars of Clay. It was released November 9, 1999 by Essential Records.


The band's third album brought about another stylistic shift, away from the lush sound of Much Afraid and into more of a raw and quirky pop/rock sound with occasional folk overtones. Keyboard player Charlie Lowell was featured much more prominently on this album. Due to the influence of producer Dennis Herring and drummer Ben Mize, this album had more of a Counting Crows influence.

This album produced several Christian radio singles, most notably "Unforgetful You", which also appeared in the soundtrack to the 1999 film Drive Me Crazy.

Album title[edit]

The band found a picture in a stock book of an elephant whom they have affectionately named Agnes. They bought the picture for the album cover and then had to come up with a title. Before landing on the name If I Left the Zoo, the band tried working the titles Already, Not Yet and If I Ran the Zoo for the album. However, the latter title ran into copyright issues with a Dr. Seuss title of the same name.

Out takes[edit]

The song "Headstrong", which appears on the compilation album Roaring Lambs, is an outtake from the If I Left the Zoo recording sessions. The song was set to be released on If I Left the Zoo since it appeared as the album's eleventh track on several internet sites before its release. The version that appears on Roaring Lambs is the version that would have made the album cut as it was also produced by Dennis Herring. The demo version of "Headstrong" appears on The White Elephant Sessions.

The name of the recording sessions for If I Left the Zoo was called the Tweed Horse Sessions. Many of the songs that made the final track listing were recorded in raw form during these sessions. However, only "Collide" and "Can't Erase It" appears on The White Elephant Sessions.


This album was their second in a row to earn a Grammy Award for Best Pop/Contemporary Gospel Album.


Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars [1]
Cross Rhythms 10/10 stars [2]
Jesus Freak Hideout 3/5 stars [3]
SputnikMusic 3.5/5 stars [4]

Track listing[edit]

Note: All songs written by Dan Haseltine, Matt Odmark, Stephen Mason, Charlie Lowell; except "Grace" by Dan Haseltine, Matt Odmark, Stephen Mason, Charlie Lowell, Mark Hudson & Greg Wells and "Hand" by Dan Haseltine, Stephen Mason & Jonathan Noël.

  1. "Goodbye, Goodnight" – 2:53
  2. "Unforgetful You" – 3:20
  3. "Collide" – 4:46
  4. "No One Loves Me Like You" – 3:48
  5. "Famous Last Words" – 3:26
  6. "Sad Clown" – 4:27
  7. "Hand" – 3:36
  8. "I'm Alright" – 3:40
  9. "Grace" – 4:31
  10. "Can't Erase It" – 3:35
  11. "River Constantine" – 4:48


Main band[edit]

Additional musicians[edit]

Production and technical[edit]

Charts and RIAA certifications[edit]

Release year The Billboard 200 chart position RIAA Certification
1999 44 Gold


  1. ^ Thomas, Stephen (1999-11-09). "Allmusic review". Allmusic.com. Retrieved 2012-08-09. 
  2. ^ Cummings, Tony (February 2000). "Jars Of Clay - If I Left the Zoo". Cross Rhythms (55). 
  3. ^ "Jars of Clay, "If I Left the Zoo" Review". Jesusfreakhideout.com. 1999-11-09. Retrieved 2012-08-09. 
  4. ^ "Jars Of Clay - If I Left The Zoo (album review)". Sputnikmusic. 2005-01-22. Retrieved 2012-02-24.