Saturday, February 1, 2014

Music: "Achilles Last Stand" by Led Zeppelin

Last June, I had Led Zeppelin's "Ramble On" stuck in my head for a solid week. I couldn't turn around without my subconscious wailing about the darkest depths of Mordor.

This was no hardship. I love "Ramble On," which I've linked with those happy moments from my childhood when my father read THE HOBBIT to me, and I was quite happy to spend a week humming it inside my head. And as the earworm sang on, I began to reevaluate my relationship with Led Zeppelin.

I grew up in a world largely devoid of appealing music. My parents almost always had something on, but very little of it spoke to me. We had a few folk artists in common, but that was our only point of connection.

The music my peers listened to wasn't much better. It only took a few forays into pop radio before I realized I really wasn't a boy band person or a rap person. The rock the DJs spun, though... I could get behind that.

I switched to a contemporary rock station that played a few older songs here and there. When the programmers changed their focus to classic rock a couple of months after that, I happily followed them down the rabbit hole.

I spent my mid-teenage years listening to the likes of AC/DC1, Steppenwolf, The Doors, Bon Jovi, and Led Zeppelin. And when my beloved classic rock station became a rap station overnight (the hell?), I found another that played a blend of new stuff and old2.

Basically, the Mighty Zep and I go way back. But I never made an effort to listen to them. I never sought out any of their albums, or looked them up on YouTube, or anything like that. I made do with what the radio gave me--which, to be fair, was an awful lot.

My June earworm made me wonder why I was content to let Led Zeppelin come to me. Surely it was past time I went to Led Zeppelin.

So I did.

I bought MOTHERSHIP, which effectively serves as a greatest hits compilation, and I gave it a listen. And another. And another. Then I accepted that it now lived in my CD player (yes, I still use CDs) and was destined to be but the first of many Led Zeppelin purchases.

My media budget isn't as large as it might be, so I'm still putting my collection together as I find used and discounted CDs. I trust it'll be awesome once it's done, though.

I could easily spend the next year sharing beloved Led Zeppelin songs, but I'll limit myself to just this one (and, okay, maybe some others way down the line). I've chosen "Achilles Last Stand" because I love it deeply, and because I hadn't heard it before I bought MOTHERSHIP. At ten minutes and twenty-five seconds, it doesn't get a whole lot of radio play 'round these parts.

I once saw an infographic that maintained Led Zeppelin songs fall into two categories: songs about sex or songs about hobbits and vikings and shit. This is the latter. It's sweeping and epic and steeped in mythology. You probably don't want to just sit here and listen to it, but I strongly encourage you to press "play" and leave it open in another tab while you go about your business for the next ten and a half minutes. If your tastes are anything like mine, you won't regret it.

  1. I'll admit, AC/DC required a bit of an adjustment. You couldn't listen to classic rock radio in the late 90s unless you were willing to hear an awful lot of AC/DC, though, so I fought hard to like them, and I won that battle, and I now love them. My second music commandment is, "Thou shalt always dance to AC/DC." I take that seriously, much to my dog's distress.

    I should also note that Murchie dislikes early Led Zeppelin. He leaves the room when I've got 'em on, though he'll sometimes stick around for their later stuff.

  2. I say a blend, but my current radio station basically considers music "brand new rock" until it's, like, three years old. Older stuff gets a lot of airplay. I once drifted away from radio for three or four years, and when I came back they were still playing exactly the same songs as they were when I left.

    Progress? What's that?

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