Greta Van Fleet: An Introduction

Being back on campus and having the privilege – yay!! – to attend a few in person classes, the importance of playlist boosters, new music, and fresh sounds has never been more important as they are now. As the year starts to unfold, starting your days off with energizing music is the perfect way to get you back in the swing of things, to ace that quiz or test, to push you past the lingering summer heat as we work our way into fall. And there is no better band to get you going than Greta Van Fleet.

The band is composed of three brothers and one of their best friends, and their chemistry is resemblant of their closeness. From a small area in Michigan called Saginaw, Greta Van Fleet started their careers playing forest concerts and grungy underground sets for anyone they could convince to come hear them. Now they sell out nightly, filling thousands of seats as they start touring more widely, their fan base growing daily. Their growth has been exponential and so deserved. In a time when pop rules supreme, Greta Van Fleet’s modern rock has shook younger listeners to the core and opened them up to a whole new side of music. 

The rock is smooth and cathartic. It gives you chills when lead vocalist Josh Kiszka sings, resemblant of Led Zeppelin’s Robert Plant. The guitar work is clean and original, the drums clear and passionate. You can feel the soul in their songs in a way that gives you butterflies, makes you scrunch up your face and bop your head. And because they are outside of the more popular pop and indie music of our day, they can be a refreshing break from what we all listen to most.

Their music fits any moment; a workout, a car ride, a walk to class. Below, I have listed a few of their popular songs which I feel are the perfect gateway into Greta Van Fleet. I have also added what types of playlists each song would work well in in case you are looking for new sounds amongst older playlists. These are the songs that will have you as hooked as I am:

“Black Smoke Rising”

My personal favorite song of theirs, “Black Smoke Rising” is the perfect song to understand the freshness Greta Van Fleet serves us with their music. From the jump, the song is high energy, and then Josh starts in with the beautifully exciting vocals. The whole song is the embodiment of music-induced passion and thrill, and there is no playlist this song wouldn’t fit on. I would recommend listening to it before class, as you walk around campus, and in the car on full volume as much as you can.

“Heat Above”

Another of my favorites, “Heat Above” is close to “Black Smoke Rising” in both sound and feel. It’s invigorating, the vocals, the drums, and the guitar. Everything just fits. My roommate likes to say it feels like you are “projecting into the astral plane” when you listen to this song, and honestly I can’t disagree. This song would be perfect for just about any playlist; rock favorites, car rides, walking to class, the playlist you put on when you want to belt songs in the shower. When I say any playlist, I mean it.

“Broken Bells”

One of their more intimate songs, “Broken Bells” starts slower and gradually builds into a song of angst and intensity. It’s more serious than some of the other songs on their list, and just as good. You feel every line of the song, the words have a power of speaking to you uniquely. I would recommend putting this song on a sad song playlist, a rainy day playlist, or any kind of cinematic or dramatically toned playlist you have.

“Highway Tune”

“Highway Tune” is one of their more rock-heavy songs, with long jams in between vocals, tough drums, and hard chord work. It is one of their top playing songs on Spotify right now, and is the song that reminds fans most of Led Zeppelin’s music. This song is perfect for a hardcore workout, run, or any moment in which heavy instrumentals would help you feel energized.

“Safari Song”

“Safari Song” feels like the song that would open up an episode of Stranger Things or American Pie. The music transports you to a time of summer camps and classic rock blaring through a portable radio. It’s nostalgic and modern at the same time, fun, enticing, and a great way to end the day. I recommend putting this on a playlist you listen to when you finish your homework, when you walk home from a long day of class, or when you want to be transported back in time through rock and roll.

Hopefully this article can encourage you enough to give Greta Van Fleet a listen, and add a little spice to your playlists as we get into the fall semester.

About Ava Mamary

Ava is an English and Communications major who believes filling her backpack with iron-on patches and pins is a personality trait. When not listening to older folk/rock music from before her time, she enjoys indie pop/rock, alternative R&B, and will talk to anyone about how she believes SZA’s CTRL album has no skips.

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