UK, 1971, hard rock

Led ZeppelinIV

For the record, *Led Zeppelin IV*, as it is popularly called, is an untitled album. This is, of course, one of those albums where you wonder if spilling any more ink is even worth the time it takes to do so. Whatever. Might as well add my thoughts. Clearly this is an album of extreme mood swings, and the sound of the music demonstrates that, swinging from unbridled rock energy (“Rock and Roll”) to acoustic delicacy (“The Battle of Evermore”), from idealism to destruction. “Stairway” reconciles the two as the album’s centerpiece. But I love the fragility of the last two songs: yes, fragility. Obviously “Going to California” sounds fragile, and it is, but “When the Levee Breaks”, though it doesn’t sound at all fragile, is about…the levee breaking. We hear the roaring wind, the driving rain, and the crashing waves, but at the heart of it all is the levee breaking and the destruction that brings. Better flee to California. I hear there’s a girl out there who’s never been born. Run away towards something that doesn’t exist. At least they credited one of their sources in their liner notes.

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