FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

My Problem with Led Zeppelin

Sometimes rediscovering an old favorite can be a rewarding experience. All of the hidden corners that you explored in the past show themselves in a different light, and ideas that were confusing or unclear are now plain as day. Unfortunately as I put a copy of Led Zeppelin I on my turntable and watched the track names dance in circles, I was horrified to discover that I felt nothing.

So I went through the other albums that I hold up as classics. Appetite for Destruction is just as monstrously frightening, Belle is as tender and jubilant as the first time I heard it and The Battle Of Los Angeles still scares the piss out of me. But something was wrong with that Zeppelin record.

It starts out alright. Two big snare hits that show how tight this band can be, even on the first track of their first record. A two beat overture to describe what’s coming. This is a band out to prove something and they’re all great players, obviously in touch with their instruments. John Paul Jones bobs and weaves like Sugar Ray Robinson, and the Gatling gun that John Bonham has hooked up to his bass drum seems to be firing smoothly. Paige squeals and moans, moving from one idea to the next, and Plant is hitting notes that only dogs can hear. These kinds of sounds coming out of a quiet suburban Hi-Fi in 1969 must have scared a lot of people.

But 45 minutes, nine tracks, and nine million notes later, I don’t feel any different than I did before those two big snare hits. Everyone is listening to themselves, making sure their runs are cool enough, that their fills show just how much time they’ve spent practicing. The problem with this kind of introspective attitude is that it leaves no room to listen to the other musicians, let alone the song itself.

If this was the only problem with Led Zeppelin I it would still be a great record. It’s understandable to want to prove yourself on your first time out, and even though it detracts from the depth of the album it’s hard to hold it against them. The real problem with this LP is the swagger. It’s not that Jackie Wilson type of swagger that is more endearing than arrogant. It’s that hair band swagger, that Tom Wolfe swagger, that 2004 Oval Office swagger. It’s the kind of arrogance that lets you know they’re trying to cover up something they’re missing. Something that you can’t hide with guitar solo’s or drum fills. And 45 minutes, nine tracks and nine million notes later I figured out what it was. Underneath all of the talent, all of the chops, there’s nothing human about this record.

LORENZO WOLFF is a musician living in New York. He can be reached at: lorenzowolff@gmail.com

More articles by:

LORENZO WOLFF is a musician living in New York. He can be reached at: lorenzowolff@gmail.com

Weekend Edition
June 22, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Karl Grossman
Star Wars Redux: Trump’s Space Force
Andrew Levine
Strange Bedfellows
Jeffrey St. Clair
Intolerable Opinions in an Intolerant Time
Paul Street
None of Us are Free, One of Us is Chained
Edward Curtin
Slow Suicide and the Abandonment of the World
Celina Stien-della Croce
The ‘Soft Coup’ and the Attack on the Brazilian People 
James Bovard
Pro-War Media Deserve Slamming, Not Sainthood
Louisa Willcox
My Friend Margot Kidder: Sharing a Love of Dogs, the Wild, and Speaking Truth to Power
David Rosen
Trump’s War on Sex
Mir Alikhan
Trump, North Korea, and the Death of IR Theory
Christopher Jones
Neoliberalism, Pipelines, and Canadian Political Economy
Barbara Nimri Aziz
Why is Tariq Ramadan Imprisoned?
Robert Fantina
MAGA, Trump Style
Linn Washington Jr.
Justice System Abuses Mothers with No Apologies
Martha Rosenberg
Questions About a Popular Antibiotic Class
Ida Audeh
A Watershed Moment in Palestinian History: Interview with Jamal Juma’
Edward Hunt
The Afghan War is Killing More People Than Ever
Geoff Dutton
Electrocuting Oral Tradition
Don Fitz
When Cuban Polyclinics Were Born
Ramzy Baroud
End the Wars to Halt the Refugee Crisis
Ralph Nader
The Unsurpassed Power trip by an Insuperable Control Freak
Lara Merling
The Pain of Puerto Ricans is a Profit Source for Creditors
James Jordan
Struggle and Defiance at Colombia’s Feast of Pestilence
Tamara Pearson
Indifference to a Hellish World
Kathy Kelly
Hungering for Nuclear Disarmament
Jessicah Pierre
Celebrating the End of Slavery, With One Big Asterisk
Rohullah Naderi
The Ever-Shrinking Space for Hazara Ethnic Group
Binoy Kampmark
Leaving the UN Human Rights Council
Nomi Prins 
How Trump’s Trade Wars Could Lead to a Great Depression
Robert Fisk
Can Former Lebanese MP Mustafa Alloush Turn Even the Coldest of Middle Eastern Sceptics into an Optimist?
Franklin Lamb
Could “Tough Love” Salvage Lebanon?
George Ochenski
Why Wild Horse Island is Still Wild
Ann Garrison
Nikki Haley: Damn the UNHRC and the Rest of You Too
Jonah Raskin
What’s Hippie Food? A Culinary Quest for the Real Deal
Raouf Halaby
Give It Up, Ya Mahmoud
Brian Wakamo
We Subsidize the Wrong Kind of Agriculture
Patrick Higgins
Children in Cages Create Glimmers of the Moral Reserve
Patrick Bobilin
What Does Optimism Look Like Now?
Don Qaswa
A Reduction of Economic Warfare and Bombing Might Help 
Robin Carver
Why We Still Need Pride Parades
Jill Richardson
Immigrant Kids are Suffering From Trauma That Will Last for Years
Thomas Mountain
USA’s “Soft” Coup in Ethiopia?
Jim Hightower
Big Oil’s Man in Foreign Policy
Louis Proyect
Civilization and Its Absence
David Yearsley
Midsummer Music Even the Nazis Couldn’t Stamp Out
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail