As an Indie Musician, it's always inspiring to see other musicians producing a great quality of music. So when John Mark McMillan, North Carolina singer songwriter, produced a great album despite the indie record label, I got all excited by it.
Borderland, John Mark's fourth album, has greatly inspired me as an Indie Musician. Not just because his successful Kickstarter project that funding this album. It's because his own album produced such a great musicality taste that can be claimed in the top rank of Christian Music Industry.
Released on March 4, 2014, Borderland has reached a great performance in many music chart. It even reached top 20 in iTunes Music store for 3 days after publicly released. It also reached spot #41 in Billboard 200 for top selling albums.
I'm surprised when listening to this album for the first time. It's like the album has the richness of sound, it feels like every songs were created carefully and taken with care. I can never guess what the next song or the chorus would sounds like (well i can still guess a bit if it's a ballad song though).
With this richness of sound John Mark has offered, I think it can be easily accepted with many Christian music lover out there. I also think that this kind of music offers a great variation in CCM industry.
Behind the Lyrics
Based on the interviews in Reel-Gospel.com, John Mark stated that most of his songs in Borderland are placed between secular and spiritual. Through this album, he wanted us to remember that there are no two sides in life, there can only be one side of life. There's nothing like Sunday is world spiritual day so we act decently and in the other days, we are acting just like other people would act.
He also stated in other interview that Love at the End is an expression of how people has become too obsessed with bad thing instead of the good one.
If you were to ask someone, "Give us ten reasons why things are getting worse in the world," they can, but if you ask, "Give us ten reasons why things are getting better in the world," most people can't. Especially being a believer, I get really bummed off about people who talk about how bad things are. Y'know? - John Mark McMillans
Notion About Music
I totally love the music in Borderland. It felt totally different compared with most CCM music out there. Opened with what you mostly hear from CCM music, Love at the End in the second album lift the music into another level with put a 80s synth key sounds.
Then at the Guns/Napoleon, John Mark continues the shot with rhythm slides combined with small tom toms playing medium tempo. The toms playing continues in the next song Future/Past which is my favorite in this album. It has so deep feeling in the music, yet great lyric support the song. Happy song continued in Borderland. This song feels really American for me. It's like listening to a fast tempo of country song.
My favorite tracks are Future/Past and Love at the End
If you look for some variation in Christian music, you'll find a great work behind this album. Even so, you'll still enjoy this songs by John Mark.
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