I’ll be honest. From his debut, Hope Anthology, Volume 1 in 2002, all the way to his last release, 2011’s Economy, I’ve loved everything John Mark McMillan has ever released. McMillan really found his sound on his 2008 release, The Medicine, and has been perfecting it ever since. (The American church culture as a whole may still be stuck on his eight-year-old hit, “How He Loves,” but he’s written a number of songs that are better. I think churches should look at songs like, “Carbon Ribs,” “Dress Us Up,” “Murdered Son” and “Who is This” for their worship services.)
A year ago, McMillan looked to his fans to help fund what would become Borderland. Dubbing it “Best Album Ever,” a crowd-funding campaign goal of $40,000 was exceeded by nearly 175 percent, totaling $69,500. A year later, we now have McMillan’s fifth studio effort.
With singles like “Love at the End” and “Future/Past” already setting the tone for his latest masterpiece, McMillan has taken his love for all the generations of rock and roll and wrote another amazing collection of songs. Songs like “Guns/Napoleon” and “Counting On” capture the big sounds of the ’80s, and others like “Monster Talk” and “Silver Shore” tap into the popular college rock sound. “Holy Ghost” has the makings of a popular worship-song-in-waiting, as does “Future/Past.” Interestingly enough, if you’ve ever played the video game “Borderlands 2,” the title track of Borderland would even make a great opening theme.
As John Mark McMillan’s track record of exponentially great albums would suggest, Borderland is his best work to date. For all of our non-metal or hardcore readers, this is going to be one of your favorite releases this year.