3 of 4 thought this review was well written
This CD is basically a showcase of Led Zeppelin's career. It is similar to a best of album, but is lacking such songs as "Bron-Y-Aur Stomp" and "Thats the Way". The one noticeable thing about this album, is obviously that it has been remastered. Such songs as "Stairway to Heaven" and "Achilles Last Stand" really shine in this new role as a remastered song.
In my opinion, the first CD far outshines the second. I think that their earlier stuff (esp. III
) are superior to those of Presence
and In Through the Out Door
which I felt were poor compared to Led Zeppelin standards. However, Physical Graffiti
remains my favourite Led Zeppelin album.
Communication Breakdown (2:28)
One of my personal favourites. Starts with an evil riff, which is pretty good considering the simpleness of it, and Plant' vocals really shine in this song. The chorus is very entertaining, with great bass from Jones. The bridge contains one of many solos on the album, and is probably one of the better ones. A short, yet memorable song.
Babe I'm Gonna Leave You (6:41)
This was originally an old folk-bluesy song by Anne Breedon, and Led Zeppelin have made it one of their own. That said, I am not a big fan of Led Zeppelin's slow songs. However, the riff at about 2:24 is pretty good and saves the listener from falling asleep! Jimmy Page's acoustic is amazing, especially his lead work. Plant sort of wrecks the mellow feel of the song in parts by screaming "I never" and "Baby" several times, but is appropriate when the heavier riff comes in. apart from that, Plant gives a superb performance on lyrics.
Good Times Bad Times (2:43)
Another short song with a killer riff. The whole song is pretty similar to "Communication Breakdown", but is a lot more calmer. One of their more poppier songs, it is very easy to listen to, and is quite catchy. Two amazing solos by Page finish the song off in style.
Dazed and Confused (6:26)<
The definitive Led Zeppelin song. Live, that is. Whilst not the best song, Page made this song famous for playing his guitar with a bow, usually used on violins and double basses etc. and making the live versions go for insane amounts of time, usually 20+ minutes. I don't rate this song much in the studio. Jones' bass in the bridge is excellent, and Plant's vocals and Page's guitar work makes it a sort of trippy atmosphere. The solo by Page is one of his best, quite fast, and of course with perfect style and feel, as he is one of the few guitarists in the world gifted with that. To really appreciate this song, listen to the versions on "How the West Was Wo" (25:25) and the DVD (15+).
Whole Lotta Love (5:34)
I really can't understand… why this song is popular! I find it nothing less than annoying, oh well. The song seems like a corny TV commercial to me, and is so cliched it ain't funny. The bridge part (with the hi-hat) had the potential to be extremely awesome, but they didn't utilise that. The guitar solo, another amazing one by Page, saves this monotonous song from boring the listener from changing songs. Listening to it again though, I will admit the riff is pretty evil. So it's ok. I suppose.
EXCELLENT opening riff. It's based on the 12 bar blues, sort of, but manages to sound great!!! Apart from the excellent riff, and of course another sublime solo (I am running out of superlatives for Page already!) by Page, this song doesn't have much going for it, in my opinion. The solo is probably one of the first tapping solos around, and I have heard that it influenced Eddie Van Halen to compose Eruption! (I am not 100% sure about this). I am not a tapping fan though, so the blues solo that follows is far better. This would be a great song, if it didn't have Plant in it.
Ramble On (4:24)
Another personal favourite, although I don't quite know why. More of a fun song than anything else. The intro on the acoustic is almost playful in a way, and Plant uses his vocals to produce that song, yet hindering on heavy, that only he can do. The bass in the intro is again excellently good. There is not much to really say about this song, except it is very listenable, and has some sort of solo, I think it's an accordion, but I'm not sure. It couldn't be a Led Zeppelin song, however, without a Page solo, although short it is very good.
Immigrant Song (2:23)
Probably my favourite Led Zep song, if not very, very close. This song belts out with a simple, upbeat, yet catchy octave riff. It is the perfect opening song for an album, which it did for III
. "We come from the land of the ice and snow" Plant wails over the stomping beat. The immigrants in this song refer probably to Vikings "hammer of the Gods, Valhalla I am coming". (Valhalla is a place in Norway, I think!)
Unbelievably, there is no Page solo. This is Plant's song, and he doesn't let anyone get in his way of glory, and rightfully so. He gives a tremendous performance. The only problem I have with this song is that it is too short, and it ends rather abruptly. The live version of this, on the DVD, I am in two minds with. Plant wrecks the song live in my opinion. But with a lengthy Page solo, it more than makes up for it. So I would say listen to the live version off the DVD, it is better.
Celebration Day (3:28)
I am not sure why this song was included. I think Page must have been on the same drugs when he included this song as when he composed the song. The intro is laughable. Not in a bad way, I find it humerous. But anyway, Page should have included bron-y-aur stomp or That's the Way instead. The song is alright
, it's at least listenable, somewhat. There is a certain lick by Page that makes the song almost unbearable though.
Since I've Been Loving You (7:24)
Great song, maybe the best off III
, well the best composed anyway. The track starts off with a fairly long blues solo by Page (about a minute). The drums accompany it finely. The organ, played by Jones, pulses in at about 0:48, just when Page climaxes his solo. It is a simple song. The verse is simply a bassline, with drums and guitar fills around the place, and Plant giving a stirring performance with the relatively poor lyrics included with the original. The chorus is one of the memorable things off both III
and this album, as is the Page solo at about 3:40. Unfortunately, in my opinion Plant again sort of wrecks the mellow side of the song by screaming out in parts that he doesn't need to do, and Bonham's drum roll in the Page solo isn't required either. But oh well. The ending is quite nice, it just slowly rolls to a stop. Overall, this a very nice and relaxing track, and I recommend it muchly.
Black Dog (4:54)
This song kicks off Untitled
with a bang: Black Dog is one of Zeppelin's most memorable riffs, which proceeds after each passage by Plant. Plant's lyrics start off good enough "Hey, hey, mama, said, the way you move/gonna make you sweat, gonna make you groove", an obvious ode to dancing, but turn rather sour towards the end "I don't know, but I been told/a big-leg woman ain't got no soul" whatever the hell that means. The band put in a good performance for this, slightly let down by the vocalist. A mandatory Page solo ends this classic with a stomping solo, maybe second best on the album to Stairway.
Rock and Roll (3:40)
Funnily enough, the title is "rock and roll" while the piece is based on a blues progression. Meh. This is an extremely fun song to play along to and listen to. Probably one of Plant's finest ever performances. The jam session in the middle is quite good, with overdubbing mania by Page, with the riff, licks and a solo. Page wails various wails, Jones expertly keeps the beat, and Bonham does what he does best - makes Page look good. Plant takes somewhat of a backseat in terms of input, but makes up for it with the performance he gives. A cool but strange final chord ends the song - it is out of place somewhat, like about 2 tones out.
The Battle of Evermore (5:51)
Wow. What a strange song. This mandolin-saturated ballad is a weird one. I love Led Zeppelin, but hate it when Plant gets involved with mysticism and folklore. In this epic, Plant sings of "The Queen of Light took her bow, and then she turned to go/The Prince of Peace embraced the gloom, The magic runes are writ in gold to bring the balance back, and The pain of war cannot exceed the woe of aftermath/The drums will shake the castle wall/The Ringwraiths ride in black, ride on." You may like this track, you may not. In my opinion, you probably won't. At least give it a listen. Tell me what you think.
Misty Mountain Hop (4:39)
Splendid intro, by Jones on the synth. This is a good song, but can be a let-down, depending on how you listen to it. If, like this CD, you have just endured nearly 6 minutes of The Battle of Evermore, you will love this song. If, on the actual CD, you have just heard Stairway to Heaven, this song will probably be a let-down. However, if you just randomly listen to it, it is delightfully good. A repetitive riff by Jones and Page on their respective instruments, with Bonham's expert drumming and Plant's wailing all seem to come together in this song. The song can get rather repetitive though after 4:39. Surprisingly, there are no quick solos by Page to repel the sameness of the song, let alone a huge one to give the listener a point to listen to the whole thing.
Stairway to Heaven (8:01)
Listening to the intro, a simple acoustic with a flute, it doesn't seem to be one of the greatest songs ever, but has a strange aura around it. You get shivers up your spine every time you hear the haunting intro. It is unforgettable. Plant's "oohs" make it even more mystic. The flute is mystic, almost silently accompanying the guitar. There is a notable absence of drums and bass. "It makes me wonder" Plant almost moans out. What is he wondering about? We can only ponder the fact. This is a perfectly structured song; it intertwines the finger picked phrase perfectly with the chords with an arpeggiated lick that, like the intro, is unforgettable. The listener has to wait 4:18 for the drums and bass to make their appearance, and when they do, the song says farewell to the flute, such a simple instrument, used so simply in the song, but used to such a great effect. The bass and drums, whilst beautiful, makes the song lose some of its aura of mysticism about it. Next, the Page solo. Like I said before, what is a Zeppelin song without a solo? This has been hailed as the best solo of all time, and it's not hard to see why. The build up to it is sublime, for one. Like all good little jazz and blues boys know, the perfect solo starts of simple, with two bar phrases, and gradually builds to a climax. This is exactly what Page does, and flawlessly. The call and response bit, at 6:26, is simply amazing; words fail me. Then we get to true Led Zeppelin: heavy rock. The guitar beautifully enters the rocking ending from its solo. All the way through the piece, it had been Page's show, but that changes and Plant takes over. I am rather glad that Plant does his part flawlessly, and even when Bonham gets excited and does over-the-top drum rolls, it just works. The piece ends like it did starts: very quietly. It enters the room, kicks up a storm, and leaves before anyone can say anything. In short: A simply stunning song by a stunning band.
The Song Remains the Same (5:29)
The lengthy introductory instrumental session has everything: a catchy opening riff, great guitar work, excellent bass, stomping drums, and a great solo. The listener doesn't hear Plant for about 90 seconds. A very mellow verse compared to the intro by the band. The title contradicts the song, hardly any phrases in the song are alike. Page has many solos in this song, about four, and they are all amazing. Plant's voice is too high pitched for my liking, and it kind of let the song down. Jones' bass playing is evil: he and Bonham keep the beat exceptionally well. A fun song to listen to overall.
The Rain Song (7:39)
This is a beautiful song. Quite hilarious though, the opening lyric "You are the sunlight in my growing" sounds remarkably like "You are the sunlight in my groin!" This is one of the better Led Zeppelin acoustic songs. The opening arpeggiated chord is to die for. The string arrangement is superb, played on the synth by Jones. The only problem I have with this song is that it is rather repetitive, and if you are like me, and not really into the meanings of the lyrics, you will probably get rather bored. There is an excellent, heavier bridge which is very entertaining, and the ending bit on acoustic is quite nice, ending like how it started: with an arpeggiated chord.
D'yer Mak'er (4:23)
Wow, what a cool song! The first thing I thought when I heard this off Houses of the Holy is that "As if Zeppelin did THIS song!" This is apparently how they got the title (www.allmusic.com) Plant has claimed in numerous interviews that the title is derived from a bad joke: Man #1: My wife is going on holiday. Man #2: D'yer Mak'er? (which is pronounced somewhere between "Da ye make her?" and "jah make ah") Man #1: No, she's going on her own accord. Bad joke? More like very bad. But anyway; funnily enough, the song is based on Jamaican style of music: reggae. A almost playful beat by Bonham, a regular reggae beat by Jones and a reggae feel by Page set the tone, when Plant moans out his "ah ahhs" and "ooh ohhs" perfectly. This is a fun love song, but I have no idea where they got the influence from.
No Quarter (7:00)
This is another strange song off Houses of the Holy. An echo-saturated electric piano pulses out initially, with an occasional low bass note, making for an EXCELLENT introduction. Drums eventually come in with a relatively simple beat, then we are introduced to Page's guitar, which is also saturated with something (I'm not a guitarist). Plant's lyrics are even weirder, apparently slowed down and injected with chorus. The lyrics are quite surreal "Walking side by side with death/The devil mocks their every step/ The snow drives back the foot that's slow/The dogs of doom are howling more/They carry news that must get through/To build a dream for me and you". His obsession with Vikings continues (III's "Immigrant Song") "The winds of Thor are blowing cold/They're wearing steel that's bright and true". One of the finest bits in the song is the piano solo over the electric piano ambience music, in my opinion. It is very relaxing, and quite good. I don't know if I like this song or not, it is a bit odd.
Houses of the Holy (4:03)
This is a great song, possibly my favourite Led Zeppelin song ever. A tinny guitar tone opens the song with a blistering riff that continues almost all the way through its 4:03 duration. Page saves this from getting monotonous by adding unbelievably good licks in the gaps of the riff. Plant's lyrics are rather strange in this song, notably: "So the world is spinning faster/Are you dizzy when you're stoned". Maybe it's an ode to himself? However, Plant's vocals are excellent, his wails are almost perfected by this album. The obligatory Page solo is excellent, the tinny sound is refined for it, and it is one of his best. A simple song, yet insanely effective and catchy.
P.S. Why wasn't this song included on the Houses of the Holy album? Wouldn't it make more sense? Oh well.
This song is probably the reason, along with "Houses of the Holy", why Physical Graffiti remains my favourite Led Zeppelin album. Possibly one of the catchiest riffs/hooks ever (both the verse bit and the semitone descending bit) you will never get this song out of your head. The song opens with a huge crash by Bonham on drums and the verse, as said before, very catchy. This song is monolithic in its 8:32 minutes, a great brass arrangement by the band, featuring Jones on the synth. Plant wails through the bridge of the song, again he does it superbly. He still rambles on about mythology, and there is ambiguity in his lyrics: "I am a traveler of both time and space, to be where I have been/To sit with elders of the gentle race, this world has seldom seen" and "Oh, pilot of the storm who leaves no trace, like thoughts inside a dream/Heed the path that led me to that place, yellow desert stream/My Shangri-La beneath the summer moon, I will return again/Sure as the dust that floats high in June, when movin' through Kashmir". This song is one of the longest the Led Zep have ever composed, and considering it is pretty slow paced, it feels like it goes on forever, which you will no doubt want it to. The verse riff was used in the 1998 Puff Daddy song "Come With Me" which more or less uses the entire riff throughout the whole song with his own lyrics. It's on the Godzilla soundtrack, if you really want to hear it (it's not that good in my opinion)
Trampled Underfoot (5:35)
This is a fun song. The intro on the Clavinet is an unforgettable one – it is quite playful and "to the point" - that is, not very long (4 seconds) before Bonham crashes in with a flurry of snare hits. The song is a big metaphor for a car, using a woman. Lyrics such as: "Trouble-free transmission, helps your oil's flow/Mama, let me pump your gas, mama, let me do it all" and "Dig that heavy metal underneath your hood/Baby, I could work all night, believe I've got the perfect tools" prove that fact. Apparently the title is from a Biblical story, but I'm not really sure about this! Page's wah pedal is used lethally in this song, and Jones' Clav playing is exceptional. This song is good, but it is too repetitive. If it was 2:30 long, it would be so much better.
Nobody's Fault But Mine (6:28)
A lengthy echo-saturated guitar intro gets this piece underway, with Plant's wails and moans followed closely behind. When the actual song gets on track, it is reminiscent of Zeppelin's older stuff, with blues-influenced riffs and old school Plant vocals. However, unlike their older stuff, this track tends to flow away from tried and tested techniques and explores quite a bit. The guitar solo at 3:10 is an explosive one, again saturated with some tone that makes it sound almost harmonic like. An ok track, but not one of my favourites; it is too stop-start for me.
Achilles Last Stand (10:23)
This is Zeppelin's longest song, almost two minutes longer than "Kashmir" and a minute longer than "Tea for One" which accompanies Achilles Last Stand on Presence. The first thing I must say about this song is: the digitally remastered version OWNS the original vinyl release!!! It is so incredibly better. You can hardly hear the opening phrase over the drums and the backing riff, but now it stands out, and rightfully so: it is a great little solo bit by Page. Page again uses overdubbing to the max, he has as many as three guitars going at once. Jones and Bonham keep up the beat and tempo effortlessly (at least I think so!). Funnily enough, Plant broke his ankle in a car accident before writing this album, and that is probably where the title is (the Achilles is in the ankle… thankyou Captain Obvious you are saying). In this song, Plant kind of takes a backseat to the rest of the band, especially to Page. Throughout this ambitious song, there are lengthy instrumental periods where we don't hear Plant for minutes on end. Page has several amazing solos throughout the song, with Bonham and Jones plugging away without effort. This song, unlike "Kashmir" is high paced, therefore making it 1. better and 2. passes the time quickly. I was shocked when I looked at the CD player at I saw 7:20 on the timer; I actually pondered where all the time went. Listen to this song and love it, easily the best track in Zeppelin's penultimate album.
All My Love (5:53)
You know those riffs, that seem awfully familiar, but you just can't put your finger on it? The synth intro to "All my Love" is one of those. It sounds almost like "Jump" by Van Halen, but is too different to compare one another. Incredibly, Page takes a backseat in this song. No, I'm not lying. Seriously. I'm not. All he really does in this piece is play the occasional blues chord (if there is such thing) and support Plant and Jones. Jones plays the main riffs in this song, and while Plant still chugs away gracefully, he seems to lost some spark over the years. Page must have been secretly irate at the fact that there is a trumpet solo and no blazing centre-stage guitar solo. The hook that he plays that joins the chorus and instrumental sessions to the verse is genius though. A typical In Through the Out Door sort of song: potential to be superb but just doesn't make it.
In the Evening (6:51)
An interesting intro to say the least; it is typical nu-metal technique to say the main lyric and then burst into the music, which this song does. By this stage of In Through the Out Door they are in the midst of trying new and different styles, and unfortunately this song is caught up in several styles. Not the best way to end a great album (Remasters, not In Through the Out Door). The guitar solo is one of Page's better ones though, a very stomping and catchy solo utilising the blues scale.
My rating: A great album for the listener who wants to get into Led Zeppelin, but my recommendation: Buy IV or/and Physical Graffiti and listen to the best they have come up with. Still, a useful asset nonetheless, and a good CD for the collection.