Ranking Led Zeppelin Studio Albums

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Re: Ranking Led Zeppelin Studio Albums

Postby Goat Boy » 29 Jan 2018, 18:51

Side 2 of IV is their best side.

III
Graffiti
IV
I
Holy
II
Presence
ITOD
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Re: Ranking Led Zeppelin Studio Albums

Postby Diamond Dog » 29 Jan 2018, 21:19

Quaco wrote:
Quaco wrote:
Diamond Dog wrote:I think you're confusing production with songwriting there.

I don't think so...? What I mean is "TSRTS", "The Rain Song", "Stairway", "Going to California", Misty Mountain Hop", "No Quarter" ... real songs with real lyrical ideas, confident musical development. Not the "Jimmy does some riffs and I'll sing along till something comes out whether it makes sense or not, so we'll just bury the vocal and put a very fast delay on it giving it that thin wiry sound" that you get with "Custard Pie", "The Rover", "Trampled Underfoot", "The Wanton Song", "Sick Again", and most of Presence.

Pete, were you saying that these latter songs are still just as great songs as the ones on IV, but just have murky production? (Rather than what I thought you were saying, that "The Rain Song" et al. aren't any better but are just produced better. Slight difference.) I mean, maybe I need to get the lyrics of some of these songs and really study them so that they will reveal themselves. I tend to think of them as undercooked or maybe a new way of working.



I think you're picking paticular examples of where Plant's voice is mixed really low and saying it's because the lyrics aren't up to much and they start and stop at Jimmy's riff. I disagree with that - I think "The Rover" for instance is one of the best tracks on PG.... obviously not as good as "The Rain Song" but that's because I think that may be in their top two tunes ever. It's an unfair comparison - you're comparing maybe the fifth or sixth best track on PG with one of their top three songs.
And to be honest Jim I thought you were defending Presence, not me - yet you say 'most of Presence' is in that murky mode?
I'm a bit confused with what you're actually saying....
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Re: Ranking Led Zeppelin Studio Albums

Postby sloopjohnc » 29 Jan 2018, 21:28

Diamond Dog wrote:
Quaco wrote:
Quaco wrote:I don't think so...? What I mean is "TSRTS", "The Rain Song", "Stairway", "Going to California", Misty Mountain Hop", "No Quarter" ... real songs with real lyrical ideas, confident musical development. Not the "Jimmy does some riffs and I'll sing along till something comes out whether it makes sense or not, so we'll just bury the vocal and put a very fast delay on it giving it that thin wiry sound" that you get with "Custard Pie", "The Rover", "Trampled Underfoot", "The Wanton Song", "Sick Again", and most of Presence.

Pete, were you saying that these latter songs are still just as great songs as the ones on IV, but just have murky production? (Rather than what I thought you were saying, that "The Rain Song" et al. aren't any better but are just produced better. Slight difference.) I mean, maybe I need to get the lyrics of some of these songs and really study them so that they will reveal themselves. I tend to think of them as undercooked or maybe a new way of working.



I think you're picking paticular examples of where Plant's voice is mixed really low and saying it's because the lyrics aren't up to much and they start and stop at Jimmy's riff. I disagree with that - I think "The Rover" for instance is one of the best tracks on PG.... obviously not as good as "The Rain Song" but that's because I think that may be in their top two tunes ever. It's an unfair comparison - you're comparing maybe the fifth or sixth best track on PG with one of their top three songs.
And to be honest Jim I thought you were defending Presence, not me - yet you say 'most of Presence' is in that murky mode?
I'm a bit confused with what you're actually saying....


It's funny how people hear things differently. I think Presence sounds raw, almost brittle, especially the guitar. It has a razor-like sound all the way through and doesn't sound as fulsome as other albums.

I don't know if they wanted it to sound like that, but they have songs on III that come across the same to me.

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Re: Ranking Led Zeppelin Studio Albums

Postby Quaco » 29 Jan 2018, 21:35

Diamond Dog wrote:
Quaco wrote:
Quaco wrote:I don't think so...? What I mean is "TSRTS", "The Rain Song", "Stairway", "Going to California", Misty Mountain Hop", "No Quarter" ... real songs with real lyrical ideas, confident musical development. Not the "Jimmy does some riffs and I'll sing along till something comes out whether it makes sense or not, so we'll just bury the vocal and put a very fast delay on it giving it that thin wiry sound" that you get with "Custard Pie", "The Rover", "Trampled Underfoot", "The Wanton Song", "Sick Again", and most of Presence.

Pete, were you saying that these latter songs are still just as great songs as the ones on IV, but just have murky production? (Rather than what I thought you were saying, that "The Rain Song" et al. aren't any better but are just produced better. Slight difference.) I mean, maybe I need to get the lyrics of some of these songs and really study them so that they will reveal themselves. I tend to think of them as undercooked or maybe a new way of working.



I think you're picking paticular examples of where Plant's voice is mixed really low and saying it's because the lyrics aren't up to much and they start and stop at Jimmy's riff. I disagree with that - I think "The Rover" for instance is one of the best tracks on PG.... obviously not as good as "The Rain Song" but that's because I think that may be in their top two tunes ever. It's an unfair comparison - you're comparing maybe the fifth or sixth best track on PG with one of their top three songs.
And to be honest Jim I thought you were defending Presence, not me - yet you say 'most of Presence' is in that murky mode?
I'm a bit confused with what you're actually saying....

I'm saying both. I like Presence and even some of that "murky" PG stuff, but I think it's somewhat half-baked songwriting-wise. It just sounds like Robert coming up with stuff that fits the meter of an already recorded track, rather than having an idea. Most of the songs on III, IV, and Houses sound like they were written with music and lyrics working together. I'm curious about their writing. Did the process change over time?
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Re: Ranking Led Zeppelin Studio Albums

Postby Ray K. » 29 Jan 2018, 21:46

IV - I probably never need to listen to this one again but if I was going to only own one of their records this would be it.
III - The flip side to IV in some ways for me. On some days I like it better than IV but I'm not going to argue with the iconic status of the former.
I - I like the rawness of this one.
PG - Maybe a few songs to long but the highlights are very, very good.
HOTH - This one is the odd duck to me. There is something wonderful about it. I think if I ever gave this more listens it would move up.
Presence/ITTOD - this two flip and flop. I like bits and dislike others.
II - I never got this one. I know folks love it but it's always rubbed me the wrong way. A couple of songs are OK but it misses the mark for me. Oddly it was the first one of theirs I purchased (IV was too damn popular).

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Re: Ranking Led Zeppelin Studio Albums

Postby Diamond Dog » 29 Jan 2018, 22:00

Quaco wrote:I'm saying both. I like Presence and even some of that "murky" PG stuff, but I think it's somewhat half-baked songwriting-wise. It just sounds like Robert coming up with stuff that fits the meter of an already recorded track, rather than having an idea. Most of the songs on III, IV, and Houses sound like they were written with music and lyrics working together. I'm curious about their writing. Did the process change over time?



Ah right.... well PG is a complete hotch potch of different times and places (as we know) so you can't really expect a 'common thread' regarding the songwriting. Presence was basically written by Jimmy & Robert in Malibu, with JPJ & Bonzo being called in for the recording. It was recorded incredibly quickly (by the standards of the days) - all tracks recorded and mixed in 18 days.... so that was different to the previous three albums... but almost no different to III where Jimmy & Robert had gone to Wales and written a chuck of the album by themselves.... ITTOD was a strange one... basically Robert & JPJ attended (and wrote) in the day mostly, with Bonzo & Jimmy turning up for the evenings.... this is why there are tracks without a Jimmy credit (the only group compositions in their career without Page included) because he wasn't in the studio for so much of the time.
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Re: Ranking Led Zeppelin Studio Albums

Postby Quaco » 29 Jan 2018, 22:07

Thanks for the write-up!

Diamond Dog wrote:Ah right.... well PG is a complete hotch potch of different times and places (as we know) so you can't really expect a 'common thread' regarding the songwriting.

"In the Light", "Ten Years Gone", and "Kashmir" are three of the new songs that (IMO) seem to have the same quality of "coherence" that is all over the previous three albums. The ones I mentioned before seem different somehow, like working lyrics that were never finished.
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Re: Ranking Led Zeppelin Studio Albums

Postby Diamond Dog » 29 Jan 2018, 22:13

Quaco wrote:Thanks for the write-up!

Diamond Dog wrote:Ah right.... well PG is a complete hotch potch of different times and places (as we know) so you can't really expect a 'common thread' regarding the songwriting.

"In the Light", "Ten Years Gone", and "Kashmir" are three of the new songs that (IMO) seem to have the same quality of "coherence" that is all over the previous three albums. The ones I mentioned before seem different somehow, like working lyrics that were never finished.


Well they were all pretty much new for the album, so it figures that they would be similar in sound and texture, I guess.

"The Rover" dates back to Zep 4 times. But the other four you name were recorded and written new for PG, so that kind of floors any cohesive theme running through the batch of new tracks for PG.
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Re: Ranking Led Zeppelin Studio Albums

Postby Quaco » 29 Jan 2018, 22:16

Mmmm, well maybe it was a new process they were working with on some songs. I wish Bent Fabric were here. He could explain it better than I can!
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Re: Ranking Led Zeppelin Studio Albums

Postby Diamond Dog » 30 Jan 2018, 08:52

Quaco wrote:Mmmm, well maybe it was a new process they were working with on some songs.


Jimmy this is the classic example of trying to make the practice fit the theory, mate! :)

I do understand what you're saying, by the way - there was definitely a more 'sloppy' approach with some tracks from PG onwards. But I I think that maifested itself most on Presence, where stuff like "Nobody's Fault..." "Candy Store Rock" "Hots On For Nowhere" and (most certainly) "Royal Orleans" sound as though they were jammed in the studio, and embellished from a very basic framework. This was not something they generally did up until that point - there nearly always seemed to be a very strong kernel that was expounded on, rather than a very loose 'idea' that was jammed to completion. Thinking about that, it may well have been because a lot of those songs were 'road tested' live before the albums were worked on - so alot of the jamming wasn't needed in the studio. Of course, with Presence (and ITTOD) onwards, there were no live shows for that to have happened. I'd not though of that previously, so thanks for that!

By the way - I fail to see how anyone can seriously make a claim that PG, Presence & ITTOD have a common thread running through their studio work and production. It's abundantly clear that they were all written and recorded in very different circumstances, and I think that's why they sound all so completely different. There is no real 'natural progression' from one to the other, mainly because Presence really was the 'outlier' in their catalogue - the lack of any keyboards, the virtual exclusion of acoustic guitars (although there is one way in the background for Candy Store Rock), the first time JPJ had used that really metallic Alembic 8 string bass sound..... it's completely unlike their other material. I also think it's interesting that Jimmy claims Presence to have been a tremendous success (to this day) whereas Robert is scathing of his own vocals throughout it... claiming he hated the actual studio (Musicland Studios in Munich) which was in a cellar (whereas the rehearsals had been at SIR Studios in Hollywood) and he was homesick and really just wanted to spend time with his family (and recuperate from a serious car accident that had put both him and his wife in hospital - Robert recorded the whole album on crutches and in wheelchairs).

Because of the above, the recording of ITTOD at Abba's Polar Studios was completely different - by design. But that became awkward mainly because of the drug problems that Page & Bonham were going through (Jimmy's heroin addiction is well documented, Bonzo's much less so). It really was like having two separate pairs working independently of eachother, almost.

As for the 'murky' production... you know, I think that's entirely down to Jimmy. It's pretty well known that his ear has pretty well gone (hence the need for collaborators in production on everything since the mid 80's)... he oversees things, but I'm not sure that's necessarily a good thing. Maybe that had already kicked in by then, but no one realised it - or felt comfortable discussing it? There are some unforgivably poor production/mixing jobs on the last three albums ( my own personal worst is Carouselambra, where its brilliance is almost completely lost behind a Robert vocal that sounds like it was recorded under water, with a shitty mic and onto twelfth generation tape .. and Jimmy's guitar seems to completely drop out of the mix from the intro practically right through to the breakdown section). But, to be fair, some of Zep II sounds similar to my ears (Lemon Song & Bring It On Home, for instance).. so maybe it was always prevalent.


Anyway - enough from me!
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Re: Ranking Led Zeppelin Studio Albums

Postby soundchaser » 30 Jan 2018, 09:46

Diamond Dog wrote:
Quaco wrote:Mmmm, well maybe it was a new process they were working with on some songs.


Jimmy this is the classic example of trying to make the practice fit the theory, mate! :)

I do understand what you're saying, by the way - there was definitely a more 'sloppy' approach with some tracks from PG onwards. But I I think that maifested itself most on Presence, where stuff like "Nobody's Fault..." "Candy Store Rock" "Hots On For Nowhere" and (most certainly) "Royal Orleans" sound as though they were jammed in the studio, and embellished from a very basic framework. This was not something they generally did up until that point - there nearly always seemed to be a very strong kernel that was expounded on, rather than a very loose 'idea' that was jammed to completion. Thinking about that, it may well have been because a lot of those songs were 'road tested' live before the albums were worked on - so alot of the jamming wasn't needed in the studio. Of course, with Presence (and ITTOD) onwards, there were no live shows for that to have happened. I'd not though of that previously, so thanks for that!

By the way - I fail to see how anyone can seriously make a claim that PG, Presence & ITTOD have a common thread running through their studio work and production. It's abundantly clear that they were all written and recorded in very different circumstances, and I think that's why they sound all so completely different. There is no real 'natural progression' from one to the other, mainly because Presence really was the 'outlier' in their catalogue - the lack of any keyboards, the virtual exclusion of acoustic guitars (although there is one way in the background for Candy Store Rock), the first time JPJ had used that really metallic Alembic 8 string bass sound..... it's completely unlike their other material. I also think it's interesting that Jimmy claims Presence to have been a tremendous success (to this day) whereas Robert is scathing of his own vocals throughout it... claiming he hated the actual studio (Musicland Studios in Munich) which was in a cellar (whereas the rehearsals had been at SIR Studios in Hollywood) and he was homesick and really just wanted to spend time with his family (and recuperate from a serious car accident that had put both him and his wife in hospital - Robert recorded the whole album on crutches and in wheelchairs).

Because of the above, the recording of ITTOD at Abba's Polar Studios was completely different - by design. But that became awkward mainly because of the drug problems that Page & Bonham were going through (Jimmy's heroin addiction is well documented, Bonzo's much less so). It really was like having two separate pairs working independently of eachother, almost.

As for the 'murky' production... you know, I think that's entirely down to Jimmy. It's pretty well known that his ear has pretty well gone (hence the need for collaborators in production on everything since the mid 80's)... he oversees things, but I'm not sure that's necessarily a good thing. Maybe that had already kicked in by then, but no one realised it - or felt comfortable discussing it? There are some unforgivably poor production/mixing jobs on the last three albums ( my own personal worst is Carouselambra, where its brilliance is almost completely lost behind a Robert vocal that sounds like it was recorded under water, with a shitty mic and onto twelfth generation tape .. and Jimmy's guitar seems to completely drop out of the mix from the intro practically right through to the breakdown section). But, to be fair, some of Zep II sounds similar to my ears (Lemon Song & Bring It On Home, for instance).. so maybe it was always prevalent.


Anyway - enough from me!


Great reading: cheers.

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Re: Ranking Led Zeppelin Studio Albums

Postby Quaco » 30 Jan 2018, 16:14

Great to read that, Pete. I listened to some of the tunes from PG last night to clarify my thoughts, specifically "Custard Pie", "The Rover", "Trampled Underfoot" and "Kashmir". What I heard is the first three of these have not much interaction between the music and lyrics. There's the music as a bed, and it doesn't really change or develop from beginning to end, then the lyrics are put over it. This is like those R.E.M. songs I talk about (though about 500 times better) where the band is cooking along whether Stipe is singing or not. It's very obvious that they recorded a backing track and he added his vocals later. It's not so obvious in Led Zeppelin's case, because they have the greater talent at welding these things together, but I still hear that there is not too much development in, say, "Trampled Underfoot" from beginning to end, except a lead guitar adding a few fills along the way -- compare to "When the Levee Breaks" maybe, which doesn't develop as much as "The Rain Song" but changes enough and feels like it's going somewhere -- and the lyrics are largely indecipherable and don't seem to have any bearing on the mood of the song. He could be talking about cars, drugs, fame, or his wife, with only "talking about love" being the one line you hear.

"Kashmir", on the other hand, has drama and musical development, and the lyrics perfectly fit the music. MAYBE the music was written first, but I suspect they informed each other. It tells a musical story. By comparison, "Custard Pie", "The Rover" (less so), and "Trampled Underfoot" might as well be instrumental.

I'm not suggesting that immediately after Houses they changed their writing style. It just sounds to my ears like they utilized an approach for some songs where they worked on the music first, then Robert figured out what the song was going to be about afterward. I have no proof, it just sounds that way based on various things. Anyway, obviously they still did songs that told a musical story with lyrics as an integral part of things -- "Kashmir", "Ten Years Gone" all the way to "Fool in the Rain" and "I'm Gonna Crawl" -- so it wasn't a complete change. Just sounds like some of the songs on PG and Presence (and "In the Evening" on ITTOD) were done that way.
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Re: Ranking Led Zeppelin Studio Albums

Postby sloopjohnc » 30 Jan 2018, 16:43

Diamond Dog wrote:I do understand what you're saying, by the way - there was definitely a more 'sloppy' approach with some tracks from PG onwards. But I I think that maifested itself most on Presence, where stuff like "Nobody's Fault..." "Candy Store Rock" "Hots On For Nowhere" and (most certainly) "Royal Orleans" sound as though they were jammed in the studio, and embellished from a very basic framework. This was not something they generally did up until that point - there nearly always seemed to be a very strong kernel that was expounded on, rather than a very loose 'idea' that was jammed to completion.


Maybe that's why I like Presence so much - it sounds so improvised, yet focused. Led Zeppelin were different than most hard rock or metal bands like that is that they improvised on a whole 'nother level compared to other bands. There was a jazz element in their approach to hard rock that dated back to the Yardbirds days with Jimmy. Plant, Bonham and JPJ were probably the perfect musicians to complement Page's objectives in doing that. And talented enough to pull it off.

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Re: Ranking Led Zeppelin Studio Albums

Postby sloopjohnc » 30 Jan 2018, 16:46

Quaco wrote:"Kashmir", on the other hand, has drama and musical development, and the lyrics perfectly fit the music.


I think In My Time of Dying brings out the drama of Kashmir and utilizes Zeppelin's improvisational skills. Best of both worlds.

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Re: Ranking Led Zeppelin Studio Albums

Postby Hightea » 30 Jan 2018, 19:33

PG
P
3
4
1
2
HOTH

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Re: Ranking Led Zeppelin Studio Albums

Postby NMB » 30 Jan 2018, 20:29

PG
IV
III
ITTOD
HOTH
P
II
I
C

IITOD was the first I had so maybe that makes me like it more than most of you do.
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Re: Ranking Led Zeppelin Studio Albums

Postby ConnyOlivetti » 30 Jan 2018, 20:32

Interesting read so far...
Been skipping through the albums and the lack of bass/bottom on PG is really striking!
Brittle and lots of treble and middle freq
Strange to say the least.
Anyone agree?
Listening to the 2014 rem.
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Re: Ranking Led Zeppelin Studio Albums

Postby Diamond Dog » 30 Jan 2018, 20:33

I think most of the 14 Remasters have not met with very much approval.
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Re: Ranking Led Zeppelin Studio Albums

Postby ConnyOlivetti » 30 Jan 2018, 20:43

Diamond Dog wrote:I think most of the 14 Remasters have not met with very much approval.


In what way?
Sounds fine to me, and Im very hard to please, sound wise :-)
Would be interesting if you would like to elaborate?!
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Re: Ranking Led Zeppelin Studio Albums

Postby Matt Wilson » 30 Jan 2018, 20:45

ConnyOlivetti wrote:
Diamond Dog wrote:I think most of the 14 Remasters have not met with very much approval.


In what way?
Sounds fine to me, and Im very hard to please, sound wise :-)
Would be interesting if you would like to elaborate?!


Go to the Hoffman site for further elaboration.
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