My Top 1000 Songs #477: Carouselambra
The Led Zeppelin song for those of us who aren't that into Led Zeppelin. Falling somewhere between new wave and prog, this epic 10-minute track (they even called it "The Epic" in its original form) from 1979's final album In Through The Out Door is more a showcase for bassist John Paul Jones, whose catchy synthesizer riff and unusually frenetic bass gymnastics dominate over the rest of the band.
Look, it's a deeply flawed song--way too long and repetitive; that slow middle part is a grinding dirge (salvaged by its pairing with a surprisingly jangly guitar refrain); Plant's vocals are buried in the mix (kind of a mixed blessing, as someone who isn't a huge Plant fan, and given the stoner poetry revealed by a reading of the lyric sheet). But something about it has always excited me in a way few Zeppelin tracks can. 13-year-old me, a weird little Pink Floyd/Clash kid bullied by the lunkead Zep kids with the Zoso logo scribbled on their jean jackets, fell in love with that synth hook, and keeping Plant leashed actually creates an air of mystery as to what they might be going on about.