Why GVF's Black Smoke Rising Should Win Best Rock Song at The GRAMMYS
Updated: Feb 10, 2019
If you know me personally, you'll know that I'm somewhat of a Greta Van Fleet fan (just a little) (okay, a lot), but PLEASE note that I have spent significant time listening to all the recordings in the Best Rock Song category, and yes Greta stills deserves to win this title, and here's why.
Before I begin, lets have the annual Grammys disclaimer regarding the fact that these awards don't actually matter, and they should't be representative of what is considered good or bad music. Please Note: Guns N' Roses, who have the highest selling debut record of ALL TIME, don't even have a Grammy (but we're not bitter about that, are we?).
Anyways, moving on...
This year the Best Rock Song category includes the following:
BLACK SMOKE RISING (Greta Van Fleet) JUMPSUIT (Twenty One Pilots) MANTRA (Bring Me The Horizon) MASSEDUCTION (St. Vincent) RATS (Ghost)
Lets save GVF for the end, shall we?
Beginning with Twenty One Pilots, their song Jumpsuit was placed in this category for I don't know what reason. These guys are constantly being pulled between the Rock and Pop worlds, which will only get more difficult as the industry becomes ever more genre-less. But personally, this song isn't rock n' roll to me. Don't get me wrong, the guitars on this song are dope, but the rock n' roll aspect ends there. My brain hurts when listening to this song as I hear rock, hip hop, pop and even edm if that's possible. Not sonically cohesive enough for me, but also not disjointed enough for me either... following along?
Bring Me The Horizon's MANTRA has so much potential at the beginning being a hard hitting rock song, but once the vocals hit I get too pulled into that mid-2000's overly produced rock sound that just doesn't turn me on.
St. Vincent. I freaking love St. Vincent. Every time I listen to her, I regret passing up the opportunity to see her in my city last summer. She's such an incredible songwriter, live performer and artistic genius. It's been said before but I'll say it again, she is the David Bowie of our generation. Masseducation, is a good song. It's not nearly her best song, but it's good. Very catchy and a good message, but St. Vincent also falls between genres here. Like Bowie, it's pretty impossible to categorize her. Pop, Alternative, EDM or Rock n' Roll? I mean the chick makes her guitar (the guitar that she freakin' designed herself!) sound like a synthesizer from the 80s, or something off of Katy Perry's latest top 40 hit, yet, it's a guitar.... so is it considered guitar rock? Is it rock n'roll if it sounds like pop? Should we even be caring about genres? Who knows? I sure don't, but if the Grammys wanted to nominate a St. Vincent song that may or may not have fit the "rock" glove, they should have nominated Los Ageless, which is by far the best song from that record.
Ghost scares me.
Apart from the fact this band gives me nightmares, their song Rats is sweet. The "rats" part is catchy (lol), and it's also paired with a badass guitar solo. It's your standard recipe for an 80's sounding rock song that might one day end up on the reincarnation of Guitar Hero. It's good, really good, but not amazing.
And finally, Greta Van Fleet (!!!!!)
Black Smoke Rising, was one of the four songs that appeared on their debut EP with the same title. We saw the song appear again, when the foursome from Michigan re-released their original four tracks, with another four and released a "double EP" entitled From the Fires (also nominated for best rock album). The song's message pertains to the varying problems mankind has faced in the past, but has yet to learn from. We get howling vocals from Josh Kiszka, paired with Chili Peppers/John Frusciante/By The Way - era worthy backing vocals from the rest of the dudes in the band. The guitar sound is classic as per typical Greta fashion, but they maybe could have upped the bass a bit (but the boys fixed that problem on their new album!). Finally, the last 35 seconds of this song are pure gold, GOLD. Jake's solo at the end could cure modern day poverty, paired with his twins wailing desire to be Ann Wilson is magic, PURE MAGIC.
This song is amazing, and deserves all the attention and glory it's getting. Hopefully this post will inspire you all to take another listen to it more carefully, (especially those last 35 seconds!) because this song is KILLLLLER.
Links below to check out all the songs nominated in the Best Rock Song Category: