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Led Zeppelin - In Through the Out Door CD (album) cover


Led Zeppelin


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2.94 | 640 ratings

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2 stars Years ago I bought In Through the Out Door for one song, "Carouselambra." I'd heard it on the radio and was surprised to find that it was a Led Zeppelin song. I wasn't much of a Zeppelin fan then - - a situation which hasn't changed much. I never touched that dial when "Stairway to Heaven" was playing, and I enjoyed many of their hits, from "Ramble On" and "Immigrant Song" through "Dancing Days" and "Kashmir." But overall the aimless virtuosity of guitarist Jimmy Page and the histrionics of lead moaner and pleader Robert Plant tended to be a bit much for me.

Nonetheless, since I owned In Through the Out Door, I was going to try to like it. Two of the tracks were familiar and still receiving airplay in the 2010s: "Fool in the Rain" and "All of My Love." Each is surprisingly keyboard-based for the stereotypical hard-rocking Zeppelin, and each is catchy enough to have been marketed as pop-rock. But structurally, these are six-minute Led Zeppelin songs, which reduces their pop-rock appeal. They're both good songs, but not "Stairway to Heaven" good. In particular, "All of My Love" is also interesting as an indication of Plant's direction as a solo artist.

And then there's "Carouselambra," a lengthy synthesizer extravaganza (some would say extravagance). I acknowledge the criticisms of many fans: the repetition and the de-emphasis of both Page and Plant. "Carouselambra" falls short of the quality of "Kashmir," but it's worth the effort - - like making it halfway up Mt. Everest would be worth it. I wonder whether "Carouselambra" could have been a classic if Page were more involved in the creation of In Through the Out Door

But I digress. The rest of In Through the Out Door varies from standard Led Zeppelin fare ("In the Evening") to embarrassing forays into cartoonish western music ("Hot Dog"). Taken as a whole, In Through the Out Door isn't terrible. The most inane songs (that would be "Hot Dog" and "South Bound Saurez") are the briefest. I originally interpreted the strident insistence of fans that Coda was not to be considered the group's final studio album as meaning that In Through the Out Door must have been a more suitable swan song. Now I'm not so sure!

patrickq | 2/5 |


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