“Broken Bells” by Greta Van Fleet

Greta Van Fleet, as with many other rock bands, is a musical act with a mission. And as far as this particular track (“Broken Bells”) is concerned their primary goal, in the words of Sam Kiszka, “is to remove the obligation of generational synthetic expectations”. 

The said mission statement concerning “Broken Bells” is ambiguous enough in and of itself. So let’s see if the lyrics are able to clarify exactly what he’s talking about.

“Broken Bells” Lyrics Explanation

We start off with sort of the confusing allegories which also, unfortunately, tend to be part and parcel of many standard rock songs.  These include the singer seeing faces through a bunch a broken glass as well as “looking at the sky” and “see(ing) the city lights” but witnessing “no star fights” therein. 

As far as “the broken glass” statement goes, considering we know this song is premised on Greta Van Fleet feeling as if society is intentionally and negatively impacting the masses, then we can say that metaphor points to such an idea. And that would be people having their view of the word distorted, if you will. 

But as far as the reference to “no star fights”, Sam and boys would have to go a bit farther in explaining this song in their own words. And hopefully they can do that through the utilization of more laymen-oriented terms in order to help us understand precisely what it is they’re talking about.

But the second verse, when viewed through the lens of “Broken Bells” being an inspirational song, is a bit easier to understand. 

For example, a flower growing in between concrete is a well-tenured analogy for someone thriving even in the face of adversity. And overall, the idea being put forth in this passage fundamentally reads as if making it in the present world isn’t easy at all.

Chorus of Song

Meanwhile in the chorus we have the vocalist stating that he never wants to go to sleep. And why? According to him, doing so apparently reminds him of his own transgressions, or something like that. 

Honestly it is an out-of-place statement, seemingly placing the blame on himself, in a song which is rather supposed to serve as sort of a criticism of the powers that be. 

However, he then goes on to apparently indicate that he, as well as others, are rather in some kind of repressed state. But one day the “broken bells”, which are somehow symbolic of their freedom, “will ring”. And at that moment they will finally be able to express themselves freedom, or something along those lines. 

But in the meantime “we still play the game”, as in go along with the flow of society, even though doing so isn’t particularly in our best interest.

Lyrics of "Broken Bells"


So conclusively we can say that this song’s intended goal, as expressed by Sam Kiszka, despite being ambiguous isn’t really complicated. But the presentation of that aspiration definitely is. Indeed this is one of those cases where if the artist did not explain the song’s meaning, what they’re talking about could potentially get lost in the midst of somewhat shall we say peripheral metaphors.

Facts about “Broken Bells”

Being released on 19 March 2021, this track is from Greta Van Fleet’s “The Battle at Garden’s Gate” project. More specifically it is the fourth single from that project. 

And the singles that preceded it, respectively, are as follows:

  • “My Way, Soon” (October 2020)
  • “Age of Machine” (December 2020)
  • “Heat Above” (February 2021).

Concurrent with the dropping of “Broken Bells”, Greta Van Fleet consists of four musicians. They are Josh Kiszka (frontman), his brother Jake Kiszka (guitarist), his other brother Sam Kiszka (bass guitarist) and finally Danny Wagner (drummer).

Broken Bells

Josh and Jake Kiszka are actually twins, with Sam being their younger brother. And the band traces its origins back to a part of Michigan called Frankenmuth, originally with a drummer named Kyle Hauck, who only stuck around for about a year, to be replaced by Danny Wagner.

Greta Van Fleet didn’t get around to dropping their first full-length until 2018, which was entitled “Anthem of the Peaceful Army”. It proved to be a notable success, reaching number 3 on the Billboard 200 and being certified gold in Canada. 

And prior to that they dropped a couple of EPs, “Black Smoke Rising and From the Fires”, in 2017. The latter was certified platinum in Canada and gold in the US, in addition to winning the Best Rock Album Grammy in 2019. Thus “The Battle at Garden’s Gate” will be their second full-length.

“Broken Bells” was collectively written by the members of Greta Van Fleet. And the producer of the track is Greg Kurstin, one of the most-successful producers in the music industry at the moment.

7 Responses

  1. Vicki says:

    This band is so good, the lyrics seem secondary! hope they are around for a long time. and I’m 65 yrs young!

    • It's SUZIE says:

      January 2023 Watching one of those video channels located at about 5,000 on the remote. I NEVER watch those and for some reason??? Anyway now I am obsessed with them and their story. I think it’s interesting that they have developed a significant fan base of people like you and me, in their 50s and 60s. (I’m 63). I just feel sad that I’ve missed during the last 10 years!

      • Anonymous says:

        I too feell sad I missed the first part of their success! But better late than never..I’ve always been a late bloomer????Im 70 soon✌

  2. Anonymous says:

    Totally love this band. Best rock band to come along in quite some time.

    • Anonymous says:

      I totally agree, their music and talent in general leaves me speechless but then they add messages into their lyrics on top of their talent. I haven’t felt this affect from a band since the 80’s

  3. Fred says:

    I’m 60 and can’t get enough of my Greta playlist on Spotify. I’m a Michigan native but live in Naples Fl now. My license plate even supports the young super stars . GVFLEET… IM SEE THEM ON 10/22 in Estero Fl for the first time.

  4. Brianna says:

    Though there are many interpretations of the same words, I think the meaning of the song was missed.
    The song speaks about the recovery from your darkest days. It talks about how the weight in your mind can bring you to your knees, but no matter how far or how hard you fall there is positivity in every situation and you will be happy again.

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