|Houses of the Holy
|The Song Remains the Same
|In Through the Out Door
Review last updated: December 5, 2018
You know what's wrong with Led Zeppelin? What it really is about them that drives me nuts (besides you know, everything)? They literally plagiarized the majority of their first two studio albums and were revered as innovators and artists for recording them. You can look up this plagiarism stuff, there are mountains of evidence, and even a Wikipedia page about the people that actually arranged and composed these songs (or rather, shells of songs). I can argue this with anyone. The really strange thing is, that the band did in fact properly credit a few of their songs, but they incorrectly (and I think intentionally) credited themselves on many others. Joan Baez incorrectly credited as "Traditional, arr. Page", Jake Holmes as Page, "traditional" writings which were actually in fact popular '60s songs, public domain songs which Zeppelin obtained copyright for, a lot of these singles actually inspired lawsuits against the band (and they lost, several times). It becomes very clear going through this article (and the many others about this topic) that when releasing their self-titled debut, the original Led Zeppelin didn't know, and even more offensive, didn't care, where the songs they played and got rich off of actually came from. These are your idols, America. These are people you aspire to be.
The funny thing is, people sued Led Zeppelin and won. Their body of work has been picked apart by the wronged parties. Led Zeppelin has repeatedly revised and changed the credits of their earliest works to suit public demand -- works that are endlessly recycled on the radio, in films, in coffee shops, in HyVees and Wal-Marts, in hick fuck Sports Bars where everyone is shit faced every night -- works that have been praised and written about, revered, idolized, immortalized, even worshiped religiously. Led Zeppelin did the con job, they ripped everyone off and got away with it, and made millions of dollars off of the work of others. This has been recognized and acknowledged during the clarity of history, but this band is still distributed everywhere, they're still making their millions. Is there any justice for these wronged parties in the art world? Maybe in the art world, but rock music is a business. It always was and always will be.
Led Zeppelin is a flawless example of everything wrong with mainstream pop and rock music. Praised endlessly, only around for 10 years or so, very famous for most of them, albums and singles that topped the charts immediately (and topped every dadcore station from Portland to the other Portland); immortalized in every "best of" or "hall of fame" that ever existed relating to this music genre, and yet none of their songs are really about anything. After the initial buzz of new music wears off (for me I was probably 18 months old when I was sick of Led Zeppelin), an attentive listener will start to realize these albums have little under the surface. The surface however, is immaculate. It's a very sexy, aesthetically sensitive, masculine and provocative surface, even emotional, even intelligent, but it's just the surface. Further analysis will conclude how dry, thoughtless, complacent, self-satisfied and mind-numbing these compositions (their originals and the ones they ripped off) really are.
The music of Led Zeppelin has very few definable, distinguishable, unique, or creative characteristics. They sound pretty much like every rock band that came before them, and every rock band that came after. They didn't really do anything, and the things everyone says they did do, appear to me as puffs of hot air, misguided success stories of phony inspiration, musicians who have been so fucked up on drugs for so much of their careers, they don't even remember what the songs they play are about. This is probably because the majority of their output is distorted caricatures of blues rock disguised as heavy metal, fragmented beyond clear recognition, and thrown together with nonsense that may or may not mean anything (yes, that includes Stairway and Kashmir and all the lighter-waving songs). Their body of work bears striking similarities to Radiohead's, Flaming Lips's, Nirvana's, and The Beatles. If any extraterrestrial life forms are capable of receiving radio waves from space, originating from Earth, thousands or millions of years from now, I will bet you anything they will be sick to death and very annoyed that the majority of their received transmissions is Led Zeppelin. Not any other band, not talk radio, not jazz, not important human historical events, not Frank Sinatra or Orson Welles, but Led Zeppelin. Welcome to my world, aliens. There really is no intelligent life in this corner of the galaxy.