Sound — 10
Released in 1979, In Through the Out Door was Led Zeppelin's last album together; and boy, what a way to go out with a bang. Though many people disregard this album, it is in my opinion one of their best, if not their all-time best. Physical Graffiti was really good too, but In Through the Out Door is such an incredible feat of music, it's unbelievable. For just 7 songs, the album really delivers. 6 out of the 7 were written or co-written by the band's bassist, John Paul Jones. There are two main reasons for this. Robert Plant and John Bonham had become close friends at the time, and they would usually go and hang out together, leaving Jimmy Page and JPJ alone to write. On top of that, though, at the time Page had become a terrible drug addict, and would usually be too out of his mind to contribute or would just not show up for sessions. So Jones was by himself a lot of the time, doing most of the writing. And though it's terrible that the band members were having problems with each other at the time, In Through the Out Door is the good that came out of it, because for the first time, we really get to see JPJ's genius. Almost makes you question if they should've let Jones write more often!
Lyrics — 10
Since JPJ wrote the bulk of the songs, the lyrics take on a different perspective than the usual Page/Plant style. The song content is usually a bit more personal, and it's certainly a touching album. The only song that Jones did not contribute to would be the widely disliked "Hot Dog," which takes on a square dance/southern style, and is generally just goofy. I personally like the song, but it's not a Zep masterpiece by any means. For the most part, the lyrics on this album are incredible. I tend to think that Physical Graffiti has better lyrics overall, but In Through the Out Door certainly has its moments, and for that I think the lyrics deserve a 10.
Overall Impression — 10
I wouldn't suggest getting this album unless you're a huge, huge Zeppelin fan and you have most of the band's other albums. I first heard the album back when I had only previously heard their first 4 albums, and to be honest, I hated it. But the album is definitely a worthy addition to your Zeppelin collection if you're willing to give it a shot. I did, and it was one of the smartest things I've ever done.