Apparently, since you’ve made it this far, my corny pun in the title hasn’t scared you off.  That’s always a good sign.  Anyhow, when Jake first asked me to review John Mark McMillan’s new album, “The Medicine,” I couldn’t have been happier.  (Well maybe if he had offered to pay me, that would have made me happier.  Or if he had thrown in a complimentary Ferrari…)

Ever since I was introduced to his work a few months ago, the CDs of John Mark McMillan have consistently found themselves in my stereo.  From first hearing “How He Loves” (from “The Song Inside The Sounds of Breaking Down”) during a worship service to then downloading “Hope Anthology Volume One” from eMusic and then playing “The Medicine” on repeat while I cleaned my house, I’ve been a big fan.  So though I will try to be honest and objective in this review, I have a long history of enjoying John Mark McMillan’s work, so I’m going to have a tough time being negative.

In a nutshell, this third album is John Mark McMillan’s best musically and possibly lyrically as well.

I would half-way like to end this review at that short statement, but I guess I owe you a deeper explanation.

Musically, there is enough variety in “The Medicine” to keep things interesting but never so much as to lose the heart and flow of the CD.  (There’s the almost country style of “Death in His Grave,” the edgier “Out of the Ground,” and the nearly CCM “Ten Thousand.”)  The music is great, including everything from choirs to distorted guitars without getting bogged down in anything overly showy or obnoxious.  With all the variety, the music manages to hold onto the down-to-earth, “real” feel of an independent artist and a worship musician.

Lyrically, John Mark McMillan again shows himself to be an accomplished poet and song-writer.  He employs imagery (“gravestones roll to the rhythm of the sound of you”) throughout his songs as well as rhymes that are just fun to sing (“Dance the dance we call living and dying, in the valley of the city in the belly of the lion”).  Rarely does he slip into the much too common cliches of Christiandom.  In fact, I don’t think he once says the word “Hallelujah” (Heresy, I tell ya!) or even “Jesus.”  And yet the realness of his faith is in no way hidden or covered up.  Once again, John Mark McMillan offers a unique, refreshing, and insightful look at a life of faith without relying on the redundant and overly-used words of most modern worship leaders.  What a breath of fresh air!

Ever since I first heard the music of John Mark McMillan, I was hooked.  He’s not afraid to get real, sometimes messy, and always beautiful in his worship and in his music.  “The Medicine” continues that honesty and realness with creative, talented music and fresh, thoughtful lyrics.  Make sure you grab his newest CD.  You won’t be disappointed!

Here are two songs from the album that I think you’ll enjoy.  Both songs are great and show some of John Mark McMillan’s creativity with this CD.

Reckoning Day – Download – Stream
Carbon Ribs – Download – Stream

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

Download MP3s at Amazon.com
Buy CDs on his website

Note: All MP3s will be removed after one week

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