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Smooth Bananas: Greta Van Fleet

If you’re on any particular “side” of TikTok right now, you probably have seen a performance by the band Greta Van Fleet. Their performance on Saturday Night Live has stirred up a lot of buzz on the heels of their album release. 

The band, signed by labels Lava and Republic, consists of brothers Josh, Jake, and Sam Kiszka on vocals, guitar, and bass, respectively, and friend Danny Wagner on drums. Jake and Josh are identical twins and Sam is their younger brother. The band has released two studio albums, “Anthem of the Peaceful Army” in Oct. of 2018 and “The Battle at Garden’s Gate” in Apr. of 2021. “Anthem” features 10 tracks of varying lengths adding up to approximately 45 minutes of music. “Battle at Garden’s Gate” features 12 tracks of varying lengths adding up to approximately 63 minutes of music. 

The band’s style is mostly a blast from the past. They are labeled as a “rock band” and that is an apt descriptor for Greta Van Fleet. They have been compared to Foo Fighters but most negatively to Led Zeppelin. Many critics have chided the Michigan-based band for copying Led Zeppelin’s particular style, and I don’t disagree on that point. I just disagree on the premise that copying another band’s style is bad or that any one band owns a particular style. I digress. The band has a style that is very much “classic rock.” I will contend that the music industry has definitely moved in a different direction but that doesn’t mean that a band made up of young, thriving musicians can’t revitalize a genre. 

Musically, the band leans heavily on the tropes of the classic rock genre: recurring harmonic patterns, screechy yells, and skimpy outfits. In an age redefining gender and what gender roles mean, young people breaking into the classic rock genre might just breathe new life into a supposedly dead genre. However, the music industry is tight knit against new innovations. The music industry has become something of a closed system. Sure, what people want to listen to still has an effect on the industry, but in the modern world of technology and music streaming, labels can slyly influence the styles and types of music people want to listen to. They can pay to have music previewed on popularly visited websites or even have influencers on Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube utilize particular music in their social media posts. The virility of a certain song can often depend on these platforms and marketing firms hired by the music industry have definitely capitalized on this new method of gaining traction with waiting ears. 

The band’s drawback is that they are so young. They have yet to grow artistically like so many artists need to really shine. Much like Taylor Swift was not writing masterpieces when she was 20 and certainly Greta Van Fleet won’t hit their stride until they’ve released more material. They are a band to watch out for even if you think their Saturday Night Live performance was a little strange at times. Greta Van Fleet is a band to check out, especially if you like classic rock or are looking for a genre bend. 

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