Thursday, July 14, 2011
#66 Led Zeppelin IV- Led Zeppelin
I don't think I ever got into Led Zeppelin because of the people who wear Led Zeppelin shirts. Now before you get your panties all in a twist, think about people you've seen wearing Led Zeppelin t-shirts. The shirts are usually black, so people who have issues with spilling ketchup on themselves, and those with profuse sweating problems will probably have a higher chance of wearing a Led Zeppelin shirt than a different band shirt. I know this is a gross generalization, but most of the individuals I've seen wearing Led Zeppelin shirts come with a particular odor you'd associate with not having bathed in a good while. And, oh, you have a ketchup stain, but you are wise, good sir, for that shirt is black and I cannot see it well!
I recall one particular time when I was at walgreens waiting in line and the man right in front of me (wearing a led zeppelin shirt) was scratching his beard and watching a young woman buying condoms. He turned to me and said, "she'll be having fun tonight" as some sort of appropriate way to open a conversation with a stranger. I laughed nervously and mumbled something I can't recall. But, I wanted to say, "not with you, right?" because that beard is gross, you are creepy, and you smell like cheese and crusted ketchup. Furthermore, you haven't washed that shirt since they were on tour, have you?
But maybe this experience is unique to me. I certainly hope so, but it seemed to be some sort of universal sign that Led Zeppelin is reserved for creepy, fat, nasty, old men who look like Jack Black but aren't as charming or funny.
Having said that- I loved this album. It helped to wash away any of the creepy memories I have associated with this band. I had heard "Stairway to Heaven" before, but not nestled inside of an album that made the speakers in my car rumble and hum with delight as I drove out to the middle of nowhere yesterday morning (for my job). The music is so heavy, and yet very easy to listen to. I didn't feel overwhelmed with sounds unfamiliar to me, like many songs of heavier and more intense music. I feel like Jimmy, Robert, John, and John have "rocked me" better than any of the bands I've heard before. And I won't lie that listening to "Black Dog" makes me pose and flirt uncontrollably for red-light cameras and suppress an urge to throw my underwear on a stage.
This album was so unique, because it wasn't just an excellent rock album. It also had an element of strangeness and mystery to it as well. I can't even put my finger on where it comes from, or what it is, exactly. Its just a feeling that begins with the Battle of Evermore and creeps in and out of the rest of the album. Maybe this is the part that attracts the crazies, but I found that it added an individual style and soul that sets it apart from other bands of its genre.
A good enough band, and maybe, just maybe I'd wear one of their t-shirts if they come in any color besides black.
What the more qualified have said:
"I put a lot of work into my lyrics," Robert Plant told Rolling Stone in 1975. "Not all my stuff is meant to be scrutinized, though. Things like 'Black Dog' are blatant let's-do-it-in-the-bath-type things, but they make their point just the same." On their towering fourth, rune-titled album, Led Zeppelin match the raunch of "Black Dog" with Plant's most scrutinized lyrics ever for the epic ballad "Stairway to Heaven," while guitarist Jimmy Page leads Zeppelin from the extreme heaviness of "When the Levee Breaks" to the mandolin-driven "Battle of Evermore." ("It sounded like a dance-around-the-maypole number," Page later confessed.)