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Led Zeppelin - Led Zeppelin IV CD (album) cover


Led Zeppelin


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4.39 | 1062 ratings

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3 stars Orange chair classic.

One of the pieces of the person I am today comes from the orange chair period of my formative years. Sorry but this is one album for which my review must be personal in nature to convey why the album is special to me. (If it's too personal the Admins can remove it.) The bedroom in the upstairs of my parent's house was my lair in that crucial age of life, the teens. The orange chair is the old swivel rocker that was where I crashed in that room to listen to rock music and think about my teenage existence. It sat really low on the floor because the rocker base had been broken off and I just threw it in the corner anyway and used it. The ceilings in the upstairs were low and angled and made great surfaces for my many posters of Zep, Beatles, Heart, Yes, Kate. The heating duct in the floor was removable and underneath was a ledge where my older brother hid his cigs when he owned that room. After he moved out, I took over the cool room. No piece of music had more impact on me during that strange time than this album, I suppose a spiritual high point of the greatest rock and roll band ever. I listened over and over to this album and others like it as I reclined in that chair, eyes closed, floating away to Jimmy's Les, thinking about girls, friends, and a future that is as hard to figure out now as it was then, but in different ways. It's too easy and predictable to be cynical now about a song like Stairway to Heaven but in my orange chair days no song brought me greater comfort, better escapism, or a cooler personal anthem for an 80s teen who wished he'd been a 70s teen. (My friends and I were throwbacks who hated the 80s in every way, from the music to the policies of Reagan.) I remember very distinctly that the song I chose as the one to be cranked while I walked out of my high school for the last day of my senior year was Stairway to Heaven. Sure I got sneers from those who thought Thompson Twins or Huey Lewis were what we should be listening to but Jimmy was my choice. The point of the personal reflection is that this album was the king of the soundtrack of my youth and I think it has high nostalgia value for many of us which some of the younger guys have correctly questioned, because Zeppelin 4 is not a masterpiece. While my 15 year old self would have awarded this 6 stars I have to attempt to be objective at this point. There are two classics on this album, some formidable rockers, and some filler. The classics are of course Evermore and Stairway which to this day send me to Zep nirvana. The best of the others is Levee, the power of the drum sound on this track being one of Bonham's big moments. But the rest are hardly 5-star material and this is a pattern on Zep studio albums. Each has some very high highs but also a handful of somewhat marginal moments. On the other hand, while some reviewers correctly point out that material like this is not very complex or proggy, it is an album like this that can be a spring board for young people to more complex proggery. Let's face it, not all of us care about Fripp or Zappa at 14. 3 stars for a site rating, but always a special album for me.

Finnforest | 3/5 |


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