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Led Zeppelin
14 April 2020
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Beatlebug
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Honestly, I could literally make the case for any Zeppelin album being my absolute favorite of all time (except maybe Coda, which kinda doesn't count), so I'm not even gonna attempt a ranking... ahdn_george_06

Robert sounds a little more strained on Presence but it's not that noticeable and I think it works rather well – vonbontee put it best. Also, I think the rhythm section on the album is tighter and more advanced than any other Zeppelin LP before or after, and considering how tight and groovy JPJ and Bonzo always were, that's saying something. It's like "Trampled Under Foot" from PG, but a whole album's worth. paul-mccartney-thumb_gif

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14 April 2020
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I'll think about mine and I'll post it, it's a really exciting band for a ranking. Whenever someone ranks Zeppelin someone else always gets mad, it's real fun.

And I'm no stranger to polarizing rankingsa-hard-days-night-john-6

Well, my LZ ranking is actually quite cliché, but stilla-hard-days-night-john-6a-hard-days-night-john-6a-hard-days-night-john-6a-hard-days-night-john-6a-hard-days-night-john-6a-hard-days-night-john-6a-hard-days-night-john-6a-hard-days-night-john-6a-hard-days-night-john-6a-hard-days-night-john-6

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14 April 2020
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Beatlebug said
^Which problems?

Robert isn't in top form, to be sure, but after 20 listens I quickly forgot about that...

It's been a long time since I heard it, but I remember a few things ticking me off when I did. In particular, there's one track, though I can't remember which one, which has this whole start-stop dynamic going on that I found rather irritating, and the absence of more varied compositional styles didn't sit well with me. Still enjoyable, though, particularly 'Archilles'..

In regards to rankings, I'm supposed to be doing an essay right now but oh well. I expect you all to be very mad at me. 

(Not counting CODA as I'm not that familiar with it and don't really consider it a proper album)

8. In Through The Out Door - Sort of foreshadowing the "it's the eighties and all elder statesman of rock suck now" trend, it's Led Zep - with synths! Goes from some of my favourite ever of their tracks ('Fool In The Rain ', 'All My Love') to other tracks which you couldn't pay me to sit through ('Hot Dog', I'm looking at you). 

7. Presence - Their most loud and in your face album, but to me also their most uninspired. Worth it if just for 'Archilles', though, as I've said.

6. III - Contains some of their most gorgeous folk songs, and also the tremendously epic 'Since I've Been Loving You'. Not bad by any means, but not impactful enough to get higher on the list. 

5. Physical Graffiti - Sort of their White Album equivalent, this one contains so many different masterpiece songs, but ultimately I find it to be overlong, and to me it doesn't flow very well. 

3/4. I/II - I'm writing my descriptions of these two together as I find them to be excellent but flawed in ways equal and opposite, so to me it doesn't really matter which one is ranked more highly. My problem with I is that while almost every song is based on an amazing and captivating idea/riff/melody at their core, the execution is too often sloppy, self indulgent and bloated. My problem with II is that even though it reverses that trend, and is altogether much more airtight, I don't find the songs themselves to be nearly as interesting. 

2. Houses of the Holy - Their most varied and unusual album, it contains my favourite song of theirs ('The Rain Song') as well as multiple other classics, like 'Over The Hills', psychedelic epic 'No Quarter', and the dazzling opener 'The Song Remains The Same'. Can't say I'm a big fan of 'The Crunge', though. 

1. IV - This one is the obvious pick, but it's the first LP I ever bought, and to me it remains their perfect work. It has everything I want in a LZ album - rock songs that tear the house down, electrified reimagining of the blues, gorgeous ballads, interesting experiments, and of course the always amazing 'Stairway To Heaven'. I particularly like that this one isn't bloated like I find many of their others to be - every song fits in so nicely and none of them outstay their welcome. 

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14 April 2020
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My ranking:

9. Coda

8. Led Zeppelin II

7. Led Zeppelin 

6. In Through The Out Door

5. ZoSo

4. Led Zeppelin III

3. Houses Of The Holy

2. Presence

1. Physical Graffiti 

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14 April 2020
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9. In Through the Out Door

8. Coda

7. Presence

6. III

5. IV

4. Led Zeppelin

3. Houses of the Holy

2. II

1. Physical Graffiti

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14 April 2020
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They are very tight, and opinions could change over time, obviously. I myself got surprised at how my ranking turned out.

8) In Through the Out Door - well yeah. it's sort of a let down. but keep in mind the compositional powers of the band still feel present. John Paul John's keyboards add a lot of personality to the record, the problem is, that personality can't beat the personality the rest of the albums had. Fool in the Rain , All of My Love are quite decent, and the flow of the album would be fine if it wasn't for Carouselambra, that feels more like a brick wall in the middle of the tracklist than an actual part of the album. kind of easy to enjoy otherwise. 6/10

7) Presence - this two will ever be down here. and the reason is there isn't as much iconic material as one expects there to be on a Zeppelin record. Achilles Last Stand is in fact the best song on here, and honestly, being the opener, it creates expectation never met in the rest of the album. I still maintain it's underrated, and most people would love it if they put their pre-conceptions aside, but this is the Led Zeppelin discography, Presence just can't be ranked much higher. weak closer too. 7/10

6) Led Zeppelin - kind of a double-edge sword. the biggest reason why I rank this below the rest is because of the unoriginality this album puzzles so many people with. I myself have defended Zeppelin when it comes to plagiarism allegations, and I still do, but, being honest with myself, I feel more comfortable when I don't even have to do that. Page and Plant were fantastic bluesmen, that could take any obscure folk song and turn it into a hard rock opera, which they in fact do very well in this album, but sometimes it is kind of obvious that they are trying to variate too much to cover whatever they stole, which is way better than if they didn't, mind you, but sometimes they oversell it, like in the track How Many More Times. do I like this track? yes, I do, but I notice that the break in the middle is just a distraction from the original source the song was built upon. You Shook Me, Dazed and Confused and Babe I'm Gonna Leave You commit the same crime. still though, this album is a unique debut, you will hear few bands as confident and flamboyant as the guys are on their first album. since the first second of Good Times Bad Times you know this guys are gonna go big. 7/10

5) Led Zeppelin III - this is the point were you notice they started to get more serious about experimenting and covering new ground. they would do so much better on Houses of the Holy, but III has its moments. like the track Tangerine, which is a fantastic acoustic ballad from Page's hand. there's a lot of acoustic stuff in this album actually. it is probably their most folky record. stuff like Gallows Pole impresses me a lot, with its dubbed vocals, or Friends, with those scary string sections, really cool. I would critique the fact that if you're gonna start with a track as powerful as Immigrant Song, which is a high bar to reach, ending off on a track as psychedelic and experimental as Hats off To (Roy) Harper is a big risk. some people dig it, I don't. but the album overall is a nice touch of experimentation that was previously missing and it gives this album a unique personality as well. I respect that. 7/10

4) Led Zeppelin II - whatever problems the first album had, this one knocked it out of the park. you can really feel how they grow confident as songwriters and performers, if they weren't incredible already. this is one of their better flowing albums. read the tracklist. there isn't a single song that you don't know the main riff to. sure, I don't like them all equally, but I know them all. that's gotta mean something. Heartbreaker, The Lemon Song, Whole Lotta Love, Living Loving Maid, come on. Moby Dick has one of John Bonham's best moments, Ramble On is one of their best hooks of all time, What Is and What Should Never Be is the perfect combination of hard rock and smooth jazz and Thank You (probably my favourite track) is their first proper ballad, and it goes incredibly well. the only track I could do without is the closer, other than that is a perfectly solid record. 9/10

3) Physical Graffiti - a lot of people say its length harms it. I don't know if I fully agree, but I get their point. I just have to say, some of the best, most epic Led Zeppelin compositions land on here. no song on the debut is as good as Kashmir, no song on III is as good as Ten Years Gone. In My Time of Dying and In the Light are songs that have such beautiful structures, they are not 8 minutes long just because. they are truly thought-out, and meticulously crafted tracks, however long they want to be. Custard Pie is one of my favourite openers. also Houses of the Holy, Down by the Seaside, this thing is loaded with 1970s rock and roll classics, polished to the very core, performed with nothing but heart, and written with nothing but strength. what makes it not a contender for their best album is Side D, which is still is solid, but it is a testament for the load the album carries. @QuarryMan said it's like their White Album , well to me, it's quite different. the White Album at least had fantastic tracks scattered through the album, this one has all the masterpieces on the first three blocks, and then all the leftovers on the back end. it really improves the enjoyability factor of Sides A, B & C, but it creates a dilemma when it comes to finishing the album. the closer doesn't even feel like one. should we shame this album for it? I don't know, the riff in In My Time of Dying alone forgives any sin there could even be at this point. how could you get angry at an album that, on shuffle, is one of the best listens of your life? 9/10

2) Led Zeppelin IV - tight tight tight. oh, how much material there is to praise on here. every song on this album is either a favourite of mine, or a favourite of the public. Black Dog is probably their best opener from any album, and the expectations are met pretty quickly with the following track Rock and Roll, another headbanger. this thing also features the two best acoustic pieces Led Zeppelin has ever put out, Going to California and The Battle of Evermore. both completely different acoustic songs with a different feel to them. Led Zeppelin III had more acoustic songs, but they all sounded more similar between each other way more than the two featured on here. and for those who like more chill rock and roll, there's Four Sticks and Misty Mountain Hop, two perfectly hard, palpable rock tunes, that don't affect any part of the listening experience at all, they improve on it a great deal actually, I wouldn't be surprised if any of this two tracks are someones favourite, everything goes with this album. When the Levee Breaks is not particularly my cup of tea but damn if it isn't a proper closer. just how hard the riff goes down. those are 7 of the 8 track I mentioned, all perfectly excellent. just with these alone the album is a masterpiece, now, do you know what track I didn't mention? yeah, precisely. 10/10

1) Houses of the Holy - IV is more of a general pick, I'm fine with it being number one for most people, it is almost irrefutable. Houses of the Holy is more of a personal choice. The Rain Song is one of my favourite ballads of all time, the progression of that track is magnificent. The Song Remains the Same opens the album wonderfully and The Ocean is a banger of no scale measurable to close it, with multiple section to blow your head off if your it wasn't properly blown yet. and seriously, the people who hate on The Crunge and D'yer Mak'er are just that, haters. those tracks are fine as hell. maybe it's just me but I think they pull of reggae better than most reggae artists. I have no words to describe Over the Hills and Far Away either, is just another classic from the band. the experimentation flooding this album makes it feel more realized than IV, which is a polished version of the previous three albums. I will agree the worst tracks on this album are worst than the worst tracks on IV, but the best tracks on here, particularly No Quarter and The Rain Song, are better and more creative than most of the stuff they ever did. the listening experience of this album is different from the rest of the Led Zeppelin albums, in the best way possible. 10/10

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14 April 2020
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Oh, FINE (peer pressure is a helluva drug)

I don't count Coda but if I did it'd be at the bottom

8) II - a good album with good songs (I have an especial fondness for "What Is and What Should Never Be"), but transitional between periods for sure and a bit poppier; being less cohesive, I put it last (only with pain). a-hard-days-night-paul-10

7) Presence - an incredibly groovalicious album, but there's that edge to it that means I have to be in a certain mood for it. There's a darkness underlying even its most superficially shiny and shimmery-Strat-coated moments.

6) In Through the Out Door - I do like this one, more than most I'd say, but there's something missing from it -- spirit, I think -- that makes it not quite a classic Zeppelin album. It sounds to me like laughter to hide tears, which becomes apparent on "All My Love".

5) I - More a mission statement than an album. Absolutely whacking debut, possibly the best I've ever heard. Solid from start to finish. Hello, world!

4) IV - I know everyone loves this one and I do too, but I don't have quite the sentimental personal attachment to it as the following three. It's too solid and too much a crystallization of everything before and after to put lower, but that's mostly intellectual appreciation.

3) III - When I initially listened to all the albums, this was the first one I "got" right away. Side one is a perfectly flowing, driving bullet from "Immigrant Song" (a freight train of a song) to the absolutely peerless "Since I've Been Loving You" (which I didn't get until I listened to it in the dark and my brain M e l t e d - description somewhere upthread of that experience [ETA: here it is], I think it might be the single best showpiece of what Zeppelin is and should always be [see what I did there? a-hard-days-night-george-10]) to the acoustic side 2, which I adore because I love acoustic Zeppelin and it also flows so perfectly. Something in me is deeply satisfied by the neatly organized and perfectly sequenced side divisions. It also helps that I have it on vinyl and so the side division is enhanced and I play with the spinny wheel while I listen like the overgrown child that I am ahdn_john_08_gif

2) Physical Graffiti - There's just so much staggeringly good material on this album it blows my mind. If I had to pick 1 to take on a desert island, this would be a logical choice*, although after "Night Flight" (which I adore, don't @tt me) I could probably leave it -- it's got its moments but after the first three sides, side 4 is underwhelming. Though I do adore Robert's double-tracked giggle on "Boogie With Stu". a-hard-days-night-george-9

1) Houses of the Holy - Led Zeppelin's Revolver . Enough said.

Honestly the top 3 are essentially interchangeable and may be replaced by any of the others depending on what mood I've been in lately.

Wow, I'm surprised, I thought I liked the bottom three more than that... and I do, just not more than the other albums a-hard-days-night-paul-7 this is why I hate rankings ahdn_paul_01

*if it's a tropical island, I'm gonna want HOTH. Gimme that D'yer Mak'er for all your island bop needs! ahdn_john_08_gif

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14 April 2020
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Beatlebug said
Side one is a perfectly flowing, driving bullet from "Immigrant Song" (a freight train of a song)

Well damn me if that isn't the best description I've ever heard for Immigrant Song.

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14 April 2020
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Just stating facts. a-hard-days-night-george-4

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14 April 2020
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Great stuff on this page...glad you guys are doing all the deep thoughts and heavy writing because I'm lazy! Imma go chronological... It's an internal ranking, keep in mind, so even a 6/10 Led Zeppelin album is still among the finest 12inchers ever pressed. And any album with 8/10 or higher is as liable as any to be my favourite depending on the day (but we all say that always don't we...)

1. LZ - It may be just the many attention-grabbing segues and crossfades here, but I really think this is Zeppelin's best-sequenced album. (And a passing-out-under-headphones classic.) Each side attacks and retreats a bit, building to a side-closing epic which itself takes many twists and turns. All throughout, layers of post-psychedelic guitar do battle with thunderous Ludwigs and that freaky voice. A bit too much blooze and triplet time for my nitpicky liking, but still the best rock debut since 1967, a lifetime  previous. 8.5/10

2. LZ II - There was a time when this was regarded by many (including myself) as the finest heavy metal album ever. Now, the unaccompanied solos feel like wastes of time; that and the lazy borrowings from the Howlin' Wolf and Willie Dixon songbook demonstrate an album recorded piecemeal in a variety of studios. The overall impression is a bit shabby and second-rate, but not without some startling moments, in particular the middle sections of "Whole Lotta Love", "Lemon Song" and "Bring It On Home".  7.0/10

3. LZ III - Such a warm, homey album! Butterflies and cobs of corn and balloons on the cover, Percy singing about his dog, Bonzo clapping castenets, Pagey trying a banjo, Jonesy playing LEAD BASS through most of side one...Zeppelin try so many things here, for the first and only time they require a full 10 track album to say all they want to say. Their music, previously black and white and infinite greys (with a touch of green) has suddenly become full technicolour, and the splatterific cover concept reflects all 360 degrees. Just wish they'd chosen a better closer than "Hats Off To Harper".  9/10

that's all for now...vonbontee will finish later!

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14 April 2020
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I love and agree wholeheartedly with your analysis of LZ III, VB, especially the bit about colors ahdn_john_08_gif though I'd argue that LZII has rays of gold as well as green breaking through from time to time (mostly the more acoustic/balladsy tracks) (but I still kinda agree that it's a bit patchy, even though as a guitarist I love Pagey's self-indulgent soloing).

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14 April 2020
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1 - Houses of the Holy

2 - LZ II

3. Led Zeppelin

4. - Physical Graffiti 

5. LZ III

6. LZ IV

7. Presence

8. In Through The Out Door

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14 April 2020
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Y'all, I'm gonna have to go on a Zeppathon again after all this Zepp canon comparison. paul-mccartney

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15 April 2020
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Von Bontee said

Great stuff on this page...glad you guys are doing all the deep thoughts and heavy writing because I'm lazy! Imma go chronological... It's an internal ranking, keep in mind, so even a 6/10 Led Zeppelin album is still among the finest 12inchers ever pressed. And any album with 8/10 or higher is as liable as any to be my favourite depending on the day (but we all say that always don't we...)

 

1. LZ - It may be just the many attention-grabbing segues and crossfades here, but I really think this is Zeppelin's best-sequenced album. (And a passing-out-under-headphones classic.) Each side attacks and retreats a bit, building to a side-closing epic which itself takes many twists and turns. All throughout, layers of post-psychedelic guitar do battle with thunderous Ludwigs and that freaky voice. A bit too much blooze and triplet time for my nitpicky liking, but still the best rock debut since 1967, a lifetime  previous. 8.5/10

 

2. LZ II - There was a time when this was regarded by many (including myself) as the finest heavy metal album ever. Now, the unaccompanied solos feel like wastes of time; that and the lazy borrowings from the Howlin' Wolf and Willie Dixon songbook demonstrate an album recorded piecemeal in a variety of studios. The overall impression is a bit shabby and second-rate, but not without some startling moments, in particular the middle sections of "Whole Lotta Love", "Lemon Song" and "Bring It On Home".  7.0/10

 

3. LZ III - Such a warm, homey album! Butterflies and cobs of corn and balloons on the cover, Percy singing about his dog, Bonzo clapping castenets, Pagey trying a banjo, Jonesy playing LEAD BASS through most of side one...Zeppelin try so many things here that, for the first and only time, they require a full 10 track album to say all they want to say. Their music, previously black and white and infinite greys (with a touch of green) has suddenly become full technicolour, and the splatterific cover concept reflects all 360 degrees. Just wish they'd chosen a better closer than "Hats Off To Harper".  9.5/10

that's all for now...vonbontee will finish later!

  

4. [untitled] - Eight monoliths of sound. What can I say? The Sandy Denny guest vocal, the thunderous psychedelia of "Levee", that "Stairway" solo, the nods to Joni and Little Richard and "The Stroll", Percy gettin' hassled by THE MAN and splitting to the Misty Mountains...I can't even, this album is beyond criticism. Beyond mine, anyways. 10/10

5. HOTH - Eight more monoliths of sound, and again I'm nearly speechless. Well, nearly. "Rain Song" is a triumph, with its drumming from John Bonham that's not unlike Ringo's "Day In The Life" work, but it's out of place as Track 2. And "D'yer Maker" is a silly joke that wears thin. But "The Crunge" is a silly joke that's still funny, and funky. And Robert Plant giving his biggest fan a shoutout in "The Ocean" (she's 3-year old Carmen Plant) is too adorable for words. heart 9/10

6. PG - Led Zeppelin strrrettttchhhh out here, two full vinyl albums full of epics, with the four biggies averaging nearly nine minutes. Inspired by Stevie Wonder's "Superstition", JPJ adds the Hohner Clavinet to his arsenal on several tracks. There's a certain long-windedness here, but tornadoes are windy too. 9/10

7. P - Zero (of seven) tracks with keyboards here; songs are all claustrophobic and hard-edged, with slashing rhythms sliced-and-diced at cross-angles. Very few hummable tunes here. 9.0/10

8. ITTOD - Seven (of seven) tracks with keyboards here; Jonesey's got himself a brand new Yamaha synthesizer, and overuses it here and there. Jimmy Page kinda recedes here, but still contributes some new guitar textures to "Fool In The Rain " and the otherwise dull "In The Evening". 7/10

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15 April 2020
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Good to see all the love for Houses of the Holy here. I was under the impression it was going to rank much lower on most people's lists.

My LZ hot take for today is that 'Whole Lotta Love' is absurdly overrated. It's got a cool riff, and the solo after the breakdown is pretty neat, but overall there's barely any substance to it, and the lyrics are terrible. I think that whole style of straight forward hard rock was done so much better earlier that year on 'Communication Breakdown' with its proto-punk riff and manic solo. WLL's not terrible, but I cannot fathom why it consistently makes the top reaches of people's rankings, especially when there are songs like 'Ten Years Gone' in their back catalog that get so much less attention. 

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^I never liked "Whole Lotta Love" until I saw footage of it live and played it myself. I think it's more of a vehicle for performance than a particularly good song. It's kinda catchy and has an interesting arrangement, I guess, though by Zeppelin standards it's not that special. I think a lot of people just have a sentimental attachment to it.

Also I LOOOOOVE "In The Evening", fight me VB a-hard-days-night-ringo-15

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Haha no WAY am I taking on you and all the other millions who love "Evening!" I just find it a very mundane riff and beat.  Do love the eerie intro, though, and the sound of Stratocasters being tossed downstairs during the solo.

Best thing about WLL is the theremin and psychedelic-psounds collage. And the Bonzobeat is pretty cool, those off-center accents.

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15 April 2020
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I'm not as in-depth a Led Zep fan as some of y'all (I haven't listened to all of them enough to give a good ranking lol) but by far my favorite is Houses of the Holy, a Led Zep album that I've actually listened to a good number of times since my first ever run-through of Led Zep's discography (which happened only a few months ago in January, you can even find my post about my first ever listen to Led Zeppelin on this thread a few pages back....... so I'm still very much a baby Ledhead) and an album that I really love in general. It's just absolute rock gold *chef's kiss*

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My ranking:

9.Presence

8. In Through The Out Door

7. Coda

6.Led Zeppelin II

5. Led Zeppelin III

4. Houses Of The Holy

3. Led Zeppelin 

2. ZoSo

1. Physical Graffiti 

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QuarryMan said
My LZ hot take for today is that 'Whole Lotta Love' is absurdly overrated. It's got a cool riff, and the solo after the breakdown is pretty neat, but overall there's barely any substance to it, and the lyrics are terrible. I think that whole style of straight forward hard rock was done so much better earlier that year on 'Communication Breakdown' with its proto-punk riff and manic solo. WLL's not terrible, but I cannot fathom why it consistently makes the top reaches of people's rankings, especially when there are songs like 'Ten Years Gone' in their back catalog that get so much less attention. 

I personally like it in the context of the album. I like the fact that it opens Led Zeppelin II. Because the riff pumps me up, and the psychedelic breakdown in the middle is interesting. I know that song since I've known Led Zeppelin, so it's hard for me to dismiss it as much as you seem to do.

That being said, it is probably one of the lesser songs on that album if I were to rank them

9) Bring It On Home

8) Living Loving Maid (She's Just a Woman )

7) Whole Lotta Love

6) The Lemon Song

5) Heartbreaker

4) What Is and What Should Never Be

3) Moby Dick

2) Ramble On

1) Thank You

Oops! dropped emahdn_paul_02

and I actually didn't know people thought of it as one of their greatest songs but a couple of minutes ago I watched the WatchMojo top 10 LZ songs and I was blown away to watch it land on the 1st spot. In that case it is overrated, and widely. You make a lot of good points about the lyrics being trash and it being a pretty standard rock song, I've actually never thought of it and you seem to be right. I'll back you up on your statement. But I still enjoy the fact that it is on LZII.

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