Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

Consumer Guide:
  User's Guide
  Grades 1990-
  Grades 1969-89
  Expert Witness
Books:
  Is It Still Good to Ya?
  Going Into the City
  Consumer Guide: 90s
  Grown Up All Wrong
  Consumer Guide: 80s
  Consumer Guide: 70s
  Any Old Way You Choose It
  Don't Stop 'til You Get Enough
Xgau Sez
Writings:
  CG Columns
  Rock&Roll& [new]
  Rock&Roll& [old]
  Music Essays
  Music Reviews
  Book Reviews
  NAJP Blog
  Playboy
  Blender
  Rolling Stone
  Billboard
  Video Reviews
  Pazz & Jop
  Recyclables
  Newsprint
  Lists
  Miscellany
Bibliography
NPR
Web Site:
  Home
  Site Map
  What's New?
Carola Dibbell:
  Carola's Website
  Archive
Venues:
  Noisey
CG Search:
Google Search:
Twitter:

Consumer Guide Album

Led Zeppelin: Led Zeppelin IV [Atlantic, 1971]
More even than "Rock and Roll," which led me into the rest of the record (whose real title, as all adepts know, is signified by runes no Underwood can reproduce) months after I'd stupidly dismissed it, or "Stairway to Heaven," the platinum-plated album cut, I think the triumph here is "When the Levee Breaks." As if by sorcery, the quasi-parodic overstatement and oddly cerebral mood of Led Zep's blues recastings is at once transcended (that is, this really sounds like a blues), and apotheosized (that is, it has the grandeur of a symphonic crescendo) while John Bonham, as ham-handed as ever, pounds out a contrapuntal tattoo of heavy rhythm. As always, the band's medievalisms have their limits, but this is the definitive Led Zeppelin and hence heavy metal album. It proves that both are--or can be--very much a part of "Rock and Roll." A