Grandson – an artist who has been making a lot of noise and pointing his finger at obvious and relevant issues we need to deal with urgently. I have been following him for a while and he keeps amazing me with his art, however, I feel like the passionate musician is far from getting the attention he deserves.
His sharp tongue, unmasked lyrics, direct approach, and creativity when it comes to sound and arrangement are just a few reasons to give him the spotlight and listen to what he wants to say. A true alternative rock reincarnation Grandson uses music as a platform to talk about things which we need to stop avoiding and does it with an earth-shaking approach. With the release of A Modern Tragedy Vol 3 – a concept which has been unveiling for the past year and a half – I decided it’s time to talk about the necessity of his music in modern times.
He is one of the guys who know the importance of preserving a style to get a message across
The contemporary alternative rock symbol started expressing his concern and revealing the truth we have been trying to run away from back in June 2015. He released A Modern Tragedy Vol 1 which tackled sensitive but relevant socio-political issues one by one during its five tracks. The EP took a deep and brutally exposing look into the systematic failures of modern society without any sugar-coating or censorship.
Grandson seems to realize the power of music and he uses it to create a movement and open the eyes of the public about things which need to addressed instead of concealed. Fed up with the way our society is (not) dealing with problems which are defining our future the artist developed the concept of Modern Tragedy further and kept listing things which had to be said in two more volumes (so far).
A Modern Tragedy Vol 2 was released in February 2019 and Vol 3 followed quickly in September. Seeing the lack of change and the stacking of more and more issues I wouldn’t be surprised to see Vol 4 emerge soon as well.
A Modern Tragedy Vol 1 set the stage for Grandson’s rebellious and thought-provoking act perfectly. Uniting the true sound of modern alternative rock and fitting electronic beats increased the power of emotion – the EP hit hard since track one.
I still consider Blood//Water one of Grandson’s best songs – its brutal honesty and relevant exposure of something which has been a fact for several years now is sure to invoke feelings of guilt in some and anger in others. Greed, corruption and fast cash for the price of harming others are a major part of modern society and this is a red flag which has been ignored for way too long.
With a killer start, the EP was sure to be a success. Other tracks also hit hard in the socio-political aspect – 6:00 deals with another often ignored occurrence which is sadly still a fact – police brutality and death and how the two have become a totally “normal” part of today’s world. The dysfunctional system of society leaving people to struggle and gradually lose hope was not overlooked in Stick Up.
However, politics and social failure are not the only things occupying the artist’s mind. He is transparent when it comes to personal struggles as well. While Despicable takes a scary look into self-hate and haunting mistakes leading to a tragic end Overdose takes things to another level and explores drug abuse and addiction from a perspective which we are not used to seeing. The song points out the reasons people nowadays turn to alcohol and substance use and shows sympathy with a glimmer of empowerment instead of being a tragic self-pity ballad or blaming addicts for their unfortunate situation.
The fact that A Modern Tragedy Vol 2 was released in such a short time after the firsts act shows the sad reality of relevant problems stacking up one of after the other.
With a similar musical approach relying on the power of alternative rock and modern beats with overlaying hip-hop elements Grandson started Vol 2 with a personal topic taken on a global level.
Similarly to another alternative/punk-rock phenomenon wreaking havoc in the music scene nowadays (YUNGBLUD) Grandson points out the importance of unapologetic attitude and self-acceptance and love in the first track of the EP. Apologize is a great way to start the record for the simple reason that it is uplifting and empowering in contrast to most of the other songs which take a sad undertone.
The power of addiction and accepting violence as a normal part of everyday life are discussed once again. Grandson talked about those topics in Vol 1 but now he takes a different spin on the subject and presents the issues from a different angle – still relevant and still powerful.
The EP ends with another of the artist’s most powerful songs – Darkside dwells into the incredibly relevant school shootings and instead of repeating how sad those events are he goes deeper and exposes the reason why it is happening. Once again the reason is clear but ignored – it is our society and attitude which are to blame not the people who are pushed to do despicable things.
There is notable progress in the sound and structure of the songs in Modern Tragedy Vol 3. Grandson built up on the alternative rock sound with sharper and more indie-oriented sound by incorporating more modern elements to make the songs stand out from the typical rock pieces.
The first thing that Grandson wants to make clear in Vol 3 of his Modern Tragedy series is the ridiculousness of how brainwashed our society is. He exposes the close-mindedness which is trending amongst people nowadays and the stupidity of following the formula for happiness- study-get a 9-5 job-be happy-feel free. This is something which has been circulating in our society for quite some time and the artist uses sarcastic choruses and determined verses to showcase that this mindset is only dragging us down. And he does it successfully.
A badass beat with rap-rock lyrical elements explore the self-destructive tendencies and the vicious cycle of bad habits in Oh No!!!
Another one of the more personal songs by the artist track number 2 from the EP has political issues mixed in but focuses on the danger of negative mentality and the struggle of breaking away from it.
Grandson sounds exhausted and desperate in Put Me Under where he dissects the overwhelming pressure of modern lifestyle and the terrible effects of the media.
He relevantly points out the need to shut off and not deal with the stressful input of social media and news for a while – one of the main reasons for the growing depression rate and mental health struggles people have to endure.
Destroy Me is the most interesting song to look into from all the tracks in the Modern Tragedy series. This one has an extremely calming and contained feel and explores a different genre than Grandson is usually operating in.
An emotional ballad which the alt-rock guru himself stated is inspired by Frank Ocean’s Blonde the track represents a very illustrative love song. Extremely powerful and raw it is another one of the artist’s best and shows his ability to adapt to genres quite well.
After a brief break, we are back to the unstable sharp sound which was dominating the EP.
I believe the last track in the list – Die Young gracefully captures the essence of Modern Tragedy as a concept and unites most of the issues current society is facing.
The risks of self-destructive behavior mixed in with political topics and the brainwashing of the media. Another very important aspect which Grandson hinted about in Vol 2 (Stigmata) – the importance of truth and its longevity which cannot be silenced by violence is boldly confirmed in the determined and powerful chorus “and if I die young, the truth is forever”.
The determination of the artist to make a difference and shake not only the music scene (which he is doing quite well) but the mindset and blindness of people is beyond admirable and extremely inspirational.
Die Young is one of the most impactful and empowering songs by the artist and it makes several bold statements which hint for the next phase of the Modern Tragedy series. With another powerful and relevant statement Grandson declares that “The coming revolution will be digital” and exposes the need of change in the most powerful way yet.
Grandson is another one of the artists I would list amongst the most relevant voices and most creative musicians of our time. What he talks about is undeniably on-point but what makes it even better is his approach towards music, the refusal to abide genres, and the noteworthy progress with each new release.
I would really recommend checking his music out if you have somehow missed it – it will make you slow down for a while and think about a lot of things. A quality which I think displays a high caliber of music.