Three Imaginary Girls

Seattle's Indie-Pop Press – Music Reviews, Film Reviews, and Big Fun

Happening upon this track is always a refreshing treat; on those days when your iPod seems to have some grudge against you and refuses to play a single song you're in the mood for you beg for a track like this to be on the other side of that next click. It's a strange occurrence when you're walking around with what amounts to a full record shop in your pocket, stocked with nothing but music YOU picked out yourself, and you're groaning and eye-rolling with each song that pops up; isn't this the music you're supposed to love? Alas, it happens more and more and I'm sure even those Rob Gordons with walls of physical albums can look at their tediously organized collections and lament that there's nothing to listen to much like the way a woman can stand in a closet full of clothes and claim she has nothing to wear.

But I digress…

"When the Levee Breaks" is one of those flagship Zep tracks that showcases each band member's phenomenal skill, from the sticky, patient thump of Bonham's kick drum and dry snare to the understated bassline of John Paul Jones weaving it's way through the music like it's trying not to spill its drink. Not to mention the way Page's chilling slide work blends with the scratchy harmonica to stretch out a rough footpath for Robert Plant's signature howls and croons. The track itself is almost too slow, in that teasingly seductive way that keeps you just at the threshold of rocking out but torturously holds you back. This was one of Zep's greatest tricks, writing a heavy, heavy song that sounds like a slow, groovy number. They could have easily upped the tempo a few BPM and made it a traditional blues number like their cover of Robert Johnson's "Traveling Riverside Blues" or "Black Dog" or any number of other tracks, but what sets "Levee" apart is the almost lethargic pace, the simmering patience. One of their best tracks to be sure and certainly one that gets left out of classic rock radio playlists all too often.