Sunday, November 18, 2007

Led Zep(again)

I have been so engrossed in watching and listening to the re-released version of Led Zeppelin's "The Song Remains The Same" over the past few weeks that I've not even listened to my review copy of "Mothership." I'd assumed that the mixes were exactly the same as the 1990 Remasters. After reading this fascinating article in The Times about how the songs have been overhauled yet again, I can't wait to listen to it. And if that isn't enough of a recommendation, here's Dave Grohl's take on it.

The reissue of "The Song Remains the Same" has accomplished the impossible: It has turned a once average album into a sonic delight. Prior to now it was an album I seldom listened to (apart from the occasional dip into my favorite version of "No Quarter") but I am impressed with the sound of the reissue as well as the premium-grade new tracks. I haven't done a comparison with the original, but I don't remember it having as much detail and nuance and vibrancy. It sounds like an entirely different record now.

The new additions are great. I'm not a fan of most live versions of "Over the Hills and Far Away" because of the way that Robert Plant sings the chorus in a different key from the original but, that said, Jimmy Page's guitar solo will tie air guitarists' fingers into knots (interesting to compare this improvized solo with the different, shorter, one from another night that appears in the movie). "Since I've Been Loving You," which is on the DVD, is an incredible version – one of the best Zep performances ever. And "The Ocean," with a riff that could split the atom, even surpasses the studio recording in terms of swagger and sheer manic nirvana. Fantastic fluid solo by Jimmy in "Heartbreaker," too.

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