Led Zeppelin
Led Zeppelin


4.5
superb

Review

by Bron-Yr-Aur USER (39 Reviews)
July 20th, 2006 | 45 replies


Release Date: 1969 | Tracklist


As I sat at my computer, lit a cigarette, and began musing over how to start this review, many thoughts resonated through the inner-most confines of my brain. I didnít know where to start quite honestly, as the context of the album and the setting it was released in all those years ago has already been sufficiently broken down in many other reviews, too many to bother counting. To simply carbon copy and paste a portrait of American and British society in the 1960ís from one of them would be a horrible clichť, one which I canít see myself committing any more than I already have. I wondered, as I took yet another drag in silence, where to begin, and how to convince you, the reader, to invest your time and effort and energy into bothering with this album. Perhaps, compare the bands of the time? No, that wouldnít do. While Led Zeppelin was completely and irrevocably different from all of itís peers from the outset, it wasnít quite light years ahead yet with itís first release, Led Zeppelin. Then how about comparing and contrasting modern rock with the pulsating counter-culture brand of sound? HmmÖ Perhaps, perhaps. But quite honestly, whatís the point of that? Where as now heavier, Drop-D riffing and tragic lyrics permeate through every speaker, warmed-over blues and thumping, vivacious rock was the standard formula then. All apples and oranges, if you like. I realized that perhaps the best way to sum up the album was from a more personal perspective, one that ignores the praise the band has garnered for its contribution to music in general. I put out my cigarette and got to work.


When pinpointing a member of Led Zeppelin to label as the most talented, many often look to guitar and producer extraordinaire, Jimmy Page. Others feel the desire to award Robert Plant with this label for his original take on the position of vocalist. Often overlooked, however, is John Paul Jones, who single-handedly kept every experimental endeavor Led Zeppelin undertook from floundering with his diverse and extraordinary talent with multiple instruments. On this album, however, a different option prevails.
Perhaps John Bonham, when compared to numerous other drummers, is not the god he is made out to be. Even if this is true, one would be mentally unstable to deny that he is a ferocious drummer. Evidence of this fact was made right from the get-go of the bandsí career thanks to multiple live performances, and Good Times, Bad Times was the proof that cemented the theory. Indeed, Jimmy Page riffs up a storm and John Paul Jones was never more calculated, but the drumming is something else. It doesnít simply fit with the now-generic blues rock theme of the song, it makes it. And frankly, that is a very important reason for Led Zeppelinís success, then and now. Perhaps he wouldnít be anything worth debating over for hours at a time if he merely took one song and made it his own, but the fact is that nearly every song with his name attached has something stunning to offer, from thumping, solid beats and grooves to subtle, bluesy shuffles. While I find myself on the subject of blues shuffles, Led Zeppelin is full of them. Quite frankly, a little too full of them. You Shook Me demonstrates Pageís talent as a guitarist and producer, but throwing in two epic blues pieces that drag on and on is a little much.


If John Bonham is half as good as Iím making him out to be, and I assure you he is, then rock and roll regulations decree that he must have a rhythm partner to match. Enter, John Baldwin (surrogate, John Paul Jones). The titan that would drive The Lemon Song to new heights is oddly underwhelming here, offering numerous tasteful bass fills, but more or less staying in the shadows and providing Jimmy and Robert Plant with a base on which to wail (this term applies for both men). Like all greats though, John Paul does get his moment to shine, and it is ironically during what is usually considered to be an iconic Page solo. Indeed, the backing rhythm for the epic Dazed and Confused may not be an overtly complicated thing, but itís physical requirements are astounding. The repeating bass lick seems to go on forever, and at mammoth speeds. Not at all out of place in a rather surreal psychedelic rock song, albeit a rather unconventional one. One of the many controversies with the band, is of course, the alleged plagiarism committed by Jimmy Page. Well, Iím here to tell you that these rumors are one hundred percent true. Dazed and Confused is in fact a stolen song, one that Jimmy had been putting under the microscope since his Yardbird days. While musically the song could very well define early Led Zeppelin, the album and the band tend to suffer from this heinous lack of originality and pilfering. Luckily, the album has songs like Your Time Is Gonna Come to make up for this rather severe problem. Tranquil, soothing, relaxingÖ all of these adjectives can be easily attached to the song, which also happens to show off one Mr. Robert Plant, whoís vocal prowess had been the subject of much debate prior to the release of the album. Gentler songs would soon play a much larger role in the overall picture of Led Zeppelin, one that would soon outshine the bombastic and hyper-kinetic energy exuded by future anthems such as Whole Lotta Love.


I stopped typing rather abruptly after scribing these words, looking over for any contradictions or other mistakes on my part. Beating myself up over what I considered to be a dull and thoroughly run of the mill review had become a standard practice as of late, one which tended to occupy a lot of my time. I skimmed over the words I had written, looking for some kind of fresh angle to approach from. You still havenít mentioned Robert all that much, perhaps you could describe how fresh and new such a sound was to a time when Paul McCartney and Doug Ingle ruled the airwaves with an iron fist? Yeah, I know. Maybe I should, and I probably will. Iíd like a less common approach, though. After some unfruitful deliberation, I decided to trek onwards, so far, without any interesting or innovative ideas.


Newly added to the counter-cultureís arsenal for recording its beloved music was a technique called dynamics. Said feature is a subtle, sophisticated way of enhancing a song, and is often an indicator of a musical genius. Many bands, found themselves using this technique, a procedure that is still widely in use today. Led Zeppelin also commandeered this practice, perhaps best displayed in the epic Babe Iím Gonna Leave You. It might be the gentle intro. It could be the marvelous use of the aforementioned modus operandi that leads to a blindingly heavy and energetic yet still soft and forlorn chorus. Or, perhaps it is Robertís jaw-dropping vocals. Whatever it is that makes Babe Iím Gonna Leave You the best song on the entire album, it does its job very, very well. Arguing the point with proclamations such as ďDazed and Confused is so much better" is rather futile, because (even if it is a Joan Baez cover) it is still a better song in every way, from originality to construction and producing. Of course, escaping the inevitable is a tremendous oxymoron, and as such, a rather boring track is present on the album. Otis Rush probably wasnít expecting such a droning cover of his signature I Canít Quit You, Baby, and upon hearing of the songsí existence, neither was I. But alas, fate is a cruel mistress, and instead of gold she dealt lead, and it shows. While still a relatively faithful re-working, the overall song is just boring and obnoxious, quite like seeing Napoleon Dynamite for the sixth time, or ever for that matter.


Overall, everything Iíve said points to a really great album, right? Well, some unidentified force has plotted against the album, and dragged down itsí credibility and a lot of its potential. This could be due to the fact that itís the bandsí debut, and they hardly new each other while recording it. Perhaps it is because of something trivial, like the track listing. Maybe itís both, but either way, it inexplicably drags down the appeal of the album as a whole. However, letting something like this thwart you from listening to the album is rather extraneous, whether itís your first time or your thousandth. The diversity offered by the album, from the gentle, English folk of Black Mountain Side to the epic rock of How Many More Times is astounding, and even more so when you take into consideration that this was merely a debut album by a British rock band. That, I believe, warrants a listen from everybody for this album, kleptomania and all.


I once again read over everything I had written, and began to pace the floor. I started picking the review apart, identifying everything I had written and matching it with what I thought to be appropriate adjectives such as ďbland", and ďderivative". As I paced, a sudden revelation came over me. Amidst all of the musing and worrying and such, I realized that the review (much like the album it was attempting to summarize) was not particularly innovative or fresh. It didnít have to be. It was (again, much like the album) merely a refinement; a new rendition of an earlier style that had been hackneyed and over-abused to death. YesÖ An enhancement, and in my eyes, a satisfactory one at that. Suddenly I quit pondering, I quit pacing, and I stopped reading. I carried on with my regular day-to-day activities, no longer laboring over whether I had completed my mission. A refinementÖ thatís good enough for me.


4.5/5



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
Rage Against the Machine The Battle of Los AngelesEvanescence Fallen
user ratings (2717)
Chart.
4.3
superb
other reviews of this album
1 of

Comments:Add a Comment 
Bron-Yr-Aur
July 20th 2006


4405 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

This is what happens when Bron gets tired of his normal reviewing style.

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
July 20th 2006


16089 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I don't know what to make of this review to be honest.

Bron-Yr-Aur
July 20th 2006


4405 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Yeah, well. I got bored of opening up reviews with something likr " The 1960's were a perplexing time blah vblha, and I suppose this was more for me.

south_of_heaven 11
July 20th 2006


5433 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yea. For one you're smoking. every1 knws smokin doesnt make you cool. but good reviews do. so ur kewl.

I dig this album a lot.

EDIT: For the record, this type of review seemed like a one shot deal. I liked it, but I wouldn't say do it again, ya know?This Message Edited On 07.20.06

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
July 20th 2006


16089 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

The italicized paragraphs really are just boring. It's a neat concept, but you didn't execute it well enough imo.

AeroZeppelin1
July 20th 2006


142 Comments


change yer pic man thats disgusting!

Bron-Yr-Aur
July 20th 2006


4405 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

The italicized paragraphs really are just boring. It's a neat concept, but you didn't execute it well enough imo.


They probably are. But even the italicised paragraphs where I'm babbling on about me stills defines certain parts of the album. And perhaps I could edit it and make it tie together better, but we'll see. And South, I'm not going to pull a Metallicaman and go nuts with concepts now, nor will I use this again. This Message Edited On 07.20.06

Two-Headed Boy
July 20th 2006


4527 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

I like this

The Sludge
July 20th 2006


2169 Comments


Simply just, uh, wow.

Cigarettes are icky.

Well I voted.This Message Edited On 07.20.06

Two-Headed Boy
July 20th 2006


4527 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Cigarettes>>you, b****This Message Edited On 07.20.06

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
July 20th 2006


17920 Comments


Well, I thought it was a good review.

Serpento
July 20th 2006


2351 Comments


Like a hard-boiled noir gumshoe, Bron narrates his own life in painstaking detail. It was a great read though.

Bron-Yr-Aur
July 20th 2006


4405 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

That Bron-Yr-Aur is so pretentious. I hear he pays generously for votes.

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
July 20th 2006


17920 Comments


I VOTED LOLZ

zoomanee
July 20th 2006


1 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

cigarettes rule... great album, not a bad review, just too long.

Bron-Yr-Aur
July 20th 2006


4405 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

HHAhahaha too long. This is medium length, really.

Zesty Mordant
July 20th 2006


1196 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

for the record, cigarettes are for fags.
good review though.

metallicaman8
July 20th 2006


4677 Comments


I've been waiting quite a while for this. Must say I was not disappointed.

Rocksta71
July 20th 2006


1023 Comments


Great review man! I got the whole detective sitting in his office suming up a case feel from it. I think this album is a really great effort from the mighty zep.

south_of_heaven 11
July 20th 2006


5433 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Let's all just drop the cig thing. We all know Bron is just trying to fit in around here cause he has no friends...its ok Bron, just be yourself.
And yea, good idea with the review concept Bron (saying you weren't gonna go crazy with it). But I would pull it of your bag every now and then in the future, ya know



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