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The Song Remains Inane

Houses of the holy by Led Zeppelin was 40 years old this year.  FORTY YEARS!

With four great albums preceding it, all still sounding sound exciting, fresh and genre-changing, it makes you wonder how we've ended up with the drivel we have these days.  Maybe bands back then got too good too soon and cover too much ground too quickly.  The amount of talent and out-there thinkers was amazing.  Surely, it can't just be nostalgia.  It can't be for me; I wasn't around then.

The first thing that hit me when buying this album was two tracks, 'D'yer Maker' and 'The Crunge', which stand out like a sore thumb (or thumbs, rather).  They aren't particular in keeping with the Led Zep sound and I wasn't massively keen on them. Reading about the band, I soon discovered that the reviews back then had much the same opinion.  I think you have to respect them for trying something different, even if those songs aren't very strong.  Infact, 'D'yer maker' has grown on me in recent years but 'The Crunge' will probably always be my least fav Zep song, with the exception of when they slip and instrumental jam of it into 'Dazed and Confused' on the 'How The West Was Won' live album.  It sounds pretty cool on that, but it's over half way through a 25 minute version of 'Dazed and Confused' so I can't say I ever particularly go looking for it!  As for the rest of the album; when I first listened i thought it was weaker than the previous 4 albums, but now i think i was probably focusing on those two tracks too much.  As a whole, it doesn't play through as well as the previous 4, or perhaps even the double album 'Physical Graffiti' which followed.  It does, however, still boast some songs that many would consider to be classic Zeppelin.

The key for me is that Zeppelin albums often included evidence that they could still do what they did best but then always ushered in a bit of something different, or a variation of an existing theme/style.  For Led Zeppelin 3, they went rather acoustic.  But let's not forget that the rockier tracks on the album are absolute stonkers! I think there were many sides to the band and the fact that they didn't stick to a tried-and-tested formula is why i love them.  Some of the stuff on the final two albums (Presence & In through the out door) really isn't to my liking, but in the case of 'Presence', it still has at least two classic tracks on it.

Of course, the stories passed down from other people, the books and documentaries etc paint a romantic picture of every musical era once it has passed, but all that goes out of the window if the records are bad.  When all is said and done, it should come down to putting the album on and listening to it from start to finish.  Does it still stand up? do the songs still do something to you? Ok, it took me a little while, but eventually i began to appreciate the records my Dad was playing.  I wasn't sat there thinking 'everybody liked these guys and they have cool band T-shirts for sale', i was thinking 'wow, this doesn't sound like old people's music at all'.

Maybe everything now will just be mimicry or homage, but that shouldn't stop people from trying.  Zeppelin picked up the blues and took it somewhere else.  The exciting thing should be mixing influences and trying to come up with your own take on something without getting too close to plagiarism.  After 40 years of experimenting, it seems someone has ruined the recipe.  The top 40 is an absolute embarrassment and city centres are full of celebrity-wannabe kids walking around town wearing T-shirts with Keith Richards, Debbie Harry or David Bowie's face on, completely unaware of what these people mean to many and the lack of those kind of people nowadays.  Who will be on T-shirts 40 years from now? I dare say it will probably still be Keef and co unless things change dramatically.

Paul from The Reveres

Check out the band on https://www.facebook.com/thereveres

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