Led Zeppelin IV: an overview

Overall, the album does not seem like there is one specific concept the band was working toward, but that is what makes the album so great. Every song tells its own story, and blends elements of rock and roll as well as folk rock and even blues.

The album starts off with “Black Dog” which is followed by “Rock n Roll” which both sound like what someone would expect to hear when they think of a rock album. Each song has a very driving beat that is matched with Page and Plant’s lyrics along with Plant’s unique voice that was perfect for both hard rock, and acoustic folk.

“The Battle of Evermore” is such an interesting song to put on next on the album. If someone was new to listening to Zeppelin, this folk tune would be a complete shock. The use of the mandolin, makes the song sound very old, from a completely different time period. Plant’s vocals in this song sound more like chanting which gives the song a more spiritual feeling to it. There is a story being told with this song, it could have been talking about an actual battle of sorts, or maybe just war in general? Unlike bands like the Beatles who sang more about love, Zeppelin had more songs on existentialism and issues in society.

“Stairway to Heaven” is the song that just about everyone can say they are familiar with, even if it is just the title and the name of the band. For avid music listeners and musicians, Stairway to Heaven is the rock anthem to learn on guitar. That is why movies like Wayne’s World references the song when Wayne starts playing the opening riff. The man stops Wayne from playing the song and points to a sign saying “No Stairway to Heaven”  because that is the one song that every guitarist will try to learn and then be able to go to a music store to play the opening  riff to establish themselves as a musician. The song combines all the elements that make up Led Zeppelin. It is a nice blend of folk music and rock and roll which makes the song so prominent.

“Misty Mountain Hop” does not even sound like it is coming from the same band until Robert Plant does his screaming vocals. The song almost sounds like a jazz rock feel to it, and the lyrics are sang with the same tone all the way through. Honestly, I remember listening to this song as a child and thinking it was a Beach Boys song until my mother so kindly informed me otherwise. It is a perfect opening song for side 2 of the album because it hints to the driving beat of “When the Levee Breaks”.

Although “Four Sticks” isn’t as well liked as the rest of the tracks on this album, it does still contain many elements of folk and rock which made Stairway to Heaven loved by so many. I think the reason why “Four Sticks” isn’t as well received is because each part of the song is so diverse and there is a bit of a disconnect that might make it harder for someone who wasn’t already a fan to enjoy the music. I still enjoy the song, it just isn’t one of my favorites.

“Going to California” just sounds like a soft love song with a bit of a folk feel to it, which doesn’t sound anything like “Black Dog” or any hard rock group’s song, but it in itself is still a great tune, and can be matched up to any other song on the album.

“When the Levee Breaks” is such haunting song to end the album with.  The song is not entirely Led Zeppelin’s, it was a rewrite of a previously recorded song.  Listening to the slow drum beat, and then each instrument joining into this song, was the perfect way to end the album.

 

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