December 2018

The Song Remains the Same?

The classic rock pose of Greta Van Fleet has earned the millennial band worldwide buzz even as the Michigan quartet polarizes opinion.

National Standards: 7-9, 11

Prepare

Have the class read The Song Remains the Same (page 38 of the student edition). The article talks about the development and worldwide recognition of young rock group Greta Van Fleet

Key points in the article:

    • Within all the buzz the internet, local and national magazines have offered, Greta Van Fleet has seen mixed reviews, some of which are extreme.
    • The group is made up of twin brothers Josh and Jake Kiszka, their younger brother Sam, and friend Danny Wagner, all from Frankenmuth, Michigan.
    • The most controversial source of opinion comes from the group’s undeniable similarities to rock band legend Led Zeppelin. Some believe this is a fault, some believe its a necessary aspect.
    • Robert Plant himself, however, believes that Greta Van Fleet reflects his former band in a positive light with their own new twist. “They are Led Zeppelin I.”
    • Greta Van Fleet has found tremendous success around the world, as they have toured from country to country and picked up a substantial fan base — which is uncommon for a rock group in this era of music.
    • The band members have been playing their instruments since they were able to hold them, influenced by their father, who was also a lifetime musician.

Begin

Review vocabulary words from the article below:

  • POLARIZE: divide into two sharply contrasting groups
  • METEORIC: very rapid, in terms of the development of one’s career
  • BRAVADO: a bold manner intended to impress or intimidate
  • GAMBIT: a risky opening action intended to gain an advantage
  • REVIVALIST: one who revives a former custom or practice
  • CREDENCE: the likelihood of something to be true; plausibility
  • ECLECTIC: deriving ideas, style, or taste from a broad and diverse range of sources
  • HACKNEYED: lacking significance through having been overused; unoriginal
  • BEMUSED: puzzled, confused, bewildered
  • UNBRIDLED: uncontrolled; unconstrained

Discuss

  • Have an open conversation about how music evolves through the ages and ask for opinions on whether or not musicians should take inspiration from successful predecessors, attempt to emulate them or do their best to come up with something entirely unique altogether.
  • Talking points could be:
          • Generations of music, particularly in rock and roll, are dependent on previous artists and innovations
          • Often times, audiences are drawn to artists because of nostalgia and familiarity
          • “Copying” or reusing signature sounds and moves from previous artists could be considered unoriginal or not creative in the spirit of music as an art form

Play Greta Van Fleet’s “Highway Tune”

Ask

  • How would you characterize the band’s overall sound?
  • What parts of their music stand out to you the most? (ex. vocals, rhythm, harmonies)

Now play Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song”

Ask

  • Would you say that both bands have the same sound?
  • Which differences can you hear? Which group do you prefer?

Expand

Middle 8 is a YouTube channel that “tells the stories behind music.” Their review of Greta Van Fleet as compared to Led Zeppelin is enlightening and clears a couple of things up. Share the video with your class and discuss their reactions.