Wow, even better than their first album. In fact, through the first seven tracks, you’re basically looking at a five-clown album. The orgasmy moans in “Whole Lotta Love” take the steam out of what would otherwise be one of their best songs, but I can overlook that minute or two when you take the first seven tracks as a whole.
And then it all falls apart as they move into “Moby Dick.” This track is revered, and I don’t understand why. It’s essentially a drum solo, albeit one with an awesome guitar-and-bass-accompanied intro and outro, and there’s nothing worse in rock and roll than the masturbatory, amusical drum solo. It’s like they’d kept in their indulgent tendencies so well for the first seven tracks that they had to go full on and put on a fucking drum solo. Jesus. And then they finish things off with the anti-climactic blues cover of “Bring It On Home,” which starts off really sleepy before going into something good but entirely forgettable.
Seems they weren’t too crazy about “Bring It On Home” either, since it’s one of only two tracks (“The Lemon Song”) from the main album that didn’t make the companion disc. This time around the second disc is much more welcome than that ridiculous concert they put on the end of their first album. Here you get six of the album’s nine tracks as either “Rough Mix With Vocal,” which I generally like as hotter-mixed, less polished versions, or “Backing Track,” which, Jesus, you charged me for the backing track? So I can start to build my karaoke collection? And one of those was “Living Loving Maid (She’s Just A Woman),” which Robert Plant carries in the instrumental pauses anyway?
And then the companion disc finishes up with “Moby Dick” but trimmed down just to the intro/outro, which is all you’d ever want in the first place, so that’s pretty awesome; and then only the backing track to a previously unheard song called “La La,” which, why do we just get the backing track of something we’d never heard before?
Still, God, those first seven tracks, and in particular, what sequencing. As if they weren’t killing it enough with the first four songs, then they go “Heartbreaker,” “Living Loving Maid (She’s Just A Woman),” and “Ramble On,” one of the best three-track stretches in music. Just make sure you snap out of your stoned haze and lift the needle off the record before “Moby Dick” gets done with its intro.
Mix: “Living Loving Maid (She’s Just A Woman)”
Love: “What Is And What Should Never Be,” “Heartbreaker,” “Ramble On”
Really Like: “Whole Lotta Love,” “The Lemon Song,” “Thank You,” “What Is And What Should Never Be (Rough Mix With Vocal),” “Ramble On (Rough Mix With Vocal),” “Moby Dick (Intro/Outro Rough Mix)”
Like: “Bring It On Home,” “Thank You (Backing Track),” “Heartbreaker (Rough Mix With Vocal),” “La La (Backing Track)”
Meh: “Living Loving Maid (She’s Just A Woman)”
Dislike: “Whole Lotta Love (Rough Mix With Vocal)”
Hate: “Moby Dick”
Filed Between: Led Zeppelin’s Led Zeppelin and III
Song Notes: After the jump
Disc 1 – Remastered original album
- Whole Lotta Love – So good. Would have been mix without that orgasm section
- What Is And What Should Never Be –
- The Lemon Song – Bass line is awesome
- Thank You –
- Heartbreaker –
- Living Loving Maid (She’s Just A Woman) –
- Ramble On –
- Moby Dick –
- Bring It On Home – Starts slow and low, then revs up. Pretty forgettable, would have been better buried in the middle. Or god at least before “Moby Dick”
Disc 2 – Companion Disc
- Whole Lotta Love (Rough Mix With Vocal) – it’s worse, in particular the orgasm section is even more stupidly over the top. Since they made the annoying part even more annoying it falls to dislike.
- What Is And What Should Never Be (Rough Mix With Vocal) –
- Thank You (Backing Track) – seriously? just the backing track?
- Heartbreaker (Rough Mix With Vocal) – backbeat is awesome. bass is a bit too crunchy
- Living Loving Maid (She’s Just A Woman) (Backing Track) – really gives you a sense of how much Plant adds to this song. Impossible to hear this without hearing him in your mind
- Ramble On (Rough Mix With Vocal) –
- Moby Dick (Backing Track) – I think the parentheticals are supposed to be reversed here as Moby Dick never had any vox anyway and this is a nicely trimmed intro/outro of that. And that’s all you’d ever want is the intro/outro.
- La La (Intro/Outro Rough Mix) – And meanwhile, this is also vocalless, so yeah, I think the parentheticals are wrong. I guess this was a new track with this 2014 re-release. Would love to hear a finished version of this.