Sound — 10
Few other bands set rock n' roll standards as high as Led Zeppelin did. Their first two albums, considered by many to be some of the greatest rock n' roll albums of all time, helped make rock music harder and heavier. Then you had Led Zeppelin III, which combined their bluesy hard rock sound with a more experimental sound. While it wasn't considered a classic when it was first released, time has definitely been kind to it and is now regarded as one of their best works. And then, about a year after III was released, the great and almighty Zeppelin gave us their fourth album; some call it "their fourth album and that's it", the "four symbols" album, or just "Led Zeppelin IV". However, the album also bears a title that most Zeppelin fan will nod their in agreement: their best work. If I could end this portion of my review with "Stairway To Heaven", I definitely could. It is truly one of the greatest songs ever created; soft folk-inspired guitar work that eventually progresses with a loud, catchy rock n' roll melody that only Zeppelin could perfect. In fact, most of the album is like that. The sound ranges from soft folk songs like "Going To California" and "Battle Of Evermore" to good ol' fashioned rock n' roll songs like "Black Dog" and "Rock & Roll". All of this shows that Zeppelin grew and matured as a band since their previous couple of albums; no longer are we just hearing blues-rock songs about women and sex, but we're also hearing the more beautiful side of rock n' roll filled with fantasy and love balanced with cigarette lighter-waving melodies.
Lyrics — 9
Once again, if I could get away with just writing "Stairway To Heaven", I would. Both the lyrics and singing just work so well together. The lyrics to "Stairway To Heaven" bring a tear to one eye while Robert Plant's vocals bring a tear to another. No surprise here, but Robert Plant's lyrics and vocals actually work on every single song on here so well that it almost hurts. They are playful and wild in songs like "Black Dog" and "Rock And Roll" while being soft and majestic in songs like "Stairway To Heaven" and "Going To California". Sometimes it's a combination of both, like it is in "Misty Mountain Hop". Either way you look at it, the vocals are great to listen to and the lyrics are interesting to read.
Overall Impression — 10
Most music critics wouldn't dare to put Led Zeppelin IV among The Beatles' "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club" or the Beach Boys' "Pet Sounds", especially on a Top Twenty Greatest Albums List. While I will admit that Led Zeppelin IV is not the greatest album of all time, it definitely ranks among them. It was relevant when it first came out and it has remained relevant throughout the years...and will remain relevant for years to come.