1973 was a good year for music. It saw the birth of many a great band, albums, and more. Bands like Lynyrd Skynyrd, Queen, and my guilty pleasure KISS released their debut albums. Also that year was the release of Dark Side Of The Moon, an album by the world's most famous progressive rock band. So 1973 was a pretty eventful year in the world of music. Where was Led Zeppelin? After releasing an album for every year before 1972, every hippie and his brother was waiting for the band's new bluesy masterpiece. What the masses wanted was Led Zeppelin IV: Part II
. What the world received was quite different.
Enter Houses Of The Holy
. Never before had a Zeppelin release contained reggae. Or funk. Or a tribute to world music. When receiving this abum for my birthday in 2006, I was extremely excited. I may have even screamed when I took the wrapping paper off and looked down at the cover. Instantly, I knew what it was. Did I have to look at the side of the case to know that I had gotten a Led Zeppelin album? No. I instantly recognized the cover. How can one forget it? It has naked children on it. While many of my classmates looked at the cover of the album when I brought it to school and said "Gross!", the cover still remains one of my favorites for some reason or another.
When The Song Remains The Same
began, it was unlike any other song I had ever experienced. Robert Plant himself stated that it was highly influenced by world music, so for all I know, it could be a rehash of some world music tune that came years before it. But to the ears of Sonictheplumber, it sounded unique. It was quite an exciting song as well. After the minute and a half introduction, which contained some of Jimmy Page's finest guitar-playing and some of John Paul Jones's most enchanting bass-playing, I was wondering where the song would go next. Not to my disappointment, the song did pretty much remain the same. There were many melodic riffs and such, but the title was mostly correct. The song may have remained the same, but this is no problem, and I am wasting time talking about it. This song was beautiful. Plant's vocals were terrible, but it's hard to notice if you're listening to it without headphones on. Without headphones, the vocals were fine.
The Rain Song
showed that Led Zeppelin could be boring. Yes, this song is not perfect. It is very laid-back and enchanting, yet after about five minutes, it tends to disappoint. This song also shows that the band had a habit of commiting an act known as: "overkill". If you put too much salt on your baked potato, it will taste horrible. The taste of the last few minutes of The Rain Song is not horrible, yet it is sort of bland, They put too much salt on it, metaphorically speaking.
After the end of the first two tracks, I knew instantly where the album would go. Over The Hills And Far Away
is a classic rock radio staple, which means that it is played sometimes multiple times a day. I can see why. This is one of my favorite tracks. It had the perfect amount of salt shaken on it. Not to mention, pepper. It was a rocking song, quite unlike the first two. It managed to be rocking, yet it was one-hundred percent folk music at the same time. Page's acoustic playing was spectacular. After this song ended, I was sure that the album would go without flaw. It had already experienced one minor flaw, but it was still pretty much perfect. But there was some flaw in what came directly after it.
and Dancing Days
are often bashed upon and called terrible. The Crunge deserves to be bashed. It is not god-awful, yet it is the weakest track on the album. The lackluster vocals, the funky guitar-playing, and the fact that it is annoying make this track my least favorite on the album. Dancing Days however, is quite an underrated track. It is fun, and unlike the track that comes before it, it is straight-forward, catchy rock. The guitar-playing is unique. The beginning riff makes the song almost instantly recognizable. For some reason though, it is often bashed by even the most hardcore of the hardcore fans of the band.
Now, what exactly is
reggae? It's a (mostly) upbeat and catchy type of music, and of all of the reggae artists, Bob Marley is probably the most well-known. He is
the most well-known. Do you think anyone is going to ask you what your favorite Inner Circle album is? No, not at all. What does reggae have to do with Houses Of The Holy though? The song D'yer Mak'er
, pronounced Ja-Mai-Ca. Now, Led Zeppelin were not reggae artists, but they made this whole track of that genre. This is just another example of how diverse this album is, but I shan't go deep into the diversity of this album like all of the other reviews do. Instead of having a hard rocking Living Loving Maid
or Four Sticks
on the sixth track slot, Zeppelin did reggae.
Only two tracks remained, and already, I was stunned by almost
all of it. Then comes No Quarter
. It adds a misty and dark feel to an otherwise light and relaxing album. One person on the Internet Movie Database message board for Led Zeppelin claimed that No Quarter was the best song to "do the deed" to. Of course, I do not know if this is true or not, but that just gives you an idea of the overall feel of the song. And then, we are treated with the heaviest track on the album, and the perfect closer. It was a song that I was already familiar with, known as The Ocean
. The main riff is well-played to say the least, and this is just an overall perfect Led Zeppelin song. It has everything you want in a hard rocking Zep tune. The vocals? Robert Plant's voice does not disappoint at all. The guitar? Superb. Jimmy Page plays a simple, yet effective main riff that is catchy and memorable. The bass and drums? Jonesy does well as usual, and the dead John Bonham simply drums his now beatless heart out. So this is a perfect track, and my favorite of the whole album. It sounds mostly like your regular-old Led Zeppelin hard rock masterpiece, yet towards the end, it changes the pace and adds a 50's feel to it, with Plant shouting "Shoobity-doobity-doo-wop". Do not worry, this is also a good part. It does not at all resemble Jerry Lee Lewis or something like that. And there we have it. The perfect closer.
Thus ends Houses Of The Holy
, Led Zeppelin's fifth release. It is a far more diverse album then the previous Zeppelin albums, and maybe even those that come after it. It is near-perfect, but it is not perfect at all. The Crunge is annoying, and The Rain Song is boring, but other than that, we have Led Zeppelin at their best. It is a simply magical album. Listen to it on a sunny, beautiful summer day. Put it in your CD player, lay down on your bed, get comfortable, and enjoy the relaxing and diverse(yet still hard-rockin') sounds of Houses Of The Holy