Who Is Greta Van Fleet? The Whole Internet Is Mad About This Band That Sounds Like Led Zeppelin

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Who Is Greta Van Fleet? The Whole Internet Is Mad About This Band That Sounds Like Led Zeppelin

Back in 1969, Rolling Stone famously trashed Led Zeppelin in the magazine’s review of the British rock band’s debut album. “In their willingness to waste their considerable talent on unworthy material the Zeppelin has produced an album which is sadly reminiscent of Truth. Like the Beck group they are also perfectly willing to make themselves a two- (or, more accurately, one-a-half) man show,” John Medelsohn wrote. “It would seem that, if they’re to help fill the void created by the demise of Cream, they will have to find a producer (and editor) and some material worthy of their collective attention.”

Medelsohn wasn’t completely wrong, of course. Led Zeppelin did lift a lot of its sound from its predecessors and contemporaries, as musicians have always done. But Zeppelin would go on to become one of the most influential rock bands in the last century, one that Rolling Stone itself would later idolize.

Musicians have spent the last half decade pulling from Led Zeppelin, but this week the Internet is mad about one band in particular: Greta Van Fleet, which if you haven’t heard yet, sounds exactly like Led Zeppelin. Even Robert Plant noticed it.

After an EP last year, Greta Van Fleet has been enjoying some stunning success, having wracked up millions of streams, late-night appearances, spots on the world’s biggest festivals, and sold out shows around the globe.

Much like Rolling Stone did with Led Zeppelin’s debut, Pitchfork—our modern equivalent of a tastemaker music publication—absolutely trashed Greta Van Fleet in a review published today, which gave their debut album Anthem of the Peaceful Army a 1.6 out of 10 (a score even lower than Ed Sheeran’s ÷).

imagine needing to go to internet war for greta van fleet, of all the things in the world

— jes 💀nik (@modernistwitch) October 23, 2018

“Greta Van Fleet sound like they did weed exactly once, called the cops, and tried to record a Led Zeppelin album before they arrested themselves. The poor kids from Frankenmuth, Michigan don’t even realize they’re more of an algorithmic fever dream than an actual rock band,” writes senior editor Jeremy D. Larson in the best opening paragraph of a music review all year.

And, again, he’s not wrong.

What’s interesting, though, is the polarized response to the album on the internet. GVF fans have been quick to jump to the band’s defense, accusing Pitchfork of trashing something just to be cool.

Meanwhile, Rolling Stone actually liked the album, which makes sense given that this was an album essentially made for Rolling Stone’s core demographic.

But why has this album in particular become so polarizing, at a time when there’s much worse and much more interesting music being made?

Me: Did you see Pfork gave Greta Van Fleet a 1.6? They DID THAT.

Them: Pull around to the first window.

— Daniel Ralston (@danielralston) October 23, 2018

Much of this has to do with the major label push behind Greta Van Fleet. Republic Records is actively trying to turn this band into the next rock music tentpole, as Larson notes in his review. And it’s also the state of guitar music in general, which has been waiting for another Black Keys or Kings of Leon to come along to revive interest in a rapidly aging sound. There are certainly much worse bands that have emerged in the 2010s than Greta Van Fleet (The Chainsmokers, to name one) more deserving of our hatred.

Yes, Greta Van Fleet’s music is bad and their entire aesthetic feels disingenuous because of the major label support, but it is harmless. They’re kids—19 to 22 years old—who just still haven’t grown out of that phase of idolizing Led Zeppelin. And who among us hasn’t been in a band that’s ripped off Led Zeppelin? I certainly have.

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