Review Summary: By far Zeppelins most popular album, the highlight of their career. Blending Folk Rock with Hard Rock, IV is a very diverse album which is all pulled together by Plants wailing vocals, and Bonhams insanity on the drum kit.
NOTE: Before everyone starts saying their are to many reviews for this album expressing it at this high of a rating. I'm telling you now why I'm reviewing it, it's one of my favorite albums of all time, and there is only one review that isn't full on tbt, and even that one is kind of a tbt. So please don't say anything like that in the review. Another reason I'm doing this is because I'm trying to review a bit outside of my normal genre (metal). Now, for the review!
Formed in 1968 Led Zeppelin
are one of the single most influential bands on the planet today. By far the most popular Zeppelin album, is not without some question marks. It is widely accepted as being called Led Zeppelin IV
, this album has no official name. The cover is covered only by a hunched over man carrying a bundle of sticks on his back, no title, or even the bands name. Led Zeppelin IV
isn't your typical rock album, hell it's not even your typical Zeppelin
album. Nearly every song on this album is well known. Obviously you've got five of Zep's most popular songs, the remaining tracks though, would also be found in a fan's vocabulary.
I''ll break this review into two parts, one part for the folk songs, and the other for the rock songs; seeing as how it would be kinda hard to review both at the same time because they are so different.
The folkyness of this album is one of the reason it appealed to me so much. Jimmy Page's acoustic guitar parts on this album are very slow and simple. He doesn't try to oversimplify his music which I like. For the most part he isn't even the lead instrument, JPJ is on mandolin. Both The Battle Of Evermore
, and Going the California
are lead by the mandolin, and Page is in the back playing rhythm. The songs are also so laid back that it's relaxing to listen to them. It's also very nice when you are just laying back at night, looking up at the stars and just thinking. Especially when you think about the time period this was written in, the '70s, you can just imagine how much of an impact this album had on everyone who listened to and enjoyed it.
The vocals are also very fitting for the songs. Page doesn't try to show off his pipes during the slow moments, or even that much during the heavier-esque sections. His lyrics are also fitting for the songs too, Going To California's
opening lines of Spent my days with a woman unkind,/Smoked my stuff and drank all my wine./Made up my mind to make a new start,/Going to california with an aching in my heart./Someone told me there's a girl out there/With love in her eyes and flowers in her hair.
(written about singer/songwriter Joni Mitchell) not only are fitting for the song, but I'm sure also hit home for many a disgruntled teenager, if that was intended or not.
Now enough of these pussy folk songs (:p) lets get into the real rock 'n roll! Almost the opposite of the folk songs, are the rock songs. It's easy to see why so many people worship John Bonham, he was clearly one of the best drummer to have lived in the '70s. His drumming on this album is so unique, the high hat is used many times to create rhythms which isn't very common. He also has some great fills, just listening to the outro solo section of Rock and Roll
really makes you appreciate just how good he was.
The guitar on this album is also phenominal, I'm not quite sure I agree with him being the greatest guitarist ever, but he is definitely an amazing songwriter. Blending folk rock with blues and hard rock isn't the easiest of tasks to do, but with Stairway To Heaven
I can safely say he performed this task rather well. Another thing that I love about Page is his solos, they fit so perfectly with the song. Albeit he is a bit sloppy, what he lacks in technicality, he makes up in emotion.
John Paul Jones, despite being one of the lesser known members adds very much to the sound of this album. Not only through bass, but also when he plays the keys. JPJ is really in the shadow of the other three members, but in no way is any less talented. He mostly just plays in the background, and doesn't try to show off, also he follows the drums. Robert Plant's vocals are also a very big part of this album. He doesn't have the most range, but he considered by many to be "the front man/singer of the '70s". He has a nice set of pipes on him. He can wail out some of the highest screeches you've ever heard, but he knows when not to show off. For example the blues drenched When The Levee Breaks
he does a half singing, half talking voice that works really well with the feeling of the song.
Conclusion: Led Zeppelin IV
I think, is the best album Zeppelin released. It has the perfect mix of slow songs, and harder rock songs that makes this album so open ended, and appealing to a wide selection of audiences. My final verdict, pick this album immediately if you even like a song or two by Led Zeppelin. You won't be disappointed.