Sound — 10
The debut album from what I consider the best band ever, Led Zeppelin changed the face of music when it was released. Nobody had ever heard the blues performed this loudly before. Each member of Led Zeppelin was highly influential, and this can even be seen on the first track, the short but sweet "Good Times Bad Times," where each member's talents are obvious from the start. The album is also diverse, containing three folk-styled tracks. "Babe I'm Gonna Leave You" was the first, but not the last, attempt at a folk/hard rock fusion by the band with some of Robert Plant's most heartfelt vocals to date (as well as the first example of the magic of Jimmy Page and Robert Plant together), "Your Time Is Gonna Come" has a catchy chorus and wonderful atmospheric keyboard intro by bassist/keyboardist John Paul Jones, and "Black Mountain Side" is a short, calming acoustic piece which is appropriately placed immediately after "Your Time Is Gonna Come". There are two covers of songs by the famous bluesman Willie Dixon, "You Shook Me" and "I Can't Quit You Baby." The former features an outstanding solo section, featuring Jones on the organ, singer Plant on harmonica, and Jimmy Page on guitar. The latter is probably the weakest song on the album, but is still a joy to listen to, due to Page's guitar work. "Communication Breakdown" is similar to "Good Times Bad Times," only with a more punk sound to it and one of Page's best solos. The remaining songs are the highlights here, along with "Babe I'm Gonna Leave You." "How Many More Times" is the longest song here, at 8 1/2 minutes, with an addictive riff, amazing fills by drummer John Bonham, and the use of Jimmy Page's famous violin bow on the guitar. However, the best song on the album is "Dazed And Confused," which has an amazing, yet simple riff, powerful vocals by Plant, great use of the violin bow in the middle section, and a blistering guitar solo. While not their most diverse album, Led Zeppelin is one of the most important albums of hard rock, one which changed the music industry forever. Their rendition of the blues spawned thousands of imitators and eventually resulted in the hard rock and metal of today.
Lyrics — 8
While not the best or most thought-provoking lyrics from Led Zeppelin, the lyrics on their debut album will suffice. Every song deals with women, but the theme never gets old or annoying, because each song presents a different mood. Also, this album sports some of Robert Plant's finest vocals. If the lyrics weren't sung with this much sincerity, songs like "Babe I'm Gonna Leave You" would fall flat on their face. This category gets points for Plant's vocals and the fact that the theme doesn't get old on the album, but it still loses a point for diversity.
Overall Impression — 10
This is one of the finest debuts I have ever seen. Led Zeppelin changed music forever with this album, and continued to impress the world throughout their 12-year career. Also, at this point the band members were relatively unknown, except for former Yardbirds guitarist Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones, who had previously worked as a session musician. This was a fine debut, and the group would only improve as time went on.