Music

The Internet Is Reeling Over Pitchfork’s Savage Review Of Greta Van Fleet

Hello 911? I'd like to report a murder.

On Friday, American hard-rock brothers Greta Van Fleet released their debut album, Anthem of the Peaceful Army.

It seemed to pass by without much fanfare outside of North America — that was, of course, until two days later. On that fateful day, Pitchfork’s senior editor Jeremy D. Larson posted his review of Anthem onto the site.

It was given a 1.6, which is the lowest score Pitchfork has given to an album all year — it beat the previous title holder, Comethazine’s Bawskee, by a full point.

In the endlessly quotable review, Larson leaves no stone unturned in his tactical assassination of the Kiszka brothers and their big major-label debut album. For a start, the review opens — opens — with this absolute scorcher:

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 hits just keep coming, with these choice quotes serving as just some of the highlights:

It’s a costume — Greta Van Fleet is all costume. And if things that look like another thing is your thing, get ready to throw your lighters up for a band whose guiding principle seems to be reading the worst Grand Funk Railroad songs as if they were a religious text.

Each song here could be written or played by any of a thousand classic rock cover bands that have standing gigs at sports bars and biker joints across America (the same venues where Greta Van Fleet cut their teeth when they were kids). So why should Greta Van Fleet be the ones signed to Republic and William Morris, because they don’t have bald spots yet?

 …at least Zeppelin knew to separate their sweet-lady-I’m-horny songs from their howling-about-literary-fantasy songs. Hilariously, Greta Van Fleet combine them into one on “The Cold Wind,” where the narrator (who is dying) begs his “sweet mama” to take the family ox (I guess) to town to sell it, when, mid-ox-transaction, this happens: “The Yankee peddler bargains with you on his way/Whoa sweet mama’s gotten herself a new dress.”

That’s funny, but it’s not supposed to be funny, because Greta Van Fleet do not possess self-awareness — at all.

 It’s proof of concept that in the streaming and algorithm economy, a band doesn’t need to really capture the past, it just needs to come close enough so that a computer can assign it to its definite article. The more unique it sounds, the less chance it has to be placed alongside what you already love.

We implore you to read the full bollocking here. The response online has been divided, to say the least. Music journalist and author Jessica Hopper was in full praise of Larson’s work on Twitter:

Dan Ozzi and Scott Wampler also got in on the fun:

Others were not so supportive of the review, deeming it mean or misguided:

As for Larson himself? He’s just rolling with the punches:

The band themselves have not responded to the review — but, it should be stressed, they are doing absolutely fine. Elton John recently sang their praises, they’ve just been featured on NPR and Rolling Stone, and no doubt their upcoming tour will sell to the exact right demographic.

And hey, look on the bright side: