In his newest album release, “Minnesota,” Glenn Meling explores the massive migration of almost one-third of the Norwegian population to America between 1825-1925. Meling grew up in Oslo and after a few visits to the US, he became more interested in the Norwegian history here. Many Norwegians chose to relocate to the midwest, specifically Minnesota, and embarked on the journey of an uncertain future across seas. In those times, America was referred to as “Brother Jonathan,” a persona which Meling directly speaks to in his new single.
Glenn Meling is not a music novice. Now in his forties, he has been writing and recording music since a young age, with his first full length album “Sometimes a Bigger Heart,” released in 2009. Now after some time and with a new concept, Meling released the “Minnesota” album this year in which he sings and plays piano and guitar.
“Brother Jonathan,” the first single from Meling’s new album, sounds heavily influenced by early 2000s U2. Meling’s voice is strong and loud over the simple instruments, and as the song progresses the chorus become the focal point with an accompanying choir. The more songs I listened to, the more they seemed to follow this formula. In some tracks like “Secret Flower” and “The New Day” Meling incorporates horns which I think helps the music break from the Chrisitian Rock ballad genre it unintentionally sounds like. The song lyrics reflect an inspirational voice, with Meling often singing as if he was one of the 19th century immigrants. In “Brother Jonathan” he repeats phrases such as “I won’t let you down” when he addresses his new future in America.
Though the concept is different from many of the albums being released these days, I think Meling would benefit from infusing more experimental sounds in his songs. You can catch the rock influences immediately, which overshadow Meling’s attempt to create a unique sound. Without a background story, many of the songs can come off sounding like b-sides from an old U2 album.
Listen to Glenn Meling’s single “Brother Jonathan” below. For updates about upcoming releases and shows, visit his website.