Led Zeppelin
Led Zeppelin IV


4.0
excellent

Review

by Bron-Yr-Aur USER (39 Reviews)
June 25th, 2006 | 455 replies | 18,965 views


Release Date: 1971 | Tracklist


11 of 15 thought this review was well written

The 1970ís. Tíwas the decade of disco, feminism, and Watergate. While many were still protesting things such as Vietnam, many music fans were still trying to get used to a world without the Beatles. Multiplying the need for more musical messiahs, Jim Morrison up and died in a small hotel room in Paris, France, and Sonny and Cher managed to somehow procure their very own variety hour television special. What is the point of this rant?, I hear you ask. And why are you not dissecting the album that you are supposedly reviewing?, I hear you also ask. Quite simply, Iím making a point. And that point is that by 1971, the music world was in shambles. Yes indeed, the need was high for a pioneering act, one that could fill the void left by the rapidly-burgeoning and subsequently equally rapidly deflating counter-culture. The call was made, the details processed, and Led Zeppelin slipped into the role of musical deities with their fourth release, entitled Untitled.


Led Zeppelin IV. Zoso. Four Symbols. It makes very little difference what you call it. Everyone is aware of the music the album offers, and everyone is likewise aware of the legacy the album has gained. Sure enough, with the lavish mountain of praise the album has garnered, it is inevitable that it will garner equally acute criticism. While millions praise Stairway to Heaven as a rock and roll enormity, one that carries a legacy arguably larger than the album it is contained on, many (though more than likely a somewhat smaller amount) maintain that the song is gratuitously overrated. While millions cite the ingenuity and the mysticism, othersí just look towards Queen. So. Shedding all pre-conceived notions, and momentarily forgetting the fact that my user-name is Zeppelin related, how is the album, really?


Well, acknowledging the fact that most of you have already peered at the rating at the top left corner of the page, and have thus hindered any chance I have of surprising you, Iím just going to say it. The album is excellent. Blues rock has never been more perfected than on this mammoth album. Black Dog proves with itís serpent-y riff and perplexing odd time-signature that the band indeed knew exactly what they were doing. However, notice how I said ďexcellent", instead of ďOMG AWSUM THE BEST". While many breathe a sigh of relief that I havenít deemed this album Christ-like, allow me to tend to the wounds Iíve just caused many of you. While songs such as Rock And Roll verify that British people are far more efficient at rocking, songs like The Battle of Evermore establish that theyíre also far more prone to musical self-indulgence. Allow some much needed elaboration on my part.


The Battle of Evermore is frankly jaw-dropping. Itsí beauty and mysticism are unparalleled. John Paul and Jimmy create an ethereal rhythm for the song, courtesy of brilliant mandolin playing and subtle guitar strumming, and Sandy Denny (who appears courtesy of a call made by Mr. Plant) and Robert weave in and out from being hypnotic to just plain mesmerizing. Yes, the track is magnificentÖfor the first three minutes. While itís possible for people such as Bob Dylan to create a six minute folk song and not sacrifice a thing, Led Zeppelin has a trifle more trouble in apprehending the beast that is consideration. In contrast, number like Misty Mountain Hop are psychedelia improved upon, combining 60ís-esque keyboards with the unadulterated rock that the early 70ís brought. And of course, thereís the completely spaced out lyrical content.


Walkiní in the park just the other day, baby,

What do you, what do you think I saw?

Crowds of people sittiní on the grass with flowers in their hair said,

Hey, boy, do you wannaí score?


Contemplating this sample of the lyrics, it would appear Robert is either at a Hippie rally or else scoring some drugs. Quite possibly both. Let us delve a little further.


I didnít notice but it had got very dark and I was really,
Really out of my mind.
Just then a policeman stepped up to me and asked us said,
Please, hey, would we care to all get in line


This line seems to support the aforementioned theory, and reveals that Robert was apparently on some sort of hallucinogen, only to get stopped by a cop, and ďput in line", presumably for a CAVITY SEARCH PUNK! So, combine trippy lyrics with a pulsating rhythm courtesy of John Paul Jones and John Bonham, and add some tasteful guitar accompaniment (ala not the Heartbreaker solo), and you end up with a fascinating piece of music.


Musical experimentation is encouraged. And why not? Itís far better than recycling the same riff and song structure over and over again. Bohemian Rhapsody, Mr. Tambourine Man, EclipseÖ In fact, any classic song you care to name was more than likely the result of deviating from the norm of the time period. There are, however, dangers to such unorthodox approaches. Many abominations of music, which Iíll leave to you to name, have resulted from altering the path from the previously mentioned norm. Most unfortunately, one of them resides in the spot of track six, on this very album. Iíll concede, Four Sticks may be a fantastic song under the influence of a few or more illicit substances, but judging on musical merit and pure entertainment, there is no reason to beat around any bush. The song is poor. Itís boring, it drags on forever, despite not being of epic length, and the entire song appears to lack inspiration. That said, it does present some admirable bongo utilization on the part of Mr. Bonham. Not enoughÖNot enough.


Perhaps realizing that the first attempt at a folk song went over with a mixed reception, the band decided to attempt one last folk tune for the album. And you know what? It makes up for any problem I have with any of the first four albums alone. It is that good, and it is Going to California. Featuring only an acoustic guitar, a mandolin, and Robertsí quiet, non-banshee like voice, the deadly calm and mesmerizing tranquility the song creates could possibly end a war if played loud enough. While many folk numbers tend to sound painfully similar to others, Going to California creates an atmosphere never before experienced in the genre, an atmosphere that seems even more serene when surrounded by the blazing rock (and Four Sticks) Zeppelin has become synonymous with.


Donít you think you might be giving Led Zeppelin a bit more credit than they deserve? I hear you. Even as this album was being endlessly delayed due to nuances like cover art problems, Michael Jackson (who was at this point not his alter ego, Wacko Jacko) was beginning his enormously successful solo career, John Lennon was preparing to slay the world with Imagine, and Black Sabbath was taking preparation towards the release of the epic Master of Reality. The thing that makes Zeppelin stand out is the diversity they exude, and the distinguished way in which they conquer it. Black Sabbath more or less stuck to their heavy metal, and John Lennon was busy sugar-coating his first solo album. Zeppelin, on the other hand, could capture the heavy, stomping rock and roll vibe, and then back it up with cerebral, haunting acoustic pieces. And on the subject of stompingÖ


You may need to order a new ass after the excessive kicking youíre bound to receive from the gargantuan When the Levee Breaks. Everything about this song is massive, from the opening drum groove to the slide guitar and harmonica. While Jonesy is busy laying low and giving support, Robert is assaulting you with arguably his finest performance ever, and even the bridge will tear you to pieces. What makes the song most refreshing, perhaps, is the chemistry the band has. The groove is supernaturally, well, natural. Then again, perhaps itís Jimmyís fantastic production, which makes it sound like youíre going to get sucked into the speakers from which the music emerges.


You have all undoubtedly noticed it. In this review, I have not mentioned the song since a brief background bit in the second paragraph. I admit it. I wanted to save it for last. And without further ado, Stairway to Heaven. I could prattle on like a pre-pubescent Zeppelin fan about how mind-melting the song is. I could harshly critique it like those who appear to be a wee to uptight. However, Iím not going to bother. Youíve heard it all before. Instead, Iím going to tell you what I think of the song, and allow you to make your own conclusion. To me, from the moment the track begins, something inside me happens. A certain emotion I canít locate in any other situation surfaces. And as the song builds via flute, drums, and twelve-string guitar, so does said emotion. The lyrics are captivating in a way which I havenít since experienced, and the only vocal take that can stand up to When the Levee Breaks is unquestionably found here. And of course, Jimmy dominates with an improbably great guitar solo. Youíd be hard pressed to find a more defining song for a band. However, thatís me. Iíll leave anything else to you.



So, should I believe the hype? Of course not. Never believe any hype. What you should do, is purchase the album and see whether or not the hype will come to you. Regardless of whether or not you adore the album, itís definitely one that everyone must own, or at least hear in itsí entirety, and regardless of the circumstance, itís an album that you have to have an opinion on. Many will tell you the album is the best. Donít believe them. Many will tell you it sucks. Again, donít believe them. And whether or not the album suits your fancy in the end, or whether or not it destroys it, you have taken part in a musical journey that everyone who loves music will at one point or another. Welcome.


Pros

Some fantastic songs
Great production
ďWhen the Levee Breaks"

Cons

ďFour Sticks"
ďThe Battle of Evermore" drags on
Only eight tracks

4/5



Recent reviews by this author
Silversun Pickups CarnavasPink Floyd The Dark Side of the Moon
The Haunted The Haunted Made Me Do ItThe Beatles Please Please Me
Led Zeppelin Led ZeppelinRage Against the Machine The Battle of Los Angeles
user ratings (3614)
Chart.
4.5
superb
other reviews of this album
1 of

Comments:Add a Comment 
Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
June 25th 2006



16083 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Pros: Well written, Original, Thought Out

Cons: Slightly bloated (An overall and tbt?), The Underlining Is Akward

Overall, nice review though. I tend to agree with you more than the other reviews.This Message Edited On 06.25.06

metallicaman8
June 25th 2006



4677 Comments


I see you're already starting on your goal. Good for you my man. This was very well written.

Bron-Yr-Aur
June 25th 2006



4405 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thank you. Perhaps it is a bit bloated, but I'm mighty proud of it.

slack
June 25th 2006



249 Comments


Why does everyone seem to hate Four Sticks?. I love that song.

Good review though.

Uberman
June 25th 2006



1 Comments


I've heard that Misty Mountain Hop's lyrics are all allegory for the Hobbit, which would explain the title. And I also wish to protest the ill treatment of Four Sticks.

Bron-Yr-Aur
June 25th 2006



4405 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

There are references to Mr. Tolkiens fantasy in the song, but not all of it pertains to it. And as for "Four Sticks", it's all opinion, you know. :thumb:

STLMiguel
June 25th 2006



335 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I would rather stab myself in the eye than have a version of Battle of Evermore that was a second shorter than it is.

Saxon Priest
June 25th 2006



110 Comments


^^^

I'll second that.

monkey_dancer
June 25th 2006



127 Comments


Great review, I like the way you sneak around criticism, and agree about never believing hype. Also, I agree about the album. Yeah, I agree with you about "Four Sticks". It's probably one of those songs which sounded great to the stoned writers, but to people in a normal state of mind is not so good. It's not that bad it only having 8 tracks, you couldn't get many tracks on vinyl, so most albums of the time were this sort of length.

Bron-Yr-Aur
June 25th 2006



4405 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Mandolin definately rules. By the way, votes are most appreciated and such.

The Door Mouse
June 25th 2006



2092 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

^^^ya it does
This Message Edited On 06.25.06

Bron-Yr-Aur
June 25th 2006



4405 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I would rather stab myself in the eye than have a version of Battle of Evermore that was a second shorter than it is.


Rather sadistic, really.


STLMiguel
June 25th 2006



335 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Well I could have just replied 'I don't like this band,' but I thought I would, you know, say something. Seriously, though, give me a knife and a version of IV with a shorter "Battle" and I'll stab right away.

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
June 25th 2006



16083 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

My cd skips and wont let me listen to the last half of Battle, if that counts.

STLMiguel
June 25th 2006



335 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

See, if I was you, I'd have one eye.

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
June 25th 2006



16083 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I'm actually really happy about it because it means I never have to sit through that borefest.

STLMiguel
June 25th 2006



335 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I'm not sadistic guys. I'm just a little unwell! hyuck hyuck

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
June 25th 2006



16083 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Your MAtchbox 20 references are of no use here, Miguel. Now bow down as I listen to When the Levee Breaks, easily my favorite Zeppelin song.

STLMiguel
June 25th 2006



335 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

That song also rules. Plant played it when I saw him last year in a fairly small venue ... it was great.

Bron-Yr-Aur
June 26th 2006



4405 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

It's a great song, yeah. It just goes on too long for me. "Battle" not "Levee". "levee" is pretty much divine awesomeness.This Message Edited On 06.26.06



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2014 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy