Taking the world head on, Johan Glidden has his own approach to problems. He accepts he is Unprepared, the title of his EP. The challenges might be different for everyone, but find yourself a path to follow and it might all become worthwhile. For no one was equipped with all the tools.
Unprepared-An album well prepared
To the point where he is at now, Johan told me about the time that he decided to make this album:
After leaving a couple groups that I was a part of (2 years ago) I began a journey in recording myself and learning how to self-engineer/produce. It was a tough journey, but at the same time so exciting and new, so I dug in full-force, working day and night to learn all that I possibly could.
About a year into that journey, having released a few singles, I decided that I was ready to give the album/EP thing a shot, and started working. I had probably 30 eligible songs to choose from that I’d written over the previous year or two, but the 7 that I ended up with were those that I felt reflected the themes I was focused on the best.
Opening the album with the title song Uprepared, Glidden makes a short, catchy introduction to his self-artistic and personal. His song has all the elements for a fun song with admission to the obvious-him being unequipped to handle this new world, but it will all happen. It is a simple start to a complex world.
The pandemic’s influence
The songs on the record are certainly informed by the pandemic we experienced in 2020. The title track, Unprepared, especially. The opening lyrics of the song are “white noise of a dark time,” which I feel set up the tone of the album. It’s a record about inadequacy and knowing you’re not possibly ready for what God, the world and life itself are going to throw your way.
Shifting to the poetry of pianos and the power of his soft voice, Glidden creates a mellow break with Through Your Eyes. As the instruments slowly drizzle in, aiding the overall quality of the song-Glidden continues with his mesmerizing vocals. The solos really work for this track, especially the flourishes keeping it miles above the ground.
Released as one of his more popular singles earlier this year, Scary is a mixture of emotions and depths. His vocals take center stage, the bass and piano just caging the sound while it percolates through the depth of the vocals. A shift in the mood with a brilliant track.
We Made You is a swelling escapade from the mortal world. Johan Glidden keeps us hooked with the vocals as the guitars skate over the synths flowing in the background. The massive drum sounds in the background sound great when suppressed. Especially beautiful bridge and chorus section-profound.
Introducing complexity with simplicity
With the next track Shores of Nineveh, Glidden really expands his forte and range into an older Coldplay like style. The instrumental part is addictive, with the simple chord strikes enough to help Glidden’s voice cascade through the song. The strength of his lyrics is really explored with this single, unique, and prophetic almost. The second bridge is especially well placed, helping the song breathe.
This record spans a few styles in my view. Pop-rock, alternative pop, folk, contemporary worship with a bunch of influences mixed in there. As far as the future goes, I’d love to explore more in the soul and r&b camps of writing and producing. It’s not a style that I naturally write in, but so much of my favorite music comes from that tradition, so it’d be an adventure. And I’d love to collaborate with other artists on a similar path: rappers, instrumentalists, singers etc.
The most popular song Glidden has released, it is evident by hearing it once why it is a crowd favorite. Still Small Voice speaks like everyone going through a troubling moment in life, how it doesn’t pass sometimes and when the struggle gets real. The quintessential closing track, the marching drum snare part is a gorgeous chord progression which Johan Glidden does justice to.
The lyricism in Unprepared
About the songs writing themselves:
Every song on this album is pretty personal to me and I can remember exactly how I felt writing each one. There are certainly songs I’ve written in the past that may be from the perspective of a friend, or even an enemy, and I think that those are quite fun to write as well.
Not everything needs to be autobiographical and the world could use more “story-songs,” but these songs just happen to be true to me. The only one that breaks from that mold is “We Made You,” which is a little more mystical, coming from the perspective of protagonists that I don’t identify.
Closing with a subtle acoustic and piano infused track called Under the Overpass, Glidden reflects on his journey thus far. It is an impressive canvas he has painted, an attempt to master a genre that seems complex because it is easy to approach. However, making melodies that haven’t been heard before are what deserve the attention and praise Glidden should be showered with. The simple drum track does wonders, stripping the song down to its pillars.
Johan will be on tour, so here is a shout-out from him:
I’m excited to say that I will be on tour across the states in October and November and those dates will be available on instagram.com/Johanglidden or facebook.com/johanglidden. I will also be releasing a deluxe edition of this record, featuring a new single, and I can’t wait for folks to hear it! There are so many more stories that I want to tell, and so much more on the slate, so please follow me to join me on my journey!
Listen to Johan Glidden’s debut masterpiece Unprepared here: