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ITTOD - Why is this the most disliked album of Led Zeppelin?


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It's all personal preference, so there's no point in arguing. There is no such thing as an objective "best" or "worst" in artistic creations, especially not in music which is limited by the fact there is a limited number of musical notes in our systems of scales. "ITTOD" has grown on me over time. I didn't like it when it was released, because it didn't sound like the Zeppelin music I loved. Now I listed to it and think, "sure it doesn't sound like I, IV or III (my favorite albums) or any of the other albums...but compared to the mediocrity of much of the music that was being released in 1979, as well as the mediocrity of much of what was released in the 80s and 90s with a few exceptions such as Guns n' Roses, ITTOD sounds great. Back in '79, I didn't know for sure (although I suspected) that rock music was in a decline from which it would never recover. By the standards of the '69-78 era of rock music, ITTOD was ho hum, but compared to so much that came later, it sounds like a classic.

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All the comments here are spot on. ITOD was a sign of things to come. The band was clearly experimenting much more although they ended up with a "softer" album. Robert's singing style had changed and Jimmy wasn't as dominant. Presence I had a problem with in terms of the mix. Incredibly flat. The fact that Page did it in some supercharged span of time doesn't make it the best Zep album although he recalls it as his favorite. So subjective.

ITOD by contrast, had no real ownership. Times were changing and the group, to their credit, was evolving. But anything was better than Coda. Jimmy Page would never do another Coda - he would know better now.

Listening to it today, ITOD is still a fond experience. Most people I know like LZ II over most albums and I can imagine the fans of II would never like ITOD that much. That's the kind of band Zep was. Incredibly talented and diverse. By today's standards, people would be ecstatic to get a Page or Plant album like ITOD.

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Not sure I'm following you here.

I could be wrong, but I think he is suggesting that Coda arose from a contractual obligation, and resulted in what some perceive to be a sub-par effort. There is nothing lurking over Page's head that would force him into this position again. Personally, I get that Coda was not as good as most would want, but I would still gladly take another Coda of unreleased material, no matter how good or bad it is.

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I could be wrong, but I think he is suggesting that Coda arose from a contractual obligation, and resulted in what some perceive to be a sub-par effort. There is nothing lurking over Page's head that would force him into this position again. Personally, I get that Coda was not as good as most would want, but I would still gladly take another Coda of unreleased material, no matter how good or bad it is.

That's pretty much what I was thinking.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Not sure if I've responded to this thread...In Through the Out Door was, for most of my life, my least favourite Led Zeppelin album. I think it had to do with the perceived influence of disco and 80s-style production/instrumentation, and the sidelining of Jimmy...over the course of the past year, boy has my opinion changed. I might even rank it in my top three or so albums at this point.

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Not sure if I've responded to this thread...In Through the Out Door was, for most of my life, my least favourite Led Zeppelin album. I think it had to do with the perceived influence of disco and 80s-style production/instrumentation, and the sidelining of Jimmy...over the course of the past year, boy has my opinion changed. I might even rank it in my top three or so albums at this point.

Yup. I bought it when it was brand new and freshly released. It is one of my absolute favorites, as described in my posts above. Glad to read that you are big picture about this album.

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Yup. I bought it when it was brand new and freshly released. It is one of my absolute favorites, as described in my posts above. Glad to read that you are big picture about this album.

Almost entirely due to the work of Davis and his remastering. Really opened my eyes.

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Sorry, I'm old school. Where did you hear this, and when was it released? A download, I assume.

The "Mastered for iTunes" release. Re-purchased most of the album on Qobuz, because I don't want to wait until next year for the CDs/LPs.

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Really now, ICBW but Carouselambra is perhaps their most cerebral song. In order to enjoy it you need to explore it, its a deep, many layered beast with convoluted lyrics that for the most part are fairly buried in the mix ( at least in the earlier releases ) so you have to listen hard and think about what it is you are hearing and if you cannot fathom its depths then its possible that you need to increase your attention span. Each musician has a part to play in this song and there are a lot of details to discern.

And for those of you who feel Jimmy didn't really try on this record, I say to you that jimmy played exactly what needed to be played on each and every Zeppelin song. Sometimes underplaying can be a good thing too. like the sparse over dubs in All My Love are exactly what the song needed. Its Plants song all the way and playing those little flecks on the strings give it far more character than if he played some misty eyed bends like he does in That's The Way. He doesn't want to take anything away from Plants lyric and even at that he does play some nice bends here and there during the song but they play a much simpler role unlike the ones in That's The Way in which Jimmy carries or maybe imparts ( For me at least ) A lot of the emotional weight of that song.

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I would agree with strider. I like all of their albums and listen to 3 and 5 the least if I had to choose.

ITTOD is one of my favorites and represents a refreshed stage in their reign - I believe better quality recording, new studio and electronics, synthesizer? Listen to carouselambra with more bass on JP's guitar - it is simply awesome

Though, Hot dog is my least liked song over all of LZ's stuff - lol

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As you've seen from my comments, I totally agree with you juxtiphi and riffsofpage. ITTOD is an incredible album, and perhaps the most cerebral album in terms of a case study of how the songs were constructed, and the manner in which they were accented by way of need, as opposed to tradition. I am the proud owner of an early 1980's ITTOD LP that is still in the shrink, and has never been opened, and I also have the original 6 LP covers / albums. It's great to reflect on these treasures when listening to this great album. Everything about this album was an accomplishment, including its visual presentation, and complexity.

Edited by The Dark Lord
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lol you guys can like it if you want, ive listened to it plenty of times over the years, the keyboards sound so cheesy and dated. like a bad ELP outtake or something.

I suggest you listen to the remastered version of the track. I felt much the same way until I did so.

I think that In Through the Out Door is the "most disliked album" in the discography because (aside from Coda) it was their last -- it was a perceived move away from guitar-oriented rock to synthesizer heavy, pseudo-progressive rock, and Zeppelin fans never really got "closure" in its aftermath. It's also a very "mature" album, in that it plays with themes of loss and aging that the other albums really didn't try to...it is also a "problem period" album, in that the band was going through a tumultuous time when they recorded it.

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I suggest you listen to the remastered version of the track. I felt much the same way until I did so.

I think that In Through the Out Door is the "most disliked album" in the discography because (aside from Coda) it was their last -- it was a perceived move away from guitar-oriented rock to synthesizer heavy, pseudo-progressive rock, and Zeppelin fans never really got "closure" in its aftermath. It's also a very "mature" album, in that it plays with themes of loss and aging that the other albums really didn't try to...it is also a "problem period" album, in that the band was going through a tumultuous time when they recorded it.

Yes, agreed, and that's part of what made it so special. Art started to mirror life, in a very tumultuous time, and for the first time, we fans, were allowed a front row seat to the machinations of the human Zep. Edited by The Dark Lord
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I would gauge it as follows : were it not by Led Zeppelin would as many people feel the need to try and justify it as being better than it really is? Often with bands with a track record we, myself included, feel the need to justify their entire output, perhaps through some strange loyalty resulting from a deep seated enjoyment and respect for earlier performances. I think we've all been there, we really rate earlier work and so look much harder, perhaps through perseverance or some measure of blind loyalty, to find positive aspects in substandard work.

We can look at the themes covered in the album, and perhaps seek to justify advancements in the band through use of synthesisers and so on. Looking beyond this, and in my opinion, the majority of the album screams out "filler". The well was dry by this point in proceedings.

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I would gauge it as follows : were it not by Led Zeppelin would as many people feel the need to try and justify it as being better than it really is? Often with bands with a track record we, myself included, feel the need to justify their entire output, perhaps through some strange loyalty resulting from a deep seated enjoyment and respect for earlier performances. I think we've all been there, we really rate earlier work and so look much harder, perhaps through perseverance or some measure of blind loyalty, to find positive aspects in substandard work.

We can look at the themes covered in the album, and perhaps seek to justify advancements in the band through use of synthesisers and so on. Looking beyond this, and in my opinion, the majority of the album screams out "filler". The well was dry by this point in proceedings.

I disagree. I think that those who love the album are perplexed by those who do not, and are trying to share their observations to help others have that "ah ha" moment. ITTOD is one of my fave Zep albums, and ranked above albums such as LZ II. The quality and content is lost on many people who have trouble seeing beyond formula Zeppelin, but a world full of Black Dog's does not a creative catalogue make. Edited by The Dark Lord
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I would gauge it as follows : were it not by Led Zeppelin would as many people feel the need to try and justify it as being better than it really is? Often with bands with a track record we, myself included, feel the need to justify their entire output, perhaps through some strange loyalty resulting from a deep seated enjoyment and respect for earlier performances. I think we've all been there, we really rate earlier work and so look much harder, perhaps through perseverance or some measure of blind loyalty, to find positive aspects in substandard work.

We can look at the themes covered in the album, and perhaps seek to justify advancements in the band through use of synthesisers and so on. Looking beyond this, and in my opinion, the majority of the album screams out "filler". The well was dry by this point in proceedings.

You make a valid point, if this were not Zep, would we defend it's every nuance? Probably not.

But the treasures on ITTOD are right there in the open. In the Evening, a true heavy Zep classic. Fool in the Rain is great, I'm Gonna Crawl seems to be Zep writing a blues classic, really tipping their hat to the earlier blues heroes. I agree, some of the LP can be hard to approach, Hot Dog is hard to tell if it's a joke or just a great little ditty that was there in the studio, and they all thought "what the heck, let's use it". Took me a long time to cozy up to Carouselambra.

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