9:37 PM: Matthew's CD Collection, reviewed: Vol. 2

Led Zeppelin-Houses of the Holy

1973, Japanese

There is only one word to describe Led Zeppelin's most excessive, enigmatic album: Epic. From the 5 1/2 minute crescendo and cryptic lyrics of "The Song Remains the Same" to the perfect blues-metal fusion of "Over the Hills and Far Away" to one of Robert Plant's best vocal performances ever in "The Ocean," this album represents Led Zeppelin at it's finest, and most needlessly pretentious.
Houses of the Holy really is a difficult album to love. On one hand, you have Zeppelin classics like "Over the Hills and Far Away," "Dancing Days," and "The Song Remains the Same," but in between them you have such bland filler as "The Rain Song" (Led Zeppelin's worst song) and "No Quarter," possibly the most boring song about the apocalypse ever written. The most mediocre songs are also the longest, with the two worst songs on the album totaling 15 of the album's 41 minutes.
Those two songs can easily be skipped over, however, and if they are, you have one of the best albums of the 1973. "Over the Hills and Far Away," with lines such as "Many time I've lied-many times I've listened/Many time I've wondered how much there is to know," and one of the catchiest riffs in classic rock history, is probably Zep's best song ever. "Dancing Days" is also a highlight in Led Zeppelin's catalog, and helps to salvage the album.
Overall, this is not a classic album. It was hailed as a masterpiece when it was released way back in 1973, but it really hasn't held up well. Just like Led Zeppelin IV, this album has five killer tracks, and 3 songs of mediocre filler. It's still a good album, and probably worth buying, but definitely not Led Zeppelin's best album, as many people have claimed over the years.

Track List:
The Song Remains the Same
The Rain Song
Over the Hills and Far Away
The Crunge
Dancing Days
D'Yer Mak'er
No Quarter
The Ocean