Saturday, June 04, 2005

Robert Plant: Mighty Rearranger

I like this album. It's Robert Plant, the guy from Led Zeppelin!! This is important to note as a lot of this new CD sounds like Zeppelin, which is totally acceptable. Robert Plant is allowed to sound like his former pioneering supergroup. People like David Coverdale (Whitesnake) and Billy Squier are not. It's okay to be derivitive of yourself.

Before I get too deep, and to build a little credibility, I should state my affiliation, I am only an occasional Led Zeppelin fan. I typically tune out when "Black Dog" or "Ramble On" come on, staying only for deeper cuts like "Hot Dog" or "Thank You." So you see that I'm not a "golden god" shill. Hopefully, you'll take my opinions as objectively as I mean to communicate them.

The album has 12 tracks, 11 of which are actual songs. The final track on the album "Brother Ray" sounds like a studio outtake, included on the album as an homage to the late Ray Charles. That's just a guess, by the way. Please correct me if you have the real story.

Of the 11 tracks, I can honestly say I really like nine of them. Now I'm not saying this is the greatest album of all time, or even of the year for that matter. I would say that this is real rock, and not just some old guy trying to relive his glory days. The songs are strong, both lyrically and musically. Plant's band is top-notch, which is probably why they receive artist billing (Robert Plant and the Strange Sensation).

I've selected two songs that deserve praise AND laud. Take a listen to the soundclips on your favorite CD vendor's website:
  1. "Shine it all Around" - This is a fun song with a cool bass line and a catchy riff. The positive lyrics don't hurt either. I guess you could say it's "radio friendly," if there is still a place on radio for guys like Robert Plant (don't get me started on that).
  2. "All the King's Horses" - This is my favorite song on the album, and the most simple. It's just Plant and a couple of guitars (maybe a keyboard effect here and there). It has kind of a "Going to California" vibe, but it's a little more mellow. This song is a must for one of those "chill-out" mixes.
As I implied earlier by my statement about the number of tunes I dug, the real strength of this CD is that it's strong all the way through. Sure, there are weaker songs. But those songs are always surrounded by stonger ones. This is a great album to play straight through. Programming is really not necessary.

If you consider yourself a Zeppelin fan or even a fan of the dying art of album oriented rock, I suggest you pick this one up. In a time when artists from our past continue to put out sub-standard music with no remorse (Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney), it's nice to see one of the greatest vocalists of the rock era cares enough to release a whole album full of quality material.

Rating: Buy it

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