For this album review, I chose Led Zeppelin IV by Led Zeppelin. Led Zeppelin is an English Hard Rock band. They released their debut album in 1969 and released their 4th album in 1971. This album has some more “aggressive” songs and some quieter and moodier songs, both of which I will talk about later. There are some unusual instrument choices in this album such as flute and mandolin. I chose this album because I generally enjoy music from the 70’s more than some music today. The uniqueness of this album was another reason I was drawn to it.
The first song I chose was “Rock and Roll”, the second track on the album. "Rock and Roll" is definitely one of the more “aggressive” songs in the album as I talked about earlier, but It is still an iconic track. Something unique about this song is that there are many guitar solos, taking up about half of the 4 minutes in the song. Robert Plant, the vocalist, sings the lyrics with a lot of purpose and energy. The listener gets the feeling that Plant is trying to send the message that it has been a “long lonely time”. It is a relatively fast-paced song as well. The sound is just a bit gritty to really set the tone of the song itself. In this song, the vocalist talks about how he hasn’t played music in a while, so he’s feeling lonely and is missing that large part of his life. The band is most likely trying to get across that they don’t know what people would do without music. "Rock and Roll" is one of my favorite songs on the album.
The second song I chose and my favorite, was “Stairway to Heaven”. This is a deeper song on the album. What I find interesting about this song, is that it seems to be strategically placed in the album so that it would be the last track of the first side on a vinyl record. I think this was intentional to give the listener a certain mood before flipping the record over. The intro is definitely the most iconic part of the song. It starts out with a guitar picking solo, and then flute is added in to give a unique feel. The vocals are quieter, but sung with more soul versus anger like in “Rock and Roll”. At the beginning of the song, the musicians hold the notes longer, but as the song continues, the texture gets thicker. The first verse talks about a lady who is “buying the stairway to heaven” It talks about a lady who gets everything she wants without having to worry about the consequences. The song makes a lot of people think about consequences and repercussions. It’s because of how uncommon some of the instruments are and the meaning that I would deem this my favorite track.
The last song I decided to choose was “Four Sticks”, the seemingly least popular song on the album. I picked it because I don't think it gets enough credit. I like this song because even though it's the least known song on the album, it still surpasses many other songs of its time. In the song, their bassist plays a synthesizer, which is a different sound choice for this band. Also, I noticed that the song had riffs in various time signatures, so researched it, and there are in fact riffs in 5/8 and 6/8.
Overall, this is definitely one of the greatest albums of it’s time. I think that it was composed very well and performed very well. This album really stands out because of the interesting and unconventional instrument choices. For example, you don't hear flute and mandolin in a lot of other songs, but Led Zeppelin can make it mesh really well with the other instruments. People who like Queen would definitely like Led Zeppelin because Led Zeppelin influenced Queen as well as Aerosmith, Black Sabbath and other rock and metal bands. There aren’t a lot of bands around anymore that can provide the sound and vibe that bands used to have, which is why I really enjoyed listening to and reviewing this album.
Rating (out of ten): 11 ‘