OAAR: Led Zeppelin - Led Zeppelin (1969)

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We've already introduced you to Opportunity Assassins Album Reviews with our Contemporary Tuesdays, but now it's time for the first of our Retro Fridays where we take a look back at artists that have mostly already come and gone and left behind either a legacy of greatness or a legacy of shit.

Kicking off Retro Fridays is an incredible band with a storied history and that made a huge impact on generations of musicians especially guitarists and vocalists. The beauty of Led Zeppelin is that even on the first go round, they created classic tracks like Dazed and Confused and Good Times Bad Times.

To be perfectly honest, this was my first full listen through of Led Zeppelin's self titled first album.I didn't really go in with any expectations good or bad, so I was a bit surprised to see how great of a sound a band could make in the late 60's. What is even more impressive is that Robert Plant's vocals are untouched by modern essentials (for most bands these days) called Pro Tools or Auto-Tune. Sure they're not perfect, but it's the imperfections that make Plant's voice so wonderful. What really impressed me the most though is how closely Plant's voice and Jimmy Page's guitar notes matched up in spectacular blues tune "You Shook Me". Besides...who can't love Page and Plant's dual at the end.

As a whole, Zeppelin's first foray into the world is a far better than average album which is better than most can say on their first crack at the big leagues. That being said, it's very obvious to me that as the tracks were recorded and arranged, it was not with an album as a whole in mind. While this is not a bad thing (as evidenced by my Experience Score), I imagine it was partially in an effort to fit the longer than radio average tracks onto the 2 sides of vinyl. Now since this was the first Zeppelin album I've heard in its entirety, I don't have anything to compare to for the Discography Score, so I reserve the right to modify it as we review the rest of the Led Zeppelin albums.

Author: Jake

How you experience Led Zeppelin's albums says a lot about your musical taste.  The first four  Zeppelin albums are almost entirely about instrumental skill, and everybody in the band gets a chance to show off.  Because Led Zeppelin is most rooted in the blues, listeners are treated to to the shredding cocaine tones of Jimmy Page's guitar as it complements and pairs well with Robert Plant's soaring vocals.  Powerhouse covers of "Babe I'm Gonna Leave You" and "I Can't Quit You Baby" fit nicely with the (more) original "How Many More Times".

This album is more than just a blues homage by a group of extremely talented musicians, however, as songs branch out into other genres: rock 'n' roll ("Good Times Bad Times", "Communication Breakdown"), classical (Page's wonderful instrumental "Black Mountain Side") and theatrical rock (think precursor to Pink Floyd next time you listen to "Your Time Is Gonna Come" and you'll thank me later; this might be the most underrated Zeppelin song of all time).  Led Zeppelin starts strong, the first four songs might be the best four-song album beginning in the history of music, and "Dazed and Confused" is the best Zep song of all time.  You do have to listen to the rest of the discography to fully realize your appreciation of Led Zeppelin, but if it's not painfully obvious how good this album is the first time you hear it, you're an idiot.
Author: Pete

1 comment:

  1. Pete, please explain to me how Your Time is Gonna Come is a precursor to Pink Floyd. I think you're reaching. Plus, we all know that The Rain Song is the most underrated Zeppelin track.

    Otherwise, I agree with you on your scores. I think the final two tracks (in my mind they're Zeppelin playing the blues) fail to match where they take the blues on You Shook Me (that song has such a heavy, powerful feeling to it; it's hard to describe).

    This was fun to read. How about some more classic rock reviews? No one listens to Linkin Park.


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