Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Track-by-track: Will McMillan's 'My Story'

Last week's post anticipated the release of Will McMillan's debut album, My Story. As I said, I haven't been this excited for an album release in a long time, so of course I had to come back this week and give my thoughts on the project, especially my favorite track, "Lost And Found." Clearly I've had this album on continuous repeat, because it's only been out for five days and I've already learned the words to all eight songs (Okay, so I already had "You'll Never Leave Me" and "Never Get Tired (Running)" from previous releases, but to learn six songs in five days, it HAS to be good.).

Will McMillan - My Story (2018) / Amazon

Straight out of the gate, I was hooked on "Hanging," the album's opener. If you like country music, you'll definitely love this one. The lyrics are simple, but packed with meaning:

If You, if You go before me

You'll never leave me hanging

If You, if You go in front of me

You'll never leave me hanging

If you can get the "hang" of those lines, the rest of the song is a piece of cake, and the message is powerful: With God at the forefront, we're never alone.

Track 2, "Never Get Tired (Running)," featuring Lance Robinson, begins in a seamless transition from "Hanging." Inspired by Hebrews 12:1-3, this upbeat track is about not slowing down while pursuing purpose:

We look to You, the finisher

Of the race that's set for us to run

While the crowd of witnesses cheers us on

You give grace and strength to keep on

If you need motivation to keep going, you need this song in your music library.

Next on the list is another feature, "See You." This song is very reminiscent of Disney classics like Pocahontas' "Colors of the Wind" (1995) and Mulan's "Reflection" (1998). The premise of this track is the importance of reflecting the light of Christ, "Every day I live my life trying to be more and more like You/ That's the way I wanna live, so/ When people see me Lord, let them see You." This song definitely stands out from the rest with whimsical instrumentation as well as the addition of McMillan's sister Julia's melodic soprano.

The fourth track on this project is a prime example of how art inspires other art. "Best Thing" is a remake of James Cleveland's Gladys Knight-inspired classic, "Jesus Is The Best Thing" (2001), with a 2018 twist. McMillan added an orchestra to the mix and made it personal, "Who would've thought you would give up everything/ You're the only reason that I'm free/ One thing I know for sure is that You'll always be with me." Fans of the original version should appreciate this fresh adaptation.

Moving on to track 5, "You'll Never Leave Me." I can't say enough about it here, because I could go on and on about how great it is, and we have three other songs to talk about. It's so good, each verse could literally be a song! This track needs its own blog post. I'll save that for another day, but for now, chew on this:

I've played around for awhile and found

life can be no fair

But grace has a way of creeping up when

the odds are just not there

You looked beyond what I once was, a

hopeless tragedy

And stepped in and captured my heart with

love, so costly and yet free

Like I said, it's in a league of its own.

Next up is number 6, "Tell Me Where." Nothing excites a music lover more than hearing a snippet of a song and having to wait until it's released. For me, that was the case with this track. McMillan often included a portion of "Tell Me Where" in his performances of "You'll Never Leave Me." I heard the melody several times on his Instagram and wondered, What's that? Now that I've heard it in its entirety, I play it again and again. It strikes me as very hymnal, which isn't surprising, given McMillan's COGIC roots:

Father, I stretch my hands to Thee

There is no other help I know

If Thou withdraw Thyself

Tell me where I'd go

I don't know

Mellow and soothing, this one would be a great addition to your evening devotional time.

Track 7, the rock-infused "Scream It Loud," is a stark contrast to "Tell Me Where." This track will definitely be a crowd pleaser that works well as a call and response. It encourages listeners to share Jesus' message:

With my life

I'll scream Your name out loud

'Cause You are the one true and living God

Scream it loud!

The edgy beat and catchy proclamations of "Jesus!" set this song apart.

Last but certainly not least is track 8, "Lost And Found." Move over, "You'll Never Leave Me," I've found my new favorite Will McMillan song. This track is so nuanced. It's basically two songs in one. Inspired by the story of the prodigal son, the first few minutes give an R&B vibe and depict a journey of walking away from God and choosing to come back to Him:

I thought that I could go alone

Just take my share and just move on

A misleading option, prodigal, I was wrong

And I can't defend my side no more

Just when the listener thinks the song is over, McMillan switches gears and takes it to church. The prodigal son comes back to the Father and the crowd of witnesses sings, "Welcome home/ It's been too long/ Glad you are home." The transition from the groove of the "journey" to the full chorus in the "welcome home party" is phenomenal, the perfect way to tie up such an eclectic body of work.

One thing I love about gospel music is the fact that God is not limited to one sound. Will McMillan's out-of-the-box style is proof of that. He has managed to package several genres into a project that is lightyears ahead of its time. #SupportKingdomMusic and get My Story here.

1 comment:

  1. Much obliged to you for this post. That is all I can state. You most completely have incorporated this blog site with something speciel
    eventmanagement

    ReplyDelete