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

IN THROUGH THE OUT DOOR

Led Zeppelin

 

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2.92 | 563 ratings

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R-A-N-M-A
4 stars What an absolutely underrated album! Maybe it isn't an undisputed masterwork like II or IV, but In Through the Out Door, in my apparently contrary opinion, is a solid album from start to (almost!) finish. I certainly get much more out of it than Physical Graffiti or Presence. I was always a fan of John Paul Jones and the prominent Jones/Plant writing duo is perhaps not as potent as Page/Plant, but they certainly do work well together.

In the Evening is a hard rocking blues track; Led Zeppelin get down and dirty more so than any time after Led Zeppelin II. Robert Plant is wailing on the vocals and I think you can actually hear the heroin oozing out of Jimmy Page in his guitar playing; especially when the solo begins. The floating synths are a nice atmospheric touch to a Page and Plant explosion. This is an unheralded Zeppelin masterpiece!

South Bound Saurez is a keyboard backed up tempo rocker. It's a pretty good listen. Plant's vocals aren't entirely consistent throughout and Page lays down one of this less memorable efforts. This best part of this track is Jones' hammering away on those ivories. It is one of the weaker tracks on the album, but I feel it's in some pretty strong company and just because it doesn't hold up to some of the other tracks doesn't mean it's actually a bad song.

Following Saurez is Fool in the Rain. This is one of my all time Zeppelin favourites. It has a Latin flavour and a notable samba style interlude. I think it is a well written song. I think we can all relate to this scenario. Additionally, I don't think the band sounds tighter on any other track from In Through the Out Door. This is also another strong piano track. In a past life I was a piano player. I achieved my grade six but quit before getting my grade seven in order to pursue other things in life. I haven't play piano in any way shape or form for almost ten years. The hammering piano riff on Fool in the rain has me back in front of the piano because it sounds like so much fun to play. Page's heavily distorted guitar just sounds awesome in the solo and later part of the track.

After Fool in the Rain is Hot Dog. This is a heavily country music influenced piece. I can't say that I am a fan of country music at all. I would listen to the dross of contemporary pop music before listening to any country music. Having said that, though I do find that a curious thing happens when British rocker's get hit with the country bug, they make it sound decent. The Rolling Stones did it on Wild Horses and Honky Tonk Women and Zeppelin does it here. Hot Dog is certainly not in the same league as those Stones tracks, but this is a fun and actually pretty funny piece of music.

Carouselambra is, we can all agree, the weakest of Led Zeppelin's epic length works. I think had they been able to turn out something as compelling as Achilles Last Stand or (obviously) Stairway, In through the Out Door would be easily welcomed into the pantheon of unchallengeable Led Zeppelin works. I don't think this is all that bad a track. I would say I am more rather than less favourable towards it and there are some real glimmers of excellence, like the string portions and some of the guitar work and vocals. It lack's something that ties it all together into more discernable epic and instead kind of arbitrarily changes ideas then ingloriously fades to nothing.

For many listeners All of My Love is the track which stands out the most. It gets a fairly significant amount of radio play. This one of their softer track's and it is remember rather infamously for being openly disparaged by Jimmy Page. He preferred much heavier riff based rock and roll and was set that their work following In Through the Out Door would be in that vein. There is no denying riff rock is where the majority of Zeppelin's legendary work comes from, but I don't think that All of My Love is a particularly bad song at all. Page reiterated himself later saying that he didn't hate the song and that it was good for what it was, but that they would not be pursuing a similar course in the future. There are two key parts of this song, Plant's impassioned lament for his lost son and prominent soft synthesizers. Page is almost not present churning half heartedly in the back ground. The best work from anyone playing strings falls on Jones, whose mandolin work is unfortunately too short for how excellent it is.

Closing the Out Door is I'm Gonna Crawl. This is the weakest work on the album. I think had it been left out it might actually help its reputation. All of My Love would likely have made both a more compelling finale to both the album and a better farewell to a career unexpectedly cut short. It begins with a very cool synth intro and then drops into a 1950s slow dance under the sea kind of beat. Plant's vocals are inconsistent again. When wailing he's as good as ever, but when he is singing the main body of the song he sounds sleazy. Page's guitar is also lack lustre.

In Through the Out Door has three monsters on it. In the Evening, Fool in the Rain and All of My Love. They help to carry the good, but maybe not exceptional portions in Saurez, Hot Dog and Carouselambra. One solitary bad piece stuck in at the end is not enough to ruin this album. In my opinion the album is strong enough to rank four out five. Robert Plant, Jimmy Page, John Bonham and John Paul Jones are rock legends for a reason and even efforts which might not compare to their best works still stand head and shoulders above the work of so many of their musical peers. If you are a slave to the numbers (I, II, III and IV) I highly suggest to get adventurous and see all that these talented musicians have to offer.

R-A-N-M-A | 4/5 |

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