Sunday, December 21, 2008

Epiphany (sort of, vol.2)

I am baffled by Led Zeppelin.

Let me explain that a little bit better. Over the course of today, I listened to Led Zeppelin and Led Zeppelin IV. Listened isn’t really the most apt description; I blared Led Zeppelin and Led Zeppelin IV in my car today at a decibel level usually reserved for jet engines. “Deafening” is the only volume that Led Zeppelin should be listened at.

There’s a reason for this: Led Zeppelin is really badass. Sorry that I wasn’t more eloquent right there, but it’s true. In the conventional sense, they’re one of the stereotypically “coolest” bands in history, and people who enjoy rock music should listen to them at this optimal volume at least once in their lives.

ANYWAY, so, as I was listening to Zeppelin IV, I get to “Rock and Roll.” Some of you might be familiar with it intimately; others might know it from Cadillac commercials. It’s an unbelievable driving song, and I think that as it roared through my speakers, I was driving at 470 miles an hour. Again, very badass. And as I was listening to this magnum opus of rock and roll, all was right with the world.

And then it ended, and “Battle of Evermore” came on. Now, I understand that not every song is going to be an up-tempo romp, but this track is an acoustic song with mandolin, apparently rooted in Scottish folklore. Instead, the lyrics pretty much sound like they’ve been stolen from Dungeons and Dragons mythology. If “Rock and Roll” is the coolest kid in school, “Battle of Evermore” is the loser who gets stuffed in lockers. From a band that is often regarded as one of the most “coolest” in rock history, we get one of the flat-out nerdiest songs ever written.

“The Dark Lord rides in force tonight?” “The apples of the valley hold the seeds of happiness?!” “THE RINGWRAITHS RIDE IN BLACK?!?!” Come on, really? The only thing missing from this is a twelve-sided die.

Not that I’m saying the song is bad. Honestly, I like “Battle of Evermore,” I do. It’s just that it almost feels like an outtake when the other seven tracks are so cool. “Rock and Roll” is a song I want on in a chase sequence (hence Cadillac choosing it, I guess). “Four Sticks” is a song I’d put on and turn the bass up for having sex. “When the Levee Breaks” is the heaviest song ever written; the opening drums will flatten your house, and the harmonica sounds like a freight train.

And “Battle of Evermore” is great for… reading the Lord of the Rings really intensely? I’m not really interested in having Led Zeppelin providing the soundtrack for getting my lunch money stolen. It just doesn’t fit.

I probably wouldn’t have such a problem with this if the transition wasn’t so abrupt. At least “Stairway to Heaven” rocks kind of hard even though it has some goofy lyrics, and it comes right afterwards. Maybe “Stairway” and “Battle” could’ve been swapped as some kind of better transition to total dweebiness. I think it was Chuck Klosterman who said that Led Zeppelin “sounds like the way a cool guy acts.” I just think that that guy may have had a bit of closet dork in him.

I mean, I guess I should be grateful that this is all I can complain about with Zeppelin. It could be on the same level of the problem that I have with Ice Cube, the “gangsta rapper” who released several kids movies... then went back to trying to be a hardass.

ICE CUBE COULD NEVER BE CHILD-FRIENDLY. What is he gonna teach them, how to jack some fool? That a bitch will always be just a bitch (or sometimes, that a bitch can be a ho)? The fact that the man released a track called “Stop Snitchin’” (complete with lyrics like “I slap the Maybelline off Tammy Faye Baker”) in the year between Are We There Yet? and Are We Done Yet? is troubling for so many reasons, it may be impossible to list them all here.

At any rate, enclosed are some of the Zeppelin songs in question. Hopefully, you guys see what I'm talking about.

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