Likelihood of Success

Ron Coleman’s pretty good blog

To be a rock, and not to roll

Posted by Ron Coleman on December 4, 2007

Andrew Goodwin in Slate:

[Stairway to Heaven] song is not just atypical of Zeppelin’s music, it is unique among their epic tracks in that it privileges melodic/lyrical development at the expense of rhythmic exploration and timbral/psychoacoustic experimentation.

Yeah, well, sure.  Actually he makes some great points about what I’ve always considered the album-rock anthem of the ’70’s and how it both did and undid Led Zeppelin, as well as this surprise truism:  “As Erik Davis points out in his unsurpassed book on the fourth album, ‘Stairway’ is so familiar to us that it’s a real challenge to listen to it.”

True.  My “favorite song” as a teenager, I can’t stand it any more.

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9 Responses to “To be a rock, and not to roll”

  1. Jack. said

    Kashmir blows Stairway all to h@!!.

  2. Jack. said

    Hey, look fellas.

    We can email Satan now.
    Ain’t the internet marvelous?

  3. Ara Rubyan said

    I can’t stand it any more.

    I’m pretty much there with Hey Jude.

  4. Jack. said

    I think the real secret to really liking a lot of modern, popular music is to not listen to it so often. Modern music seems a whole lot better when you’re not listening to it than when you are.

    But to be a little bit more serious, “when a thing is ingeniously novel it is often sweet by virtue of it’s rarity, but when a thing is common it must also be brilliantly durable or it is rarely gratifying in it’s virtue.”

  5. Radiohead – OK Computer Album

    Timeless.

  6. Jack, what I find disappointing is the micro of that repetitiveness macro. In other words, the songs themselves are too damned repetitive. I guess when you’re at the head-bangin’ age, that’s well and good, but as an increasingly seasoned citizen who gets the point the first time it’s made, you know?…

  7. Bob Miller said

    Now, as then, I wouldn’t willingly listen to Led Zep if you paid me. Any resemblance of Plant to a vocalist was incidental. Their guitar work was a total perversion of the blues.

  8. Bob Miller said

    Katmandu by Bob Seger might be the antidote.

  9. Jack. said

    “Jack, what I find disappointing is the micro of that repetitiveness macro. In other words, the songs themselves are too damned repetitive. I guess when you’re at the head-bangin’ age, that’s well and good, but as an increasingly seasoned citizen who gets the point the first time it’s made, you know?…”

    A Different Sort of Dream

    When I was young I used to rock
    On every day I’d roll,
    Then older far by time and age
    The Stones went down the hole,

    And falling past my juvenile
    I heard a different sound,
    The motion of my passing past
    Ran ancient things aground,

    For music was all melody
    And noise to shake the sky,
    But when the earth pulled back on me
    Such dissonance awry,

    For now I march a manly pace
    And childhood’s race is gone,
    Music claims some harmony
    And needs not make all song,

    A violin that weeps of death
    At pitch no voice may match,
    Will often catch my soul at rest
    And from myself detach,

    An Orchestra to contemplate
    An Opera House to home,
    A Symphony to wander long
    When I am deep alone,

    And ballad’d cycle, poems of tone
    Through resonance affair,
    A Chamber Piece that puzzles me
    Spells secrets in the air,

    The old ways from my younger days
    Are vapid hollow now,
    The music of my spent boyhood
    Seems barren, lost, and cowed,

    Composed in senesced maturity
    I cannot homewards tread,
    And lost in youth’s obscurity
    I cannot make a’bed,

    I can occasion to the time
    When time meant naught to me,
    But I cannot live there anymore
    I am a ship at sea,

    There is no Rock by which I’m bound
    No roll to push me out,
    I do not fancy anymore
    That I am filled with doubt,

    Instead I hear a’music far
    Which whispers on the waves,
    Which sings like orbit of the stars
    And now my heart enslaves,

    So young men to your drums and shouts
    It’s fine to make your screams,
    But now that time has gentled me
    I’ve different sort of dreams…

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