After a long time of not being able to post MP3s to The Blah Blah, I’ve finally got my own hosting service at www.theblahblah.net set up to at least let me upload MP3s for your downloading pleasure.

Sometime, I’ll transfer the whole blog over there, but for now, just to have files hosted somewhere stable is a good thing.

But enough of that.  You want to hear about John Mark McMillan.  I know you do.  I can tell.

John Mark McMillan, who has a name every Catholic grandmother in the world should fall in love with, is one of the new artists I found recently on emusic.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – sign up for emusic.  It’s the smartest thing you can do for downloading cool music.  Not only can you get 50 free downloads for just trying, but if you sign up for a monthly subscription, I get 50 free downloads and you get downloads at 30 cents a piece.  Beat that, iTunes.  And when you have a subscription, you can get your friends to sign up under you and earn you 50 downloads too.  In the past month, I’ve probably gotten 300 free MP3s from people signing up under me.  Don’t be dumb.  Just sign up for emusic so I can stop talking about it.

Anyway, John Mark McMillan is one of my favorites I’ve downloaded from emusic.  He’s sort of a worship guy, but he’s not copying everything all the popular guys are doing.  He’s not doing totally wild and crazy artsy stuff, but it’s different enough to catch my attention and catchy enough to sing along to.

Lyrically, the songs are great.  He doesn’t overuse standard Christian music phrases, though he’s got a few thrown in there.  He uses a lot more poetry to describe things rather than resorting to tried and true methods of making a Christian song.  It doesn’t feel like he just threw down a bunch of random Christian phrases to make a song.  These are real songs coming out of real situations.

The lyrics are pretty good and the music isn’t exactly anything you’ve heard before either.  It’s not totally trippy and weird, but it’s different than everybody else seems to be doing.  It’s almost more simple actually, but very fun and high in energy.  It brings back a lot of memories of 90s alternative rock, which I dig because that’s when I was first really listening to music.

The album I downloaded, The Song Inside the Sounds of Breaking Down, came out of the process of grief and healing that McMillan went through after his best friend died.  On his website, he says, “I don’t think there is any way of avoiding painful experiences as a human. Those painful experiences can either make us angry and bitter and cynical, or they can break us and change us and we can become more than what we were even before.”  The songs carry grief and heartache to the foot of the cross and then leave them there to find healing and strength through Jesus.

Talking about the role of Christianity in his music, he says, “Christianity has to have a place in my art because it’s who I am. If it didn’t then I’d come across as pretentious. People can see through facades easily.” Adding to that comment, he states, “The gospel has been abused so often that people hear the name of Jesus and they think of a used car salesman. We’ve got to change that.”  I couldn’t agree more.

Here are two of my favorite songs by McMillan.  Check ’em out, then go buy the rest:

Closer – Download – Stream
How He Loves – Download – Stream

MySpace: www.myspace.com/johnmarkmcmillan
Website: www.thejohnmark.com

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