Therefor my opinion of the album is pretty strongly entrenched, that opinion being the hard rock songs are great, Stairway is absolutely amazing once it kicks off and the ballads are great, but the album feels incohesive and unsatisfying when all sat beside eachother, more like a compilation than an album.
Some context for that; Coming into Led Zeppelin for the first time after a bunch of Nu Metal albums, the variety was kind of hard to handle and to this day I still seek out a 70s rock band with a much higher ratio of rockers to other song types than I can ever actually find. By which I mean that if you listen to a Deep Purple, Heart or Zeppelin album there will be three proto-heavy-metal tracks, but there will also be two to four ballads or folk songs, a prog song, a blues song and some other experiment into regaee or something. I absolutely love the 70s hard rock proto heavy metal style, and would love a band that did that all the time. Haven’t ever found one.
Now, listening to Led Zep 4 (that’s how I refer to this album, and I believe the best and easiest way to. People should get together, have a meeting and agree on that) and deliberately shedding my preconceptions and long held opinions, I don’t really feel that the album is all that incohesive.
I still think Rock And Roll, Black Dog and Stairway To Heaven are absolutely brilliant songs and some of the closest candidates in rock music to deserve their hype (which if you know me is an enormous compliment) and I don’t have anything negative to say about the remaining songs.
I’ve always found ‘Four Sticks’ and ‘When The Levee Breaks’ to completely leave my head after having heard them, not because they are bad, but just because for some reason I am unable to remember much about them. That being said, this year I am usually able to recall the famous drumbeat to ‘When The Levee Breaks’ more easily because Black Country Communion sample it on their brilliant live rendition of Joe Bonamassa’s song ‘The Ballad Of John Hennry.’
Relistening to the two tracks again they are both great, but compared to the wonderful likes of ‘Going To California’ and the fun ‘Misty Mountain Hop’ I can see why they aren’t as memorable.
Overall, relistening to the album I really enjoyed it, its not as if I decided ‘Black Dog’ was crap all of a sudden or anything. It is the perfect length, it is excellently produced and the vocal/musical talent is very high. I probably wont remember much about ‘Four Sticks’ and ‘When The Levee Breaks’ tomorrow as usual, but that’s not much of an issue.