Greta Van Fleet is the band everybody is talking about, even your parents. Their music emulates a time in which rock and roll was organic. The “old school” vibes that the band gives off is what attracts audiences to them. In the past six months, they’ve blown up and find themselves playing on Saturday Night Live and winning a Grammy for Best Rock Album. What does this win mean for the band and for music? Are we returning to the roots of rock and roll? Or is this simply a case of nostalgia?
The band has generated enormous hype from people of all ages. The biggest critique that Greta Van Fleet faces is that their sound panders to an audience fixated on the past. We are so obsessed with retro culture that we gravitate toward anything even resembling it. Although the band draws you in with the promise of nostalgia, their raw sound keeps you listening. It’s been said enough that Greta Van Fleet exhibits qualities from artists of the 60s and 70s, but the vocals are captivating. They are not auto-tuned to death, like most rock artists you hear on the radio. The reason they are overwhelmingly compared to classic rock artists is because their music is natural.
Audiences are sick of the same generic bands spewed out on the radio. In many subgenres of rock, the newest bands being played are nothing more than generic copies of the bands that did it much better 20 years ago. With Greta Van Fleet, it’s very clear what they’re bringing to the table. They take their influences to another level and create their own hippie identity in a modern world. The band chooses to bring a style of blues based, rock and roll back to life that hasn’t been heard of in mainstream music. Greta Van Fleet’s fanbase is constantly growing, so why are they such a target for critics? Many have denounced Fleet as being “hackneyed” and cashing in on the nostalgia that is currently taking over all forms of culture. Where these critics are wrong is that they want to call them ripoffs, but many rock artists on the radio sound exactly the same as those who came before. Greta Van Fleet stands out among the crowd, even if it means taking inspiration from world renowned artists such as the obvious, Led Zeppelin, Eric Clapton and The Who. What is wrong about updating a subgenre of rock that many haven’t touched in years?
Greta Van Fleet’s rise to fame demonstrates that rock lovers crave more than the overproduced bands that they hear on the radio. This isn’t to say that Greta Van Fleet doesn’t have a lot to learn. The lyrics aren’t written by poets, but with time, their musicianship will grow. Their youth is apparent, something that has hindered their acceptance by critics, who believe they are just a knock off 70s festival band. However, Greta Van Fleet has something else to prove. They are not only influenced by rock and roll of decades past, but they have the potential to open the door to music the world has forgotten about.