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The Principle of Moments Turns 29


Jahfin
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From the All Things Music Plus page on Facebook:

ON THIS DATE (29 YEARS AGO)

July 11, 1983 - Robert Plant The Principle of Moments is released.

# ALL THINGS MUSIC PLUS+ 4.5/5 (ATMP+ RECOMMENDED)

# Allmusic 4/5 stars

# Rolling Stone (see original review below)

The Principle of Moments is the second solo album Robert Plant, released on this date in July 1983. It was Plant's second top 10 album in the United States and United Kingdom. It also gave him his first solo Top 40 hit with "Big Log". The most popular track on album-oriented rock radio in the US was "Other Arms", which reached number one on the Billboard Top Tracks chart.

With his debut solo album, 1982's Pictures at Eleven, singer Robert Plant successfully began establishing himself as a solo recording artist apart from his former band, the incomparable Led Zeppelin. Plant wasted no time in issuing a follow-up, The Principle of Moments, which appeared one year after his debut.

Following in the musical footsteps of its predecessor, The Principle of Moments shows Plant and his backing band (which included a cameo from Genesis drummer Phil Collins) exploring modern rock sounds. The two best known songs remain the hit singles/videos "Big Log" and "In the Mood," both, especially the former, slow-paced yet highly melodic compositions. Other standouts include the keyboard-infused "Thru With the Two Step," as well as such challenging numbers as "Wreckless Love" and "Messin' With the Mekon."

ORIGINAL ROLLING STONE REVIEW

The problem with Robert Plant's solo career is that he has been unable to leave Led Zeppelin's thunderous sound completely behind him. Even without the late John Bonham's gorilla thwack spurring him on or Jimmy Page's demon blues licks chasing his tail, Plant sometimes cannot help resorting to his trademark Promethean theatrics, straining at melodies with salacious vocal jibes and full-moon howls. Fortunately, much of The Principle of Moments finds the singer trying to get around that dilemma by toying with weird hard-rock alternatives and singing in a restrained, though powerful, manner.

One of Plant's best outings on his second solo album is "Big Log," a ballad that features a vague Latin lilt and a discreet synthesizer gloss that complements the sexy elasticity of Robbie Blunt's guitar. Against his best heavy-metal instincts, Plant resists easy histrionics and opts for a far more effective quiet tension in his bluesy wails and bassy coos. Musically, there are several references to the Zeppelin canon here — the jerky "Black Dog"-like rhythm pattern of "Messin' with the Mekon," Blunt's Middle Eastern "Kashmir" — type motif in "Wreckless Love" — but overall, Plant is taking more outside chances.

The experimental half of The Principle of Moments is, in effect, Robert Plant's admission that on his own, he can never improve on Zeppelin's otherworldly he-man fantasies. It is also his declaration of independence from the past — not a denial of it, but just one way of showing there's more to life than "Whole Lotta Love."

~ David Fricke (September 1, 1983)

TRACKS:

Side One

1. "Other Arms" (Robert Plant, Robbie Blunt) – 4:20

2. "In the Mood" (Plant, Blunt, Paul Martinez) – 5:19

3. "Messin' with the Mekon" (Plant, Blunt, Martinez) – 4:40

4. "Wreckless Love" (Plant, Blunt) – 5:18

Side Two

1. "Thru' with the Two Step" (Plant, Blunt, Martinez) – 5:33

2. "Horizontal Departure" (Plant, Blunt, Martinez, Woodroffe) – 4:19

3. "Stranger Here... Than Over There" – 4:18

4. "Big Log" (Plant, Blunt, Woodroffe) – 5:03

2007 remaster bonus tracks

* "In the Mood" (live) – 7:35

* "Thru' with the Two Step" (live) – 11:11

* "Lively Up Yourself" (live) (Bob Marley) – 3:04

* "Turnaround" (Plant, Blunt, Martinez, Woodroffe) – 4:55

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IMHO Roberts best solo effort.

I really liked the album, however a mate at time came out with a classic quote "it's not rock it's well....weird".

But he was the type to yell for Stairway every five minutes during the live shows. :D

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"The problem with Robert Plant's solo career is that he has been unable to leave Led Zeppelin's thunderous sound completely behind him. Even without the late John Bonham's gorilla thwack spurring him on or Jimmy Page's demon blues licks chasing his tail, Plant sometimes cannot help resorting to his trademark Promethean theatrics, straining at melodies with salacious vocal jibes and full-moon howls"

I always question why these magazine's (at least some) appeared to have had a problem with Led Zeppelins "thunderous sound." to begin with and why they believed it was necessary for Robert to abandon it in order to be taken seriously. I mean why would this reviewer even consider Led Zeppelins sound to be a "dilemma".

And what did he mean by "thunderous sound" to start with? Zepp did a lot of accustic material and a whole range of other material that I certainly wouldnt consider "thunderous". Honestly I dont think these people knew what the hell they were talking about when it came to the music produced by Led Zeppelin. Then again this "review" was from Rolling "We hate Led Zeppelin" Stone magazine.

IMO The Principle of Moments is another great album by Robert and is helped by its sometimes "Thunderous sound"! I liked how Plant was branching out into different musical areas and Big Log is one of my favorite singles from Mr. Plant.

Edited by SuperStatic
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"The problem with Robert Plant's solo career is that he has been unable to leave Led Zeppelin's thunderous sound completely behind him."

IMO its not an insult, but clearly the reviewer thinks its a "problem" (what sort of problem only he knows?).

Its like asking Paul McCartney to leave the esoteric sound of The Beatles behind...er? I dont think anyone would say that. IMO there is no problem with Zeppelins sound and I think Robert was able to duplicate it more or less on TPOM quite well and the albums none the worse for it.

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The writer was using "thunderous" to describe Led Zeppelin's sound which I think is pretty accurate. Yes, they had an acoustic side but when most people think of Led Zeppelin it's not usually what comes to mind first. No matter what Plant does he's never going to escape comparisons to Led Zeppelin (for obvious reasons). That's just as true now as it was during the early days of his post-Zep solo career. It wasn't until Now & Zen that he even began to acknowledge his career in Led Zeppelin in a big way by including Zep samples in "Tall Cool One" and by including some their material in his live sets on the tour for that record. He could do an album of polka covers and some writer would still find a way of comparing it to his work with Led Zeppelin.

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Don't like it as much as PAE but never the less, there's some great stuff on it. Like so much of Zeppelin's material, a lot of this album sounded much better live

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At the time I didn't like it because was turned off by In The Mood, and was more into the metal scene, plus learning about the classic heavy bands such as Sabbath, etc. So when I finally embraced it, along with Pictures At Eleven, around the time Now and Zen came out - I always associate them like a double cd. Little By Little would've fit well on POM, IMO.

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 4 years later...

^^Wow, don't believe I have ever heard that. What a treat! Edited to add: Great track. After looking over my Nine Lives box set I see that I do have it.

Edited by luvlz2
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I still have a very vivid memory of buying this album on a sunny Saturday afternoon, the week of its release. Once out of the record store, I had to pull the LP out of the bag and have a good study of the cover. I like the album a lot and I was intrigued by the nod to Led Zeppelin IV, by the use of symbols that represent each member of the band. Where does time go? Some would call me an old man now. I was nearly 20 then. 

Edited by The Dark Lord
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  • 1 month later...

I find the RS reviewer's comments about Robert singing etc. on Principle unable to shake Zep strange. IMO Robert is trying

pretty hard to not directly ape anything purely Zep. Now if Robert live in 83' is examined( I saw the MSG show), yep,

at quite a few points in the show, Robert let loose with the trademarks that catapulted him to fame. But it would be silly to

criticize Robert for improvising on his solo material, he always did that in whatever situation. I will add that much of POM

was much more focused and forceful live, In fact, everything sounded great.

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