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Led Zeppelin: A critical review. (unfinished)
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Old 28 Aug 2006, 22:06   #1 (permalink)
Shas'El
 
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Default Led Zeppelin: A critical review. (unfinished)

So here’s the deal. I love this music forum, it’s a great place to hang out and chat with others about the things I love. But, to be quite fair, I really don’t think I’ve contributed to this forum in anyway apart from posts in the music resurrection topic and the band game. So I was thinking, what could I do to actually contribute in a good way. When it comes down to music, I’m hardly the most knowledgeable, for general music knowledge one should try someone like Misfits of Phage. I however, do have one subject In which I specialise. Led Zeppelin. This is the one subject in music where I feel I am the most knowledgeable in TO, although I’m sure All father and Messyarts could give me a good run for my money. So what I have written up here is a critical review of all the Led Zeppelin albums and other paraphernalia based on my own experience. The purpose is to hopefully give those on this forum an insight into what I believe to be the greatest band the world has ever known.

Let’s start from the beginning shall we?

LED ZEPPELIN



There is going to be one problem with this review as a whole. Normally you would expect a bands catalogue to increase in quality as they mature as musicians and develop their own style. But not here. In this case, the eponymous first album is Led Zeppelin’s best work. It is for all intents and purposes a blues album. But what a blues album? from the great opening number to the incredible closer this album barely ever lets up. Yes there are parts that are skippable, and it has it's short comings, but this album truely demonstrates the might of Led Zeppelin.**

The opening track is the powerful ‘Good times Bad times’ which starts with a few crashing chords and then opens up with a mid tempo thump rhythm from Bonham’s drums whilst Plant sings with what is almost a lighter Daltry like voice. Then Page lets loose with his solo. A blistering run around the fretboard, although it’s not a long solo by any means. This song is short, sharp and hard as you like. A winner.
8/10

The second track is the more laid back ‘Babe I’m gonna leave you’ which starts with a slow finger picked riff from Page and Plant’s slow and soulful vocals. It meanders along at a lovely slow pace for a while until the drums kick in for a short shock to bring you back up. Then it resumes it’s slow pace. Again soon the drums kick in and this time last a lot longer and are accompanied by Plant’s soft wails. This is once again succeeded by the same slow piece from the start. The drums kick in once again, more quickly this time. We return for the final slow part, and then after four and a half minutes Plant screams “Were gonna go, walking through the park everyday” and the whole track lifts off. The is a slight reprise of the beginning but that is only to set you up for another jolt into pounding drums and wailing vocals. Another incredible track.

8/10

‘You shook me’ is the third song, and it opens with a very strange wailing guitar that sounds almost like a violin. Plant’s vocals are slow and deep, and Bonzo’s drums are meticulous in their continuous thump. A downside to this song is a rather boring organ/keyboard solo about two minutes in, that to be honest, doesn’t really add too much to the song as a whole. The best bit of the solo comes at the end when the organ starts picking up a bit and produces some wonderfully weird effects whislt Plant mutters short sounds to fit the piece. Just at the very end of Joneses organ solo, Jimmy gives a solo of his own for a short period of time that manages to resurrect what was a dying song. And then the best bit of the song. A battle if you will between Page and Plant. Page will play a wailing sound on his guitar and Plant tries, and succeeds to emulate Jimmy’s guitar. A good song let down by a boring organ solo in the middle.

6/10

Often regarded as the albums centrepiece, it’s very hard to argue with a track like ‘Dazed and Confused’. It’s also rather hard to write about without seriously understating it’s genius. The opening guitar is spooky and atmospheric and Plant’s shouted vocals add a lot of punch. When the drums come in the guitar starts droning with some wonderful effects and then returns to a harder version of the original riff with a little distortion evident this time. The drums roar off again and the guitar starts jamming out powerful bursts of distortion and soon when the drums fade away they leave a guitar singing in weird and wonderful ways. The drums come back and then join with the guitar to create a rhythm that along with quiet wails from Plant lead up to one of the greatest solos on the whole album as Jimmy lets lose with a bombard of notes to shatter the senses. Plant soon joins with his trademark bluesy wails and then Jimmy sets of on a barrage of sound from his axe. When the solo subsides it leaves a much heavier version of the opening riff and then the song sees itself out with a pounding drum roll. Pure brilliance

9/10

The fifth song is a slow laid back number called ‘your time is gonna come’ It starts with an organ solo that reminds me of the music to Ultimecias castle in FF8, although I’m sure that’s just me. A bit further on and Page joins with a slow finger picked guitar and Plant comes in with his vocals. After a while the drums are introduced for the chorus which is just ‘your time is gonna come’ over and over again. After this chorus the drums really pick up and just when you think the song’s gonna takeoff it reverts back to the slow pace set at the start. More of the same follows and the song ends on the chorus. A bit bland but nice to listen to.

6/10

‘Your time is gonna come’ segues in very nicely with the sixth song. ‘black mountain side’ is a short and quiet instrumental used to bridge the gap between songs. It is however interesting, in that it shows Led zeppelin working with Indian instruments like the tabla, this is a clue of whats to come, and what would be realised on the epic Kashmir from the Physical Graffiti album. An ok song but a bit too bland. Picks up at the end though.

5/10

After ‘black mountain side’ ‘Communication breakdown’ will come as a stark shock. A stuttering opening leads to some powered chords accompanied by the drums and then the vocals hit in. this is a very short song and is very very heavy when compared to whats gone before it. The chorus is catchy and very easy to sing along to. And the solo is both short and awesome, and then leads back to another rendition of the chorus. The song fades out with ‘Communication breakdown’ over and over. A great song to thrash to.

8/10* * *

‘ OHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH I CAN’T QUIT YOU BABE’ is the opening line to the song of the same name sans the ohhhhhhhhhhhhh. This is quite a large blues song which starts with distorted guitar and Plant’s whispered vocals, which are in stark contrast to the opening. Then the guitar comes full throtal as Plant yelps into the mic but this spurt is short lived and the song goes back to normal. After a while the song goes into an extended Jimmy Page solo which lasts for a fair old time but is a bit on the slowish side, although theres nothing wrong with that, this is after all a blues song. The vocals come back and the song continues much the same as it was until the drums pick up to a londer thump. And then the end. A nice blues song.

7/10

This song is it. This is the song that guarantees Led Zeppelin 1 the status of the greatest album of all time. This is ‘How many more times’ and it’s incredible. The opening riff is quite light although it’s mixed with weird echoe sounds from the guitar. Then the drums pick up and the song launches along at a furious pace. The riff is very similar to Pink Floyd’s ‘money’. Plants vocals scream out with one of his best performances and the thunderous track never loses pace and neither does the singer. Then the riff stops and is replaced by heavily distorted and echoed guitar to spurts form the drums. It is very possible that Jimmy is playing his guitar with his signature bow technique here. Then* the drums form some kind of semblance as the guitar starts wailing then…stop. Four seconds later and the song starts up again, this time the drums are more quiet and come in shorter bursts, though the guitar is still howling though again much more slowly. Plant returns with his vocals and begins to sing about how he is overloaded with children with more on the way. The instruments start to give way to Plant, making sure he is at the forefront of the song, and then drums, guitar and bass all come back to the fore. Once again however Plant disrupts them, cutting in with short stabs of vocals punctuated by thumps on the drums. Then the drums evolve into a shuffling rhythm and the guitar joins soon after with stabs of distortion. Then instruments and vocals seem to fall apart as they all go to what would seem like a crashing crescendo but that is replaced by a phenomenal return to the original heavy riff, making the song come around full circle for a wondrous finale. This is the greatest song of all time, if you have to hear one song in your lifetime let it be this.

10/10

So to summarise.

Good times bad times 8/10
Babe i'm gonna leave you 8/10
You shook me 6/10
Dazed and confused 9/10
Your time is gonna come 6/10
Black mountainside 5/10
Communication Breakdown 8/10
I can't quit you babe 7/10
How many more times 10/10

Next instalment. Led Zeppelin 2.
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Old 29 Aug 2006, 08:33   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Led Zeppelin: A critical review. (unfinished)

I don't care if it's unfinished, that is karma-worthy. A track by track review? Comprehensive? True to its (your review/topic) name - critical? Facts all correct (I do know a bit about Zeppelin, but let's not compare me to you in this area, as I would lose.)? Yes please.

On a personal note, I'd like to see a personal note. ;D You've done excellently in providing an unbiased point of view (hard for any fan, I know), but I think I'd like something sort of paragraph-sized, a summary of why you like the band.

Just would like to know is all. I think it would be interesting.
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Old 29 Aug 2006, 11:53   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Led Zeppelin: A critical review. (unfinished)

Quote:
I don't care if it's unfinished, that is karma-worthy.* A track by track review?* Comprehensive?* True to its (your review/topic) name - critical?* Facts all correct (I do know a bit about Zeppelin, but let's not compare me to you in this area, as I would lose.)?* Yes please.*
Thanks very much for the karma.

Quote:
On a personal note, I'd like to see a personal note.* * You've done excellently in providing an unbiased point of view (hard for any fan, I know), but I think I'd like something sort of paragraph-sized, a summary of why you like the band.
Thats a good idea, i'll probably put that in at the end though after all the albums and such. Then I could use it as a good stopping point.

I'm currently working on Led Zep 2 but i've gotta go to my friends house in ohhhh 8 minutes and i'm not even ready so i'd better leave now actually. I'll try and get the next piece finished soon though.
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Old 02 Sep 2006, 16:17   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Led Zeppelin: A critical review. (unfinished)

We should have more topics like this... personally, I've gone of Led Zep lately, their music just totally fails to inspire and uplift me.
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Old 04 Sep 2006, 14:27   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Led Zeppelin: A critical review. (unfinished)

Quote:
We should have more topics like this... personally, I've gone of Led Zep lately, their music just totally fails to inspire and uplift me.
You should see 'em live mate. I saw Letz Zep (Europes top rated Led Zep tribute band) on saturday, they were fething awesome, my neck still hurts from moshing, and they did Night Flight No one ever does Night Flight
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Old 08 Sep 2006, 03:39   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Led Zeppelin: A critical review. (unfinished)

By the way Tim, when you finish this, I'll add it to the Genres, Styles and band articles topic.
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Old 12 Sep 2006, 22:29   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Led Zeppelin: A critical review. (unfinished)

LED ZEPPELIN 2

Also known as the ‘Brown Bomber’ due to the albums front cover which depicts the band as air craft pilots on a brown background. I’m really not sure why it is as it is. Anyway, back to the matter at hand. There are going to be points in this review where I disagree with my fellow Zeppelin fans. And I’m pretty certain that this album will be one of those times. Many Zeppelin fans that I have spoken to have cited Zep 2 as one of their favourite albums by the band. It also receives large amounts of praise from journalists in books and videos about the bands. It will however not receive such reviews from me. I’m not saying that 2 is a particularly bad album. Not by a long shot, I do however find that it gets very boring, very fast. Zep 2 is another blues album, but why would I listen to 2 when I have 1 which I have already claimed as the greatest album ever? The answer is, I don’t listen to 2 unless really motivated to do so.

I’m sure everyone here has heard of the first track. ‘Whole lotta love’ contains one of the most famous stuttering guitar riffs ever as a cover version of the song was immortalised when it became the theme tune to Top of the Pops Britain’s longest running music show. Now cancelled. After the stuttering riff Plant steps in with the lines that every Zeppelin fan knows and then Bonham brings in the drums for a powerful rhythm to join with guitar, vocals and bass. When we hit the chorus Page begins sliding the guitar around and then we reach the start of the infamous ‘middle bit’. Weird and wonderful sounds start coming from the speakers, Plant’s orgasmic wails reach a crescendo and then slowly fade back into the mist. The drums continuously make small quiet noises in the background as the guitar wails. Then the drums pick up with a furious volley and Page rips into his solo. A short, stuttering barrage of notes. It’s a nice enough solo but too short. Then we return to the original riff for a little while but soon all the instruments stop and we are left with Plant shouting his bluesy wails only to be joined up by the riff once again as it catches it whilst he falls from one of his wails. The song ends shortly after that. A good blues song, but like the album can get very boring, very fast. Overrated.

6/10

‘What is and what should never be’ is a track forgotten by many as most overlook it for Whole Lotta Love, although those that do so are missing out on one of the strongest songs on the album. It starts slowly, a hushed whispering vocal performance by Plant backed by slow guitar and hushed taps of the drums. And then….BLAST OFF. Plant launches into a flurry of fast lines shouted as loud as possible. One could almost consider the vocals at this part of the song as to be verging on rap. I myself however feel that it is still a bit too slow for that. The song performs the slow-fast cycle twice before it breaks into a slow bluesy solo by Page, although this is unremarkable. It soon picks up a little bit with some effects and a slightly heavier drumming sound. Then the cycle begins again and is then followed by a heavy guitar riff that leads into some bluesy wailing by Plant before he begins another fast section of vocals at a lower volume. The song fades out shortly afterwards. A good song, although the solo lets it down.

8/10**

The Lemon Song is the third track, although it is really just a heavier version of Willie Dixon’s ‘Killing Floor’ song that Led Zep blatantly lifted from him. The little ragamuffins.* It starts with a heavily distorted guitar which is then accompanied by a steady drum beat. Plant joins in with his bluesy wails (again) and the song continues in much the same vain for the first 1 minute 25 seconds until Page launches into an incredible solo. A welcome relief to a song that was almost becoming tedious. The solo lasts for about a minute before the song returns to how it was at the start. Then Page fires off a few notes before stepping into the background as Plant takes centre stage. His bluesy wails (getting damn tired of that phrase) are occasionally interrupted by Page giving short bursts of echoey guitar. This lasts for quite a while until Page steps forward a little bit and begins sparring with Plant. Then just as the song is getting boring Page resurrects his solo and the song goes into a blistering finale. Great solo but the rest gets tedious.

6/10

Thank you is a song that I always see getting some bad track reviews when compared to other songs on the album. Again I am going to have to disagree with those people. I love Thank You. It’s a lovely mid tempo number with mandolins and keyboard. It starts with a slowly increasing in volume mandolin to which soft drums are added before both stop and Plant starts whispering lyrics about sunshine and love. The drums return and bring the song onto the path it will follow throughout. A lovely soft romp with Plant leaving off his trademark screams for a more laid back approach. A small acoustic solo by Page is thrown in at the middle and then Plant gives us some more vocals akin to those at the start. He brings in a few mild screams to take us back onto the path, but we are quickly thrown off into more hushed vocals. The keyboard strikes to the fore and leads for a while before fading out. Then it returns after a short pause just to add something to the end. A lovely song and I think it’s the strongest on the track.

9/10

Heartbreaker starts with a very heavy guitar riff and drums follow soon after. Plant joins to add some…you guessed it, bluesy wails. Still they suit the song very nicely the song trundles along like this for a long time. Not that that is a bad thing, the riff is very catchy and the vocals are clear and powerful. Then it’s solo time. Page once again lets rip, a volley of fast notes with absolutely no backing from any of the other members of the band. Then he smashes some speedy chords in the same vain as the old riff, though speeded up heavily. The drums enter to provide backing to another flurry of notes. The solo reaches a great climax before Plant rejoins and the song finishes much the same as it began. A good heavy riff and a great solo.

8/10

Living loving maid (she’s just a woman) is the true Zep fans Whole Lotta Love. It’s faster, catchier, and in this writers humble opinion, much better. It comes roaring off the end of Heartbreaker without giving the listener time to breathe. A fast riff punctuated in the middle by a very short solo by Page. Plants vocals are loud and distinct and yet are driven with furious pace. This is a very short hard rock song. A forgotten gem.

8/10**

‘Ramble On’ is another highly praised track from the 2nd album. It’s good. I’ll give you that. It starts with a fast acoustic guitar and very soft drums. Plants vocals are once again hushed for the moment until about 45 seconds in when he picks up a bit. Then the tempo lifts and the drums are given greater volume. Plant starts a much louder vocal form. Soon the song drops back and a wailing keyboard is brought in. After that it lifts off once more and soon after Page is treated to a small solo before the song lifts off again and continues till the fade out. Good but unremarkable.

7/10

Moby Dick is the drummer John Bonham’ time to shine. Although at the start he is accompanied by a brilliant base and guitar riff they soon leave him to his own devices. It’s hard to describe this track. It’s just drums, drums that get louder, drums that get faster, drums played without the sticks. Drums upon drums upon drums. I can’t take you through this song. Let your ears do that for you. Although I can tell you that the riff comes back at the end. I’m so helpful aren’t I? A must listen to for all aspiring drummers.

8/10

Bring it on home concludes the album. It starts with a slow base line accompanied by Plant on the harmonica who soon switches to vocals. At first this song appears to be no more than slow blues song. Plant’s vocals are echoey and weird. It could just be another run of the mill song. But behind it lies a heavy rock song. The guitar comes in about 1 and a half minutes in and is the beginnings of a fast pace shuffle. And some wily Zeppelin fans who own the ‘Song remains the same’ film may have noticed that the Bring it on home riff is hidden within Black Dog. The song includes a small solo by Page of little worth and fades out as it began. A bit average, although the heavy stuff is a surprise the first time.

6/10

Summary

Whole Lotta Love 6/10
What is and what should never be 8/10
The Lemon Song 8/10
Thank You 9/10
Heartbreaker 8/10
Living Loving Maid 8/10
Ramble On 7/10
Moby Dick 8/10
Bring it on home 6/10


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Old 12 Sep 2006, 23:40   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Led Zeppelin: A critical review. (unfinished)

Very good write-up.

Yes! "Thank You" is probably my most favorite Zeppelin song ever, with the possible exception of Stairway to Heaven live.


And do you get people who think that Heart Breaker and Living Loving Maid are one song? I've found that a lot of people (even a self-proclaimed Zeppelin "expert") think that it is one single song, rather than two. I suppose the fact that the radio stations always play them together doesn't help the situation.

Anyway, good job. Now let's see what you have to think about LZ 3.
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Old 13 Sep 2006, 08:08   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Led Zeppelin: A critical review. (unfinished)

+2 Tim! There's a helluva lot of work there!
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Old 13 Sep 2006, 14:23   #10 (permalink)
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+2 Tim! There's a helluva lot of work there!
Thank You very much. I have a theory that karma points are like busses. You spend a year at TO and get none, then suddenly three come along at once

Quote:
And do you get people who think that Heart Breaker and Living Loving Maid are one song? I've found that a lot of people (even a self-proclaimed Zeppelin "expert") think that it is one single song, rather than two. I suppose the fact that the radio stations always play them together doesn't help the situation.
Yes, dammit yes. I have never heard a radio station play Heartbreaker or LLM on their own. Ever. I was gonna mention it but I didn't know where to fit it in.
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