By: Anna Edwards
Robert Plant, one of the few survivors from the era which pioneered rock music, once again diverges from his Led Zeppelin origins. In his new solo album, he turns instead to the stellar sound that he and Allison Krauss first created in their Grammy-award winning album Raising Sand. Lullaby and… The Ceaseless Roar is a strange attempt from Plant to try and prove to his audience that he can be a one man band. Sorry Mr. Plant, but you forgot that you aren’t the twenty-something shirtless, tight ripped jeans wearing seductive beauty who once crooned in “Whole Lotta Love” or “Black Dog.” That being said, Plant’s voice – whether from years of screeching on stage or from excessive amounts of drugs – cannot force those high notes that he once so easily hit. This solo album creates a mysterious hate-love relationship when considering all of the elements in the work.
In lullaby and… The Ceaseless Roar, Plant attempts to harmonize with the instruments, forcing more of a fight, rather than a conversation between the band and his voice. This stems from the 1960s and ‘70s music when it was the lead singer who made the band. Do you know any of the band members in Queen besides Freddie Mercury? Or how about Janis Joplin and Big Brother Holding Company? In a Rolling Stone article, Jimmy Page, guitarist in Led Zeppelin, says of Plant, “I was told last year that Robert Plant said he is doing nothing in 2014, and what do the other two guys think? Well, he knows what the other guys think. Everyone would love to play more concerts for the band. He’s just playing games, and I’m fed up with it, to be honest with you. I don’t sing, so I can’t do much about it. It just looks so unlikely, doesn’t it?” (Reed, “Robert Plant ‘Disappointed’ in Jimmy Page and Led Zeppelin Reunion Rumors”). Page realizes the power of the lead singer in the social hierarchy within the bands of their generation. Today, however, Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeroes can drop their lead singer, Jade, yet continue to sell out shows. Robert Plant has always been the lead when it comes to his bands, even when joining with Allison Krauss. Plant’s album shows just how incapable he is of sharing the limelight with his bandmates.
On a positive note, Robert Plant and his co-writers have created the perfect love album. That being said, each song seems to want to claim a different genre. It seems obvious that lullaby and… The Ceaseless Roar is Robert Plant’s attempt to find a genre to call his own again. The meaning of each track reveals some type of desire for love – whether that be with a woman, a home, or traveling – Plant continuously hints that he is in search of some solace. For example, “Turn It Up” is the most distinguished of all the tracks because of the way the haunting beat is fused with Plant’s infamous ooh’s and aah’s. He sings, “I’m lost inside America, I’m turning inside out, I’m turning into someone else, I heard so much about,” which could possibly explain why each song cannot be placed into a genre; Plant is in the process of a transformation from one person (or genre) to another.
lullaby and… The Ceaseless Roar is a complicated and yet chaotically beautiful array of songs. It’s one of those albums where you can buy two or three tracks instead of spending an absurd amount (for a college student) on the entire album. Overall, the album is what you make of it. Personally, I bought the whole of it, because after seeing Robert Plant live, I haven’t been able to get the image of him as that hot, sweaty, twenty-something whose untamed golden locks perfectly compliment that chest hair (I mean), out of my head – and who would want to disappoint someone like that? I’ve still got a whole lotta love for you, Robert Plant.
Anna Edwards is a sophomore English major & avid dog lover. She might be the only girl with a playlist titled, “girls RULE boys DROOL,” and admits that it’s on constant repeat. She was once handed the microphone at an Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zero’s concert; but in a sick twist of fate, instead of hearing Alex Ebert ask her to “sing us a lyric,” she heard, “tell us a first.” Needless to say, she was cheated from her five minutes of fame. In all seriousness, she’s just tryin’ to play that funky music white [girl], play that funky music right.