Led Zeppelin II (2014)
Once again, there’s nothing I can add about Zeppelin or this album that hasn’t already been said, and by better writers.
The Album Proper (1LP):
I mean, this is the Brown Bomber for crying out loud. You know it like a best friend, at this point. We all do. It’s so full-sounding… Seriously. You know this beast already. All I can say is that this 2LP release is a beautiful thing. It sounds so bloody good.
The Companion Audio (1LP):
Whole Lotta Love (Rough Mix With Vocal) actually ain’t a whole lotta different from the album version, except the breakdown part, which is very different indeed, and there’s no guitar wail when restarting… I missed it, totally should have been there. The lyrics are a little bit different afterwards too, and I get it for the sketch that it is, but I prefer the album track on this one.
What Is And What Should Never Be (Rough Mix With Vocal) is a little different in the harmonizing bits, but otherwise it’s essentially unchanged from the album track. Unless I missed something here? And if so, fair enough.
Thank You (Backing Track) made my brain strain to hear Plant’s vocals. I’ve heard this song so many times, my mind was filling in all the blanks. Until I realized: this is the Ultimate Karaoke Track! You know all the words, so step up to the mic and give ‘er!
Heartbreaker (Rough Mix With Vocal) is not all that different from the album track, except in the guitar solo, which is way crazier than the album version. In fact, I might prefer this one, it’s awesome!
Living Loving Maid (Backing Track) is another perfect karaoke ripper. Even taking away Plant’s indelible vocals and letting the band do the talking proves just how hugely awesome this song really is. Interestingly (and most pleasingly), somehow isolating the vocal line out of this track has made the bass more prominent, and I love it.
Ramble On (Rough Mix With Vocal) is missing electric guitar parts in a couple of key (album version) places, even though my brain was waiting for them. Also missing were some vocal overdubs… Actually, I prefer this track played this way.
Moby Dick (Backing Track) is a brilliant bookend effort. It’s basically just the beginning and ending parts of the song without any drum solos at all. You can even hear him counting 1-2-3-4 at one point… [UPDATE: I was saying to Scott in the comments that this track is the equivalent of seeing them live and they start up this song, so you go get a beer or take a leak, and come back in time to hear the ending! So true. Hilarious!]
La La (Intro/Outro Rough Mix) is an unreleased instrumental track. Boaby must’ve been off having a nap, for this part. Happy chording becomes an acoustic bit before the full band comes back, then repeat. It’s actually a fascinating jam track, with lots of ideas crammed into its short minutes.
It’s the fucking Brown Bomber. What am I supposed to say, at this point? As for the companion audio, it was a true pleasure to get to hear the different versions. I do still wish that this had had a live albu with it (like LZ I) instead of studio tracks. Ah well.