Led Zeppelin
In Through the Out Door


4.5
superb

Review

by SethPutnam USER (7 Reviews)
August 24th, 2011 | 27 replies


Release Date: 1979 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Led Zeppelin's massively underrated swan song

It's easy to see why In Through The Out Door is so panned by fans and critics alike, as it's not your typical Led Zeppelin record. The album finds the band eschewing their folk-infused blues rock sound and exploring genres as diverse as pop, prog, punk, electronica, Latin, and even country. The reasons for Led Zeppelin's drastic change in sound came largely out of necessity. With Jimmy Page and John Bonham battling severe drug addiction, John Paul Jones and Robert Plant were forced to take helm of songwriting for the first time in the band's history. Led Zeppelin also found themselves increasingly irrelevant in the wake of punk, disco, and new wave. The album's title reflects the band's frustration in trying to re-enter the public consciousness.

While the album did indeed renew interest in the Mighty Zep, and soared to #1 on the Billboard charts within two weeks, it received mostly poor reviews and accusations of selling out. I submit to you that In Through The Out Door is, in reality, an excellent album that wasn't given a fair chance. Sure it's not "classic" Zeppelin, and sure it may take some getting used to, but it's incredibly fresh sounding compared to Presence, and even parts of Physical Graffiti, which counts for something in my book. Even if you don't like the album's overall sound, you have to give Led Zeppelin credit for trying something new in their dying days; you can't say the same about many of their contemporaries.

As it turned out, Led Zeppelin had an ace up their sleeve: a horribly underutilized hidden gem by the name of John Paul Jones. Jones simply steals the show on this album, with his keyboard playing dominating almost every track, from the honky tonk playing on South Bound Saurez and Hot Dog to the mesmerizing synth work on Carouselambra and All My Love . His bass playing is excellent as well, particularly on the intro to Carouselambra, proving without a doubt that he is a virtuoso. Despite Jones driving the songs, Jimmy Page's guitar performance is still memorable throughout the album. His twangy country licks on Hot Dog and All My Love are highlights, and his riff in the middle section of Carouselambra is haunting and brilliant. I'm also fond of his classical guitar playing on All My Love, and expressive solo on I'm Gonna Crawl.

After a traumatic series of events, which included vocal injuries, a severe car accident, and the death of his 5 year old son, Robert Plant starting using a more subdued vocal performance on this album, though the last minute of I'm Gonna Crawl proved he could still wail like a banshee. I actually prefer Plant's mellower vocals- God knows his delivery was sometimes a bit too shrill in the past (i.e. Song Remains The Same). His lyrics are a bit silly at points (Carouselambra is totally nonsensical) but at least that shows a lack of self-consciousness. Finally, there's drummer John Bonham. Though he was a raging alcoholic by this time, and would die only a year later, his drums on this album are just as punchy and powerful as he's known for. The album's flawless production certainly helps him shine through, though the reverb is a little excessive.

Overall, this is an excellent album if you're willing to give it a chance. Despite its proto-80s cheesiness, Carouselambra is absolute masterpiece, almost on par with Stairway To Heaven and The Rain Song. South Bound Saurez, Fool In The Rain, and All My Love are well-constructed, catchy pop tunes which tastefully incorporate novel influences from other genres; In The Evening and I'm Gonna Crawl are moodier numbers which balance out the more commercial tracks, and Hot Dog is quite simply the most infectious, toe-tappin' hootenanny of a country song I've ever heard. I would also highly recommend hunting down the three outtakes from In Through The Out Door that appear on Coda- Ozone Baby, Wearing & Tearing, and Darlene. They are excellent songs as well.


Final Verdict: 4.5/5

R.I.P. John Bonham



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Parallels
August 24th 2011


6643 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

hot dog sucks
south bound suarez rocks

Jethro42
August 24th 2011


12624 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Wow cool, someone who loves that album more than I do!!

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
August 24th 2011


15081 Comments


i just looked this up and wow, those covers are all awesome. i love the different perspectives thing

Jethro42
August 24th 2011


12624 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Because of the death of Bonham in 1980, I've missed my very last chance to see Led Zep performing live.
R.I.P. Bonzo.
Great 1st review, pos'd

DominionMM1
August 24th 2011


10311 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Carouselambra is absolute masterpiece, almost on par with Stairway To Heaven and The Rain Song

Not even close

Digging: Dr. John - Gris-Gris

clercqie
Contributing Reviewer
August 24th 2011


6515 Comments


Haven't yet heard this album...

Very good first review, have a well-deserved pos!

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
August 24th 2011


6339 Comments


I haven't listened to this...

Maybe it is that i could get far from their first 4 albums...



Edit: pos.

Digging: Madred - Supersonic Brainfuck Overdrive

WashboardSuds
August 24th 2011


5043 Comments


album's pretty good

Digging: Zodiac (VASE) - Zodiac

rockandmetaljunkie
August 24th 2011


3848 Comments


Haven't heard it yet but i highly doubt it will be that good.

Jethro42
August 24th 2011


12624 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Every songs are 4/5 or more except Hot Dog.

Parallels
August 24th 2011


6643 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

This albums good.
i think this is overrated however, since it's only as good as Presence.

Trebor.
Contributing Reviewer
August 24th 2011


50958 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Only sluts let you go in through the out door

Digging: Friendzone - Collection 1

DominionMM1
August 24th 2011


10311 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

^Presence is way better than this.

Parallels
August 24th 2011


6643 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Trebor, why is your mind in the gutter

Trebor.
Contributing Reviewer
August 24th 2011


50958 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Who hasn't thought that?

NigelH
August 25th 2011


1571 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Good review. Album is underrated.

JamieTwort
Contributing Reviewer
August 25th 2011


21583 Comments


Haven't listened to this in a very long time.

Digging: Foxes in Fiction - Ontario Gothic

seifer
August 25th 2011


1006 Comments


about Carouselambra being on par with Stairway is that even possible but anyways nice review will give it a try

BornIIHula
September 28th 2011


18 Comments


I'm listening to this album for the first time, and, not going to lie, JPJ's synths in the bridge in
All My Love sound like something out of Thomas The Tank Engine.

I find it really difficult to listen to a band's last album, especially one like this where the band
was going through such hardship. It's weird but it hurts a bit to listen to this music and know they
had struggles and were slowly on the way out.

Edit: The review is nice, it cleared up a lot for me.

ArsMoriendi
November 16th 2014


5980 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

"about Carouselambra being on par with Stairway is that even possible but anyways nice
review will give it a try"

Stairway is one of Zeppelin's worst. The majority of the song is a build up in which the pick up
doesn't pay off at all. It's like going up 200 ft on a roller coast that only falls 30 ft before
having to get off.

"Carouselambra" on the other hand is fun as fuck even if it gets cheesy at points.

Digging: Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band - Mirror Man



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