“Highway Tune” by Greta Van Fleet
First off, let it be known that the titular “highway” is not to be taken literally. In other words, this isn’t a song about being out on the road. Rather, perhaps the most holistic way of defining “highway” as used within is as pointing to the singer’s romantic aspirations towards the addressee.
So another way of phrasing the title, as opposed to “Highway Tune”, could be something like ‘My Love Song to You’.
So basically, what we’re dealing with here is in fact a love song which operates along on a highway-inspired motif. Thus we have terminology such as “red light”, “green light”, and the singer ‘burning his gas’, all of which, in their own unique way, alludes to him being smitten by the addressee.
He also refers to her as his ‘midnight special’, which isn’t necessarily a road-related term. However, as used by Creedence Clearwater Revival in 1969 for instance, that term can be applied to the concept of traveling nonetheless.
And the way that assertion can be interpreted within the context of this very song is as implying that the “girl” at hand motivates the vocalist to take action, any time of the day, in the name of being with her.
Or perhaps we can further postulate that he is really looking forward to spending time with her in the “midnight” – if you get what that means.
Indeed the vocalist later goes on to expound that what he likes about this “girl” is the fact that she’s “so sweet, so fine [and] so nice”.
What “Highway Tune” is all about
So conclusively, what we’re dealing with here is what can perhaps be described as a pickup song, as in an expression of the singer’s desire to actually get with the apple of his eye.
But the lyrical focus, as opposed to how such tunes traditionally operate, is not centered on why he likes her. Rather it’s more like convincing her to give him a chance in the first place. Or put otherwise, she should take his advances seriously, as he clearly has feelings for her.
And going back to the word “highway”, considering that his main attraction to her is in fact physical, maybe another way the title can be interpreted is as this addressee being someone he falls in love with while coming across on the road.
After all, Greta Van Fleet were only in their late teens when they wrote this song. And we can say that especially around that age that yes, it is very much possible to be randomly smitten by someone you come across on “the highway”.
Greta Van Fleet
Greta Van Fleet is one of those types of bands who were fortunate enough to score a big hit with the first track they dropped. And that would be this very song, “Highway Tune”, which came out on 30 March 2017.
It is the lead single from their first EP, “Black Smoke Rising” (2017). And most notably, the song reached the pinnacle of Billboard’s Mainstream Rock chart, in addition to being certified platinum in Canada.
And as of the onset of the 2020s, it still remains the band’s most-successful single. In fact they came out with a new, live music video to the song in 2019, a couple of years after its initial release.
Who wrote “Highway Tune”?
The songwriting credits for “Highway Tune” has been attributed to the entire band. But it was Jacob Kiszka who originally conceived it as a guitar riff in 2010.
And reportedly, it is the first song he and his twin brother Joshua ever wrote together. And for the record, at the time, they were 17 years old.
According to Josh, this song “garnered attention faster than any of (them) thought it would”.
More Facts about “Highway Tune”
Prior to being officially released, “Highway Tune” was featured on an episode of the long-running Showtime series Shameless, in 2016.
In addition to guitarist Jake Kiszka, the other members of Greta Van Fleet that participated on this track are his brothers Joshua (singer) and Samuel (bassist) Kiszka. Drummer Daniel Wagner also took part in the song’s recording.
This song was recorded in Greta Van Fleet’s home state of Michigan, at a facility known as Rustbelt Studios. And the band is from a part of the Great Lake State, a small town actually, that is known as Frankenmuth.
Although they’ve been around since 2012, Greta Van Fleet has only released one full-length album during that entire decade. And that was 2018’s “Anthem of the Peaceful Army”, which reached number 3 on the Billboard 200.
And they also came out with another EP in 2017 entitled “From the Fires”. The said EP achieved RIAA gold status and earned them a Grammy Award (Best Rock Album) in 2019.