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Led Zeppelin - Led Zeppelin IV CD (album) cover


Led Zeppelin


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4.39 | 1058 ratings

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5 stars There is a strange thing about me when it comes to music (or any form of art and entertainment). I usually have a disdain for anything that critics and fans call "the greatest (fill in the blank) ever." One of these things they attach to this saying is Led Zeppelin's fourth, untitled album. Before I even listened to it, I knew the only reason that people praised it so much was because it had their most well-known song, Stairway to Heaven. I remember even hearing it on the radio and wondering what the big deal was. Normally when it comes to these kinds of albums, the highest thought I give it is normally "Well, it served its purpose, but it is past its time" or "Its good, just a tad bit overrated."

However, when I sat back and listened to it free of bias, I realized that it truly deserves all of the credit it gets.

Led Zeppelin IV is, quite simply, the culmination of everything Zeppelin up until that point. It contains epics, rocking songs, soft songs, and even a little bit of experimentation. Both sides of the album follow the same pattern. They begin with two rock songs, followed by an folky acoustic song, and then ends with a progressive epic.

Side One opens with Black Dog, which alternates between the band's rocking power and Robert Plant's singing. Many have heard this song on the radio, but do not know what the name is. A tad bit overrated, but still a great song.

The next song, Rock and Roll, is the incarnation of everything in the genre. Starting out with Bonzo's powerful drumming, the song will have you banging your head the entire three and a half minutes.

The Battle for Evermore is the only song on Side One that most listeners have probably not heard. It is a folk rock song featuring both mandolin and acoustic guitar. As with their earlier folky material, the song (lyrically) is based off of Lord of the Rings. The mandolin playing adds an edge to the song and Robert Plant's vocal delivery is simply superb.

Closing Side One is Stairway to Heaven and..... well..... what else more can I say about it that other reviewers haven't more eloquently done?

Side Two opens up with Misty Mountain Hop, a melodic rocker built on a riff played together by Jimmy Page's guitar and John Paul Jones' electric piano. The lyrics can be described as a drug trip or another fantasy influenced writing. I don't know why, but this song kind of reminds me of Black Sabbath's song Fairies in Boots.

Four Sticks is the oddball of the four rockers on the album. It features tribal like drumming by Bonzo and abstract guitar riffs. Takes a while to get into, but it is also the most fulfilling to listen.

Going to California, while folksy, is the exact opposite of The Battle for Evermore. While BfE is bombastic and epic, GtC is more personal and introspect. The acoustic guitar has more influence here than the mandolin. One of Zeppelin's most beautiful songs.

Like The Battle for Evermore and Going to California, When the Levee Breaks is the opposite of Stairway to Heaven, however both musically and lyrically. While the former is an uplifting song based on folksy guitar work and philosophical lyrics, the latter is a heavy, almost sludgy rocker based on when the levees broke in Louisiana in the 1920's. The song is driven by Bonzo's slow yet powerful percussion and a haunting repetitive guitar riff by Page. A harmonica is played over the riff, giving it a haunting feel.

I rarely say this about albums such as these, but this album truly deserves all the praise it gets. It is truly art. Even if you aren't a Zeppelin fan, I recommend that you have this album in your music library. It is an important piece or not only rock, but music history.

thesleeper72 | 5/5 |


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