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Minnesota is the third feature length project from Norwegian songwriter and producer Glenn Meling. In this, Meling attempts to transport the listener back to mid-late 19th, early 20th century, along for the Norwegian migration to North America. And while the narrative is very ambitious unfortunately, Minnesota leaves you lost on it’s auditory voyage.
Meling, at 44, has obvious experience as a musician and producer – crossing a few genres in his music and showing a variety of palettes in how he expresses feelings instrumentally. But here on this album it’s also apparent that his inaptitude as a singer and his sometimes shoddy judgment as a musician ultimately limits where his music can go. The storytelling and production is not at all helped by Meling’s almost decrepit raspy groans. It’s fits well if he’s talking about the hardships of the journey and the unknown, but it misses the feeling of the theme of freedom by a long shot; same with the tones of metal – which suit his vocals but doesn’t suit the overall project. The misplaced concepts that we hear really hinder Minnesota from being greater than what it was.
“America” is a song that suffers from unexpressive vocals and vague generic lyrics. On this track, and most of the tracks on the album, you can hear a choir come in to lend a hand to the distorted wailing singing. And the mostly good production – passable guitar and drums – took a turn for the worst towards the end, being overlain with an awful synth.
Track 7, “The Good I See In You,” has probably the best productions on here, but it’s too bad the soft percussion, expressive horns and bass guitar, couldn’t save it from being one of the worst tracks on here. Vocally there’s nothing good to say here; the sparse use of dynamics left us to dwell in tired, lifeless singing of Meling. It’s extremely sad that the production was drowned out by these vocals, and the one song where the choir could have added needed religious undertones and helped the singing performance it did not.
The single, “Brother Jonathan,” and “The New Day” were the best songs the album had to offer. Really good music, fitting lyrics, and boastful (not too bad) vocals can be heard on these two. I would recommend listening to those songs on their own if you can because it’s unfair for them to be lumped in with the rest. And I’m sure Meling has it in him make a solid body of music, though, I can’t say that was the case with Minnesota.