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Archive for February, 2011|Monthly archive page

#149 – Houses of the Holy (Led Zeppelin)

In 150-125, Top 150 on February 7, 2011 at 10:51 am

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve listened to one of the albums, so here I am, back at it…my ultimate music “education”, I guess you could call it.

Number ONE FORTY EIGHT, ladies and gentleman, is none other than Houses of the Holy, Led Zeppelin‘s 1973 release, and their fifth studio album.

Cover of Houses of the Holy (Led Zeppelin, 1973).

At first when I listened to Houses of the Holy, which was only a few days ago, I didn’t like it. Mind you, I was also pre-occupied with something else at the time. It just sounded like annoying classic-rock background noise that had too many fills and was sounded chaotic. If you’re a Zeppelin fan, DON’T FREAK OUT. I am here to tell you that my opinion has totally changed. When I started to listen to this album, I also stopped after 2 tracks (maybe even one and a half). Now, I’m sitting listening to the album with full dedication (how thoughtful of me).

Again, it was released as a two-sided LP:

Side One

  1. The Song Remains The Same
  2. The Rain Song
  3. Over the Hills and Far Away
  4. The Crunge

Side Two

  1. Dancing Days
  2. D’yer Mak’er
  3. No Quarter
  4. The Ocean

I’m four tracks in (listening to “The Crunge”) and I guess, at the end of Side One of the original LP. What I’m loving right now (aside from the really groovy guitar riffs on this track) is the variety of sounds on this album so far. From my understanding, this album is pretty experimental for Led Zeppelin, particularly with the use of new synth sounds and a mellotron. I just learned this, but a mellotron was basically like a synth in the early days. It had pre-recorded magnetic tape strips inside and had two keyboards side by side. The keys on the left were for lead intstruments such as strings, piano, etc., and the keys on the right would play the pre-recorded rhythm tracks. Very cool!

The album is so diverse! I’m really suprised. I don’t really know what I expected from Led Zeppelin, to be honest. And I have to admit, I’ve never, not once, listened to Led Zeppelin and known that I was listening to Led Zeppelin (I’ve said “Led Zeppelin” so many times in the past two sentences). So far I don’t recognize any of the tracks, although I really like them. But it’s true, I’ve never knowingly listened to any of the band’s music, and as a result, I didn’t really know what to expect from this album. And I’m pleasantly surprised!

Amazing. I now recognize “D’er Mak’er”, big time. The reggae-sound that supports this track is a nice breath of fresh air after the layered guitar riffs earlier on the album. It’s a great hybrid of a rock-blues-reggae. I dig it.

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I decided to save this post after I wrote the section above and listen to the album a few more times before I finished writing, and now I’m back at it. This album kicks ass. I feel stupid that I didn’t like it before, because now, I love it. The tracks are amazing and each is unique. There are influences of jazz and blues, mixed with reggae and more classic rock riffs. This album gets me going, and makes me want to drive my car with the windows down on a windy Summer road…maybe the shore road in Jeju?

If you’ve never listened to this album in its entirety, DO IT NOW. You’ll love it.

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