Sound — 10
Holy cow there is no other album with a sound like this. Zep was still rooted in blues when they recorded this masterpiece. This also has to be one of the most diverse albums too. Heavy guitars, pounding drums, deep bass, screeching vocals to subtle mandolins, mellow acoustic guitars, and gentle vocals. Not to mention the impressive recording techniques that made the sound. Jimmy Page's guitars ranged from heavily distorted tones that were overdubbed so many times it could have ruined the tape all the way to beautiful finger picked acoustics. Not to mention his solos. Stairway To Heaven solo was probably the best of all time. The mandolin performances were awesome. The Battle of Evermore had dual mandolins played by John Paul Jones and Jimmy Page, and Going To California with guitar and mandolins. John Bonham's booming drums accompanied the heavier songs. The drum sound on When the Levee Breaks was recorded with Bonham playing at the bottom of a stairwell and the microphone 3 stories above. No other person has been able to reproduce this drum sound. JPJ's basslines are pretty much shadowed by the guitars, but great nonetheless. His overdubbed recorders added a Celtic folk feeling to Stairway. Overall, you can hear hard rock, rock and roll, folk, and acoustic tones on this amazing album.
Lyrics — 10
Typical Led Zeppelin. Most of the stuff has to do with mystical figures and times. This led many people to believe that the lyrics of Stairway to Heaven played backwards contained Satanic messages. I personally believe it's a load of BS. Some songs are different though, like Black Dog and Rock and Roll have more straight forward themes. It seems that the "mystical" songs have slower music that has a more depressing tune, with the exception of Misty Mountain Hop. The lyrics were well written though, and I think that the Page-Plant team could be up there with Lennon-McCartney and Jagger-Richards.
Overall Impression — 10
Many lists and polls rate this the best album of all times. I totally agree with them. It is the turning point in Led Zeppelin's career when they became less blues influenced and became much heavier. The centerpiece of the album is Stairway to Heaven. It is my personal favorite alongside Black Dog, Rock And Roll, and Going To California. You will immediatly fall in love with this album as I did (I was very young too). There is virtually nothing to hate, unless you don't like longer songs. If someone stole this, I'd feel really bad because someone let me borrow this CD and I haven't given it back yet (don't worry he said take as long as I want). I'm definetly get this once I give it back.