I felt like I was being lied to while listening to this album and not by an experienced liar but by a bunch of toddlers with amazing potential. This is detrimental to the entire genre of Rock. If all it can produce is carbon copies of its legends, then it is not evolving and thus risks extinction. Pulling inspiration from your betters and paying homage to the ones that came before is one thing and is encouraged across all genres. The line is crossed when an entire album consists of indistinguishable vocals and production. It’s simply not enough to change the lyrics and mimic the vocals of an amazing singer. In order to survive and thrive in the music industry, you have to bleed and put yourself in your music.
Anthony Fantano, the needledrop’s finest, made an amazing video about Anthem of the Peaceful Army recently where he tears into the heart of the issue.
Spitting in the face of artistic evolution is exactly how I felt about this new album from Greta Van Fleet. Where we deviate is that I don’t think this is an intentional effort by the band to cash grab with some sub-par nostalgia. There is no question that this band has talent but I am under the impression that might be all they have. Led Zeppelin stole tons of song ideas from others but always twisted them in such a way that made the songs unmistakably theirs.
Fantano accredits this to foresight but I think it’s more than that. Their personality absorbs inspiration and spits out Led Zeppelin music. This is more than a conscious decision but a byproduct of their confidence and awareness of who they are. Led Zeppelin had talent but they also had charisma, a distinct kick-ass persona that fans paid to see just as much as they paid to listen to. Without that touch of unique individuality, all that’s left is plastic renditions that will never be as good as their original counterparts.
Let’s face it–Led Zeppelin was one of the best in its time but Plant can’t sing those high notes like he use to. That’s the human condition. We can’t let Rock and Roll die with its legends. I think Greta Van Fleet can’t help but mimic Led Zeppelin because they don’t have anything else to offer. All I can do is hope and pray that they prove me wrong.