Led Zeppelin II Review

By Rachel Brown
224The transition from the late 1960’s to the early 70’s was not a subtle one, at least not for rock n’ roll. The era of The Beatles was over, and the world was anxious to embrace the raw power of another musical phenomenon. But just exactly who would that power be? What band could possibly carry on the four mop tops’ legacy while still producing their own, new sound? The answer came in the form of another quartet, but while Led Zeppelin’s first release is certainly noteworthy, it wasn’t until Led Zeppelin II that the band began to come into its own. The proof was in the record sales. Led Zeppelin II instantly shot to the top of the charts, knocking The Beatles’ infamous Abbey Road from its number one position, and so, in many ways, this record symbolizes not only the commencement of a singular rock group but the commencement of an entirely new decade of music.

The album begins with all the audacity of a solid rock record. It is bold, brash, and sinuously raw. Robert Plant’s raspy groans and breathless shrieks in “Whole Lotta Love” are deliciously sinful, awakening the senses for a rock n’ roll ride unlike any other. From the very first chord, it is evident that this band is here to stay, to seal its mark on music history forever. Jimmy Page’s guitar plays the prophet, proclaiming the good news of great joy for all people: rock n’ roll is not dead.

Led Zeppelin II is filled with numerous twists and turns, ups and downs, not only from song to song but within each piece as well, “What Is and What Should Never Be”, “The Lemon Song”, and “Bring It On Home” just to name a few. Each of these tunes begins relatively slow then suddenly breaks out into a feral jam, uncontainable and raucous, as if it is the band’s very intention to offend certain members of their audience, as certainly some would be. But for those brave enough to chart Led Zeppelin’s waters, the record is a powerful compendium of raunchy thrills and guilty pleasures.

In addition to the upbeat “Living Loving Maid” and the iconic “Heartbreaker”, Zeppelin even ventures into the progressive realm with the instrumental “Moby Dick”, which includes a good three-minute drum solo, highlighting John Bonham’s notable dexterity. The most soulful selection on the album, however, is arguably “Thank You”, in which Plant’s vocals soar as high as the sun he dares to stop shining. Much like “The Rain Song” on Houses of the Holy, the heart of the album seems to reside here, reaching a tender climax after several songs of foreplay.

Led Zeppelin II is a gritty tribute to rock n’ roll that encompasses every aspect of the riotous genre. On this album’s coattails, Led Zeppelin sailed into the musical spotlight, kicking off the 1970’s with a vehement bang. Whenever you’re in the mood for a powerful guitar riff or a hair-raising warble, dust off this gem and place it on your turntable. It will deliver all it promises and much more.