Welcome to the 8th installment of my Led Zeppelin studio album reviews! These are tandem reviews with my amazing wife, Sarah who is posting her own over at Caught Me Gaming. So be sure to check out her write up on In Through The Out Door right here!
As for me, I can sum up In Through The Out Door like this:
John Paul Jones is back, baby!
As a Led Zeppelin Album: 4/5
Compared to the Rest: 4.5/5
Yeah, JPJ took command of the heavy blimp for this one. He is listed with the top writing credit on 6 of its 7 tracks. Hot Dog is the only Page/Plant contribution, which features Plant channeling his inner Elvis. It is a little fun but filler. So, bonus for John Paul.
In The Evening, Fool In The Rain, and All My Love became FM radio staples. Honestly, for me, In The Evening feels a little like a weaker track that you would find on Physical Graffiti. It’s not bad, but I have never found its hook all that interesting.
I like how different Fool in the Rain is. The bass and piano are on a 6-beat (both played by John Paul) while the drummer John Bonham is on a 4-beat. The samba-style breakdown with John Paul hammering it on the piano is out there too.
All My Love is a synth driven easy rocker. Page strums clean bar chords like it is a Motown song, then the synth and guitar go at it with solos. Good stuff.
South Bound Saurez is a bit of a straight up rocker, but not too heavy. A little forgettable, but still a good time. Page’s roaring solo is a throw back to the band’s earlier albums.
The hidden gem on this one is the opener for side 2, Carouselambra. It might not be for everyone as it reminds me of a deep cut from a Phil Collins Genesis album… and it is 10-plus minutes long! But I enjoy following John Paul’s sexy swingin’ bass and his funk on the keys. The bridge, the break down, it is all aces in my book. I’d have this one on the radio all of the time.
For the 2nd album in a row, Zep wraps it up with a slow bluesy number. I like I’m Gonna Crawl much better than Presence‘s rote Tea For One. This is as close in sound as Zep gets to their early selves with Page ripping another stand out solo and the synth being the only give away.
After their first two albums, Zep never stopped experimenting and In Through The Out Door is their least conventional album. And I find it to be their most interesting. I would have loved to see where they went from here.