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The Big Takeover Issue #90
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Glenn Meling - Minnesota (Self-Released)

11 November 2016

Singer/songwriter Glenn Meling is back with his third album, Minnesota, a concept dedicated to both the state that shares its name and the United States in general, in what couldn’t be a more poignant time. The lead single’s title, “Brother Jonathan,” refers to a name for America used by European immigrants coming to the country. The entire record is about migration to the United States in the 19th century, and Meling’s Norwegian nationality is able to provide a unique perspective of essentially looking from the outside in, just as John Cale did with “Buffalo Ballet.”

Inspired in part by the Coen brothers’ film, Fargo, Minnesota is a moody post-punk vision of the coldest and bleakest reaches of America, and the effortless postured cool of David Bowie is a clear influence of songs like “Brother Jonathan” and the robotic dance rhythms of “Secret Flower.” What’s interesting is that for an album about a specific location, it is almost entirely devoid of any influences from said country, making songs like the title-track “Minnesota” more of a detached study of its subject than an invested and loyal tribute. Released in October, Minnesota is an earnest and fresh take on a subject that previously seemed to have already been covered from every angle.