Led Zeppelin IV
Review By: Mack Salmon

Led Zeppelin IV, Led Zeppelin's very creatively named fourth album, was recently ranked #1 on one of those insipid VH1 "Top 5000" shows that don't serve much of a purpose aside from filling up air time. However, their choice of Led Zeppelin IV as the best album ever comes at the cost of some debate. This review will break down the album into its eight songs, and see if it truly is the best album ever made by anyone. So, without further ado, the list:

TRACK 1: Black Dog - A great way to start off an album, with a good old fashioned song about how the lead singer sings about how he wants to have sex with a woman. Only the woman steals all his stuff and dumps him, leaving him to sing about how he might want a more fulfilling relationship. Also, the woman has large thighs, and women with large thighs are evil. It's true!

TRACK 2: Rock And Roll - This song is so great, some people decided to use it in a Super Bowl commercial about a car. How a song about a guy who's relationship with his woman has gone sour who wants to get back to the way things used to be is supposed to help sell cars is beyond me. But the song is very good, yes.

TRACK 3: The Battle of Evermore - I don't know about this song. It's not terrible, but it reminds me too much of those games for people with no lives, where they play as fairies and pixies and shit like that. I swear, when I hear someone talking about their "Level 53 Sorceress of the Night" or "Level 45 Robot-Monk Half-Halfling" all I hear them saying is "I will never know the touch of a woman." Oh, the song? It's okay. But it is soon forgotten as we enter...

TRACK 4: Stairway to Heaven - Most people consider this song to be one of the best of all time. I happen to agree. This song alone is probably responsible for the entire album being the best ever. But, what is it about the song that makes it so good? Well, it happens to be one of the earliest songs to really contain more than one style to it. It starts off slow, then at certain points picks up speed until it rocks full out until calming back down at the end. Kind of like sex (although that may be too obscure a reference, even if I did make all of the Everquest nerds leave). Also, the lyrics are quite complex too, chock full of references to mythology and the such. As a special bonus, this is the song that is allegedly crammed with backward prayers to Satan! Hear what all the controversy is about! All in all, great listening to, and worth the price of the album itself. But oh HO! There's even more!

TRACK 5: Misty Mountain Hop - This one is pretty nice. A fun game to play is to try and count the number of drug references you can find/make up! How many did YOU find?

TRACK 6: Four Sticks - This song can only be played immediately following Misty Mountain Hop, which isn't so bad because both are very good.Continuing with the theme of drug use, if Misty Mountain Hop symbolizes getting "high" or whatever term drug addicts use, then this song would have to symbolize the coming down from that high, and the drugs "ruining the dreams that we all knew so." Of course, the song is also quite good without the overanalyzing! Number of times the word 'stick' used in song: 0.

TRACK 7: Going To California - Those who only like songs that go really fast and loud and can't appreciate a good slow song, well, this isn't the song for you. However, in the vein of Kansas' "Dust in the Wind" and the first few minutes of "Stairway to Heaven," Going To California is a wonderful mellow song where the lead singer, dissatisfied with his life, decides to up and go to California to find some girl he heard about. However, apparently he dies in a plane crash. Either that, or it's another drug reference. In any event, the lyrics to this song are very beautiful, and beat anything that Papa Roach regurgitates about how he's "so full of angst and anger and please buy my shit easily manipulated teen-agers."

TRACK 8: When the Levee Breaks - It is said that a great beginning deserves a great ending, and Led Zeppelin follows this saying to the letter, offering up this wonderful piece of work to close out the album. This song is about a man who has to leave before the constant rain breaks the levee (dam, dyke, underwater wall, etc.) and destroys his home. One might ask why he's living so close to the levee to begin with, but that would be over-analyzing! The answer may also very well be drugs. Perhaps the song is a metaphor about how the guy is overloaded with strife, and when he finally has too much of that, he'll lose it, and he'll have to leave. And at the end, he really regrets having to leave, but is aware of the painful inevitability.

If the album truly is just the sum of its parts, then Led Zeppelin IV is good, but not great, with mostly good songs, and a few great ones. But if you look at the album as a whole, and as more than a collection of songs, then you'll see that it truly does have a great sense of pacing, and absolutely no filler material. So yes, Led Zeppelin IV deserves its accolades as the best rock album of all time, and it is well worth the fifteen dollars, or however long it'd take you to download the songs ("Don't steal music." -Apple Computers). Running at about 40 minutes or so, Led Zeppelin IV is a great musical journey that you'll want to repeat again and again.


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