Music Review: The Medicine

North Carolina native John Mark McMillan is a singer/songwriter that uncovers emotions hidden in the human soul and wears them unabashedly on his sleeve before God and man. His CD The Medicine creatively echoes parts of the prophetic books of Ezekiel and Revelation, offering apocalyptical songs, such as “Reckoning Day,” “Skeleton Bones,” “Carbon Ribs,” “Dress us Up,” “Death in His Grave,” “Out of the Ground,” and “Ten Thousand.” More personal tracks include, “The Medicine,” “Belly of the Lion,” “Philadelphia,” and “Carolina Tide.”

The lyrics are poetic, sometimes abstract and always emotionally guttural. McMillan’s experiences of pain and loss are contrasted with sparks of hope injected into his songs. The overall theme moves seamlessly from track to track where you meet darkness and light, death and life, living side by side and the promise of a new beginning — a resurrection.

The first thing I did when I got the CD was to read the lyrics. They stand alone as amazing poetry. As I listened to The Medicine, I found myself on a journey as a backseat passenger being taken along for a revelatory ride. There are seasons in life when it feels like you are hanging on to a thread of hope. This lyrical/musical work offers hope in the midst of life’s deepest struggles. With this CD, McMillan croons humanity’s pain and God’s remedy in offering us new life.

cause i’m a dead man now
with a ghost that lives
within the confines of
these carbon ribs
and one day
when i’m free i will sit
the cripple at your table
the cripple by your side
and i sit beside you
and i sit beside you

CD GIVEAWAY CONTEST: If you leave a comment on this post, you will be entered to win one of two copies of John Mark McMillan’s CD, The Medicine, courtesy of Integrity Music. Winners are picked using This contest will end on October 8, 2010 at 12:00am.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a CD for review from  Integrity Music. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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  1. Great point of view for a music review. I have to check out his music now! You should write for Billboard Magazine or a classical or Christian/gospel music publication! You would increase record sales!

  2. Thanks for your insight. From what I’ve heard it’s refreshing…as a worship leader and maybe future writer it’s always exciting to see new territory opened up.

    God bless.

  3. I totally find the review insightful and very honest. As someone who has been listening to John Mark for a little over a year, I can say that I can feel the heartbeat of God in every song he has written. I love the raw honesty in the lyrics and the sincere conversation John Mark engages in with God through the tunes, lyrics and beauty of love. God bless you all.

  4. This is a very humble and powerful testimony to the miraculous power that the Lord Jesus Christ has demonstrated in his willingness to restore us to the life that he originally intended for us to live.

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