Seriously, though, how did these guys keep it going? I mean how do you follow up IV? Well, you keep a little bit of your old formula of some bluesy, wizardy stuff (“Over The Hills And Far Away,” “D’yer Mak’er”) and rockers (“The Ocean”), mix in some more atmospheric stuff (“The Song Remains The Same”), really slow it down for a couple of slow burners (“Rain Song,” “No Quarter”), and then stretch yourself into some of the dance-y stuff that was gaining traction at the time, all while not losing any of your integrity (“Dancing Days,” “The Crunge”). And there you go, an almost perfect album to put up right next to your previous album, which was perfect.
Honestly, it’s really impressive how well they branch out here while maintaining a lot of that Led Zeppelin sound. “Dancing Days” is probably my fave song on the album, and it grooves so hard. “The Crunge” is, well, no pun intended, but that last bit where Plant is singing about finding the bridge, that makes me cringe every time. But before they get into that weird James Brown mockery, they do a really good job with a funk song. If they could have just reined it in a bit in that last minute, this would be a five clown disc.
I don’t think any band has ever put out five consecutive albums as good as these, much less as a band’s first five albums. And yes, I’m including The Beatles in there. I mean, The Beatles’ fifth-best album is probably better than Led Zeppelin’s (III), and yeah, I’d probably take Abbey Road over IV or II at the top of the scale, but Led Zeppelin outweigh The Beatles so much in ranks two through four that I probably have to give it to them.
Mix: “Dancing Days”
Love: “No Quarter”
Really Like: “The Song Remains The Same,” “The Rain Song,” “Over The Hills And Far Away”
Like: “D’yer Mak’er,” “The Ocean,” “The Song Remains The Same (Guitar Overdub Reference Mix),” “Over The Hills And Far Away (Guitar Mix Backing Track),” “Dancing Days (Rough Mix With Vocal),” “No Quarter (Rough Mix With JPJ Keyboard Overdubs – No Vocal)”
Meh: “The Crunge,” “The Rain Song (Mix Minus Piano),” “The Crunge (Rough Mix – Keys Up),” “The Ocean (Working Mix)”
Filed Between: Led Zeppelin’s IV and Presence
Song Notes: After the jump
Disc 1: Original album
- The Song Remains The Same – This is so reminiscent of Rush from like the 2112 or Hemispheres era. Nice bass lick.
- The Rain Song – takes a wahile to get going, but it’s awesome.
- Over The Hills And Far Away
- The Crunge
- Dancing Days
- D’yer Mak’er
- No Quarter
- The Ocean
Disc 2: Remixes, Working Mixes, Etc.
- The Song Remains The Same (Guitar Overdub Reference Mix) – I guess this was always intended to be an instrumental, as presented here, but I really do like Plant’s additions to the version on the original record.
- The Rain Song (Mix Minus Piano) –
- Over The Hills And Far Away (Guitar Mix Backing Track) – has some white noise, static, hiss at start
- The Crunge (Rough Mix – Keys Up) –
- Dancing Days (Rough Mix With Vocal) –
- No Quarter (Rough Mix With JPJ Keyboard Overdubs – No Vocal) –
- The Ocean (Working Mix) – too hot